Notebook: Canal Winchester to lose key boys soccer players but return most of team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Will Root (left) is one of six seniors for the Canal Winchester boys soccer team, which finished 6-7-5 overall and 1-4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

The Canal Winchester boys soccer team will graduate its leading scorer, but nine juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen are eligible to return.

Forward Jack Jenkins, one of the team's six seniors and an Ohio Dominican recruit, scored a team-high 11 goals for the Indians, who were seeded 25th in the Division I district tournament and lost 3-0 at fourth-seeded Pickerington North in a second-round game Oct. 22 to finish 6-7-5 overall.

“We had six games that we were trailing this season where we fought back for a win or were able to at least finish with a tie,” said coach Cody Thomas, whose squad was 1-4-2 in the OCC-Capital Division. “We had many games where our defense kept us in the game the whole time, but we lacked the consistent team goal scoring to get us over the hump.”

Senior Will Root led a defense that never gave up more than three goals in a game and held 12 teams to no more than one goal.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Coleman added five goals.

Other players eligible to return include juniors Caden Bjorkland (forward), Jacob Cressy (defender), Caden Groff (goalie), Mark Hatley (defender), Chase Newsome (goalie) and Jacob Stedman (forward).

• A season-long lament for Groveport Madison boys soccer coach Tyler Gleason came to pass Oct. 22 in a 2-0 loss at top-seeded Dublin Jerome in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

“We had a habit of playing up or down to our competition. We’ve played teams that I’d consider lesser opponents that we’ve lost to because we controlled those games but weren’t opportunistic enough,” Gleason said. “Then we’ve played better teams where we lost 3-2 or 1-0, teams that were top 15 in central Ohio. We can play with teams but to win, you have to put the ball in the net.”

The 32nd-seeded Cruisers finished 4-12-1 overall and 1-3-1 in the OCC-Buckeye, fifth behind champion Pickerington Central (5-0). Groveport began the postseason Oct. 20 with a 5-2 home win over 37th-seeded Central Crossing.

The Cruisers graduate a handful of their top players, including Jeffrey Asamoah (forward), Mitchell Ashburn (defender), Foday Camara (defender), Chandler Jones (defender), L.J. Minah (midfielder) and Edward Olusemo (forward), but, among others, expect to return junior midfielder/defender Ali Alanfagi and their primary goalie in freshman Mike Musungu.

• Most of the Groveport girls cross country team’s top runners are eligible to return, including its usual top runner in sophomore Grace White, but the boys team will have to reload as it loses four of its five competitors from the Division I, district 1 meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby.

White was 75th (24 minutes, 32 seconds) at district to lead the girls to 417 points and last place out of 13 teams behind champion Hilliard Davidson (19). Also scoring were sophomore Agi Jobe (84th, 26:18.5), seniors Crystal Russell (90th, 30:33.6) and Annie Byerly (91st, 31:04.6) and sophomore Nijah Montgomery (92nd, 31:59.7).

Freshmen Alora Fisher (93rd, 33:19.9) and Kyra McCormick (94th, 37:49.1) competed but did not scored.

Senior David Neal was 61st (19:04.4) to lead the boys to 11th place (352) behind champion Davidson (27) as 14 teams scored. He was followed by seniors Eli Jackson (63rd, 19:16.7) and Kahari Davis (72nd, 20:30.7), junior Nick Shelton (76th, 21:17.7) and senior Ezra Ayele (87th, 25:00.9). 

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

CANAL WINCHESTER BOYS SOCCER

•Record: 6-7-5 overall

•OCC-Capital standings: Dublin Scioto (5-0-2), Worthington Kilbourne (5-2), Westerville South (4-2-1), Big Walnut and Westerville North (both 3-2-2), Canal Winchester (1-4-2), Franklin Heights (1-5), Delaware (0-5-1)

•Seniors lost: Johnny Bates, Marcello Carenzio, Sam Dowden, Jack Jenkins, Blessing Johnson, Will Root and Jacob Stedman

•Key returnees: Caden Bjorkland, Isaiah Coleman, Jacob Cressy, Caden Groff and Chase Newsome

•Postseason: Defeated Teays Valley 2-0; lost to Pickerington North 3-0 in second round of Division I district tournament

GROVEPORT MADISON CROSS COUNTRY

•OCC-Capital standings: Boys – Lancaster (33), Pickerington Central (44), Reynoldsburg (73), Newark (88), Central Crossing (152), Groveport (no team score); Girls – Lancaster (26), Pickerington Central (47), Reynoldsburg (65), Newark (102), Central Crossing (138), Groveport (147)

•Seniors lost: Boys – Ezra Ayele, Kahari Davis, Eli Jackson, David Neal Jr. and Fabian Velazquez; Girls – Annie Byerly, Gracia Musa and Crystal Russell

•Key returnees: Boys – Nick Shelton; Girls – Alana Fisher, Kyra McCormick and Nijah Montgomery

•Postseason: Boys – Finished 11th (352) at district behind champion Hilliard Davidson (27); Girls – Finished 13th (417) at district behind champion Davidson (19)

GROVEPORT BOYS SOCCER

•Record: 4-12-1 overall

•OCC-Buckeye standings: Central (5-0), Reynoldsburg (3-1-1), Central Crossing and Newark (both 2-3), Lancaster (1-4), Groveport (1-3-1)

•Seniors lost: Abdul Ahmed, Jeffrey Asamoah, Mitchell Ashburn, Calvin Blevins, Foday Camara, Chandler Jones, Edgar Martinez, Jeffrey Minah, Edward Olusemo, Don Roberts, Isa Suzuki and Stanley Ubah

•Key returnees: Ali Alanfagi and Mike Musungu

•Postseason: Def. Central Crossing 5-2; lost to Dublin Jerome 2-0 in second round of Division I district tournament

GROVEPORT GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

•Record: 4-15 overall

•OCC-Buckeye standings: Central (10-0), Lancaster (8-2), Newark and Reynoldsburg (both 5-5), Central Crossing and Groveport (both 1-9)

•Seniors lost: Sydney Morant, Aniya Owens and Grace Seipel

•Key returnees: Natalie England, Kalista Milne and Gabby White

•Postseason: Lost to Olentangy Orange by no contest in second round of Division I district tournament