Central Crossing girls soccer coach Amy Williams had to switch things around after injuries compounded the difficulties of having a young and inexperienced team.
Williams began her ninth season by changing the Comets to a 4-5-1 scheme, but a season-ending right knee injury suffered by junior midfielder Emma Malkowski changed all of that.
Malkowski was injured late in the preseason, forcing the Comets to revert to the 4-4-2 formation they used in previous seasons.
"We tried a 4-5-1 but with Emma's ACL tear, it took away that hub we had there in the midfield so we have decided to switch back to a 4-4-2," said Williams, whose team was 1-4 before opening OCC-Central Division play Sept. 10 against Upper Arlington. "We're trying to figure out where we need to play and where the girls fit best with the team that we have."
The Comets opened with a 4-0 loss to Columbus School for Girls on Aug. 19. Then on Aug. 22, senior defender Cali Rosado scored two goals, sophomore forward Georgia Lakso scored one and freshman goalkeeper Rachel Jaynes had seven saves in a 3-0 win over Centennial.
"Our group of seniors is doing well with Cali Rosado and (midfielder/defender) Faith Steinbrecher, both of whom were not starters last year but are starting and playing really well," Williams said. "Our goalie, Rachel Jaynes, is coming on strong and working hard as a freshman. She had 24 saves (in a 7-0 loss) against Grove City (on Aug. 27)."
Central Crossing lost to Licking Heights 4-1 on Aug. 24 and Reynoldsburg 11-0 on Sept. 10.
"Everything is new, but the fact that we are young brings in a lot of new talent with new skills," junior defender/midfielder Mariana Lopez-Herrera said. "We have been adjusting to everything.
"I think it's always good to go back to basics (in returning to the 4-4-2 scheme) to make sure you can still do it. Some of us that have been playing for a long time needed it, and it's good to go back to that."
The Comets entered the season having lost five four-year starters to graduation, and four of them are playing at the collegiate level. Hallie Fryman is playing at Ohio Dominican, and Kennedy Edwards, Brittany Hanson and Maddie Ross are playing at Ohio Christian.
Lopez-Herrera said she learned several leadership skills from last year's seniors.
"I really try to make sure the girls know why they're here," she said. "We do a lot of running and it's hard mentally. I try to push them through it and let them know that I'm there beside them through it all."
As Central Crossing enters league play, Williams knows her team will have some uphill battles but will gain valuable knowledge for future seasons.
"We're making a lot of improvements, and the girls are working very hard and have been a coachable group," she said. "They are motivated to work on their games. Our returning players are playing great. We're bringing in a whole new crew trying to learn the basics of what we need to do."
Girls volleyball team reaches 2018 win total
The girls volleyball team defeated Marysville 21-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-16, 15-9 on Sept. 5 to improve to 3-6 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Central, and match last season's win total.
The Comets finished 3-20 a year ago.
Through nine matches, Morgan Geddes had team highs in kills (114) and aces (16) along with 54 digs and seven blocks. Erin Brothers led with 14 blocks and had 39 kills and 14 aces.
Olivia Castle had a team-high 212 assists with 42 digs. Delaney Pfeiffer led the team with 78 digs, and Olivia Everett had 50 digs and 32 kills.
Boys soccer team looking for first win
The boys soccer team had lost its first six contests heading into its OCC-Central opener against UA on Sept. 10.
The Comets had scored just eight goals, with a season-high three in an 8-3 loss Aug. 20 to Centennial. Nicholas Cruz, Oscar Herrera and Tyler Terrell all scored.
Central Crossing lost to Northland 6-1 on Aug. 22 and Grove City 8-2 on Aug. 27 as Terrell scored both goals.
The Comets fell to Whetstone 10-1 on Aug. 28 and Reynoldsburg 5-0 on Sept. 3, and Terrell scored in a 5-1 loss to Westerville North on Sept. 5.
Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 14 -- Newark Invitational
Sept. 17 -- Westland at Mentel Memorial
Sept. 18 -- Groveport at Links at Groveport
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Briggs
Sept. 14 -- At Grove City Christian
*Sept. 17 -- At Marysville
Sept. 12 -- At Groveport
Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Teays Valley
*Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Marysville
*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Fairbanks
*Sept. 17 -- At Westland