As the adjustment period continues between first-year coach Maria Shipe and her Whitehall-Yearling girls soccer team, the Rams hope to start seeing positive results on the field.
The Rams were 0-5-1 overall before playing Franklin Heights on Sept. 16 and 0-4 in the MSL-Ohio Division before facing Bexley on Sept. 18.
"I'm having fun," Shipe said. "It's tough because I'm building a program here and I'm trying to keep the girls positive and focused because some results haven't been reflecting how they've been improving and playing."
Whitehall earned its first point under Shipe by tying Heath at 1 on Sept. 9. Sophomore Brooklynn Greer scored off an assist from senior Yabesera Tadesse.
"She's definitely starting to bond with all of us and we're starting to bond with her, and that's always good," Greer said of Shipe. "We're getting better and that has to do with the coaching. The girls are practicing and working hard, and that's also a big part of it."
Greer scored the team's other goal entering this week, in a 2-1 loss to Westland on Aug. 31.
Shipe said her team couldn't convert on penalty kicks against Heath or Westland.
With just two goals on the season -- and both scored by Greer -- the Rams hope to eventually receive a more balanced effort on offense.
Sophomores Abril Garcia and Dalia Matute have shared time in goal and both are improving, according to Shipe.
"At the beginning of the year, I really didn't have any goalkeepers, but Abril and Dalia have really stepped up and they've both been great," Shipe said.
Strong leadership by the seniors is helping the younger players acclimate to varsity, with senior midfielder Selamawit Alebachew embracing that role, according to Shipe.
"Soccer is my passion," said Alebachew, who moved to the area from Ethiopia at age 13. "Our soccer team is getting better. Full credit goes to coach. She is very experienced. ... She's very passionate and competitive. We have learned so much and we will improve. The girls look up to me and I want to be a leader."
In her fourth year on the team, Alebachew has played under three coaches. She hopes Shipe brings stability to the program.
"I've seen three coaches over the past four years I've been playing soccer, but we've learned more from coach Maria about soccer this year than the past," Alebachew said. "Each year you have to start a new bond with a new coach and I was telling her are you going to leave us and she said, 'I won't.' She said she wants to be here, so that's very encouraging."
Deanna Mascia guided the team in 2016 and 2017, and Alex Setser coached the Rams a year ago.
"I'm trying to focus on habit training, getting them into good habits because unlike Grandview and Bexley where they have had programs for 20-plus years, those girls are more experienced," Shipe said. "I'm trying to teach the girls that they have to get into good habits."
Boys soccer team earns road win
The boys soccer team was 2-2-2 overall before playing Logan on Sept. 17.
The Rams won at Fairfield Union 4-1 on Sept. 14 as Yared Yesuf scored three goals and Cesar Artica converted a penalty kick. Jared Alvarez had two assists, and goalie Edwin Gutierrez had two saves.
Whitehall is 0-1 in the MSL-Ohio.
Runners compete at Licking Heights
The boys and girls cross country teams continue to tune up for the postseason.
The Rams competed in the Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 18 at Whetstone after running in the Licking Heights Invitational on Sept. 3.
The boys finished sixth (138 points) of 10 teams behind champion Licking Heights (60) as Daba Hordofe placed sixth in 18 minutes, 31.4 seconds. Keteme Feye was 24th (19:33), followed by Eyobong Ita (34th, 19:56.1), Yesuf (40th, 20:22.2), Anthony Hampton (52nd, 21:27.6), Carter Paddock (65th, 22:04.7), Mike Hernandez (73rd, 22:54.1) and Sam McQuate (78th, 23:24.2).
The girls did not have enough runners for a team score. Tatiana Figueroa was 58th (29:31.1), Rebekah Revadelo was 74th (38.04.6) and Amy Hernandez was 78th (44:22.9).
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 21 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 25 -- Rick Mettle Invitational at Walnut Ridge
Sept. 19 -- At Groveport
*Sept. 21 -- At Grandview
*Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy
*Sept. 25 -- At Wellington
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
*Sept. 24 -- At Buckeye Valley
Sept. 25 -- At Canal Winchester
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Bexley. The Rams lost to the Lions 25-6, 25-13, 25-9 on Aug. 27.
Sept. 23 -- At Westland