As Grove City girls soccer coach Josh Keller talked to his team after a 3-1 loss at Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 12, he focused on the seniors and their responsibilities in making sure the Greyhounds quickly bounced back from the loss.
Grove City was 7-2 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Reynoldsburg on Sept. 17.
With league games remaining against Gahanna on Tuesday, Sept. 24, Pickerington Central on Oct. 3 and Pickerington North on Oct. 10, the Greyhounds still have a major goal in the front of them. Grove City is seeking a league title after finishing fourth (1-3-1) last season behind co-champions Gahanna and North (both 4-0-1).
Grove City also plays host to Dublin Jerome on Thursday, Sept. 19. The Celtics were tied with Brunswick for seventh in last week's Division I state poll.
"(The loss) was a little disappointing, but we're going into the heart of the schedule," Keller said. "Our last seven (regular-season) games are against really tough opponents, especially the last two (against Central and North). We're trying to get better. I trust these seniors. They're upset, they're angry and they're going to lead the team."
The Greyhounds also are aiming for their first berth in a Division I district final since 2014, when they lost to Olentangy Liberty 1-0 in that round.
Keller and his players believe they have the potential to reach their goals.
"We have to keep our heads up and keep trying our hardest," senior midfielder Camryn Rush said. "We have a bunch of big games coming up, but we can definitely do better than what we did (against Kilbourne) and what we showed out here."
The Greyhounds were outscored 3-0 after Alexia Jones scored off an assist from Anjuli Anderson less than two minutes into the game.
"We just didn't have a great effort (Sept. 12)," Keller said. "We've been doing well and (the Kilbourne game) was just one of those nights. You usually get a couple of them during the season. Hats off to Kilbourne, they wanted the game. They wanted the game a lot more than we did. ... We have to play better. We have to take some pride and we know we can play better."
It was the first time this season that Grove City allowed more than two goals in a game.
Madison Evans and Ashleigh Mastilak have split time in goal, with Mastilak recording one save in the first half and Evans stopping two shots in the second against Kilbourne.
"I know we could have done better, but we gave it our all," said Jones, a senior forward. "We have so much more to bring and our practices and future games are going to show that."
The Greyhounds opened league play with a 5-0 win at Lancaster on Sept. 10. Kendal Jameson scored two goals and Anderson, Maria Rossi and Alissa Schiff each had one.
Girls volleyball team enjoying success
The girls volleyball team was 9-3 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Ohio before playing North on Sept. 17.
The Greyhounds bounced back from a 25-18, 25-23, 20-25, 21-25, 16-14 loss to Gahanna on Sept. 10 to defeat Central 25-18, 18-25, 25-21, 25-21 on Sept. 12. They then went 1-2 in the Worthington Kilbourne Tournament on Sept. 14.
Through nine matches, Molly Michalak led Grove City in kills with 150, followed by Lexi Bapst (75) and Lauren Lucas (60).
Bapst led in digs (69) and aces (27), Rylee Jones led in assists (169) and Emily Parrett led in blocks (20).
Boys golfers place second in league
The boys golf team completed OCC-Ohio play by finishing first (299) in the fourth round of the league tournament Sept. 11 at Turnberry, ahead of Central (315), as Jeremiah Bane secured league Player of the Year honors with a 76.25 average.
Grove City finished second (14-6) in the final standings, behind Central (16-4) and ahead of Gahanna (13-7), North (13-7), Lancaster (4-16) and Reynoldsburg (0-20).
Bane led the Greyhounds in the final round with a 70, followed by Ian Johnston (73), Connor Estep (77), Trent Ruffing (79) and Nash Linder (81).
Johnston joined Bane as first-team all-league with a 77 average, and Linder (82.75) and Ruffing (83) were honorable mention.
"I'm really proud of how we played (Sept. 11)," coach Eric Joreski said. "Entering the final round in fourth place, we could have gone through the motions, but they had one goal -- to finish first in the final round. It is really a testament to how hard they have worked and the time they have each put into their games."
Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 21 -- Celtic Clash at Dublin Jerome
Sept. 21 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 23 -- OCC Shootout at Little Turtle
Sept. 21 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Sept. 24 -- Westerville North at Pinnacle
Sept. 25 -- Lancaster at Valley View
Sept. 19 -- At Franklin Heights
*Sept. 24 -- At Gahanna
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Jerome
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Sept. 19 -- Hartley at Wolfe Park
Sept. 24 -- Home vs. DeSales
Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Washington Court House Miami Trace
*Sept. 19 -- At Lancaster. The Greyhounds defeated the Golden Gales 28-26, 25-19, 25-20 on Sept. 3.
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg. The Greyhounds defeated the Raiders 25-17, 25-18, 25-14 on Sept. 5.