Watterson Roundup Girls embrace unusual season
The Watterson girls soccer team did its best to look at the positives that came from having an unusual offseason because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Once skills training was cleared in late May for all sports, the Eagles spent more time together than in previous summers because the Ohio High School Athletic Association didn't have a dead period or practice time limitations.
"We've got a good group back," fourth-year coach Scott Dempsey said. "The change in the OHSAA rules this year allowing us to train in all of June and July has been a different dynamic than before.
"As far as team building and developing that sense of unity, obviously the players spent an awful lot of time together training. There was a lot of structure. It boils down to how much did you do with that time and were you successful with that time."
Watterson, which was a Division I state semifinalist in 2018 and a district runner-up last fall when it finished 11-5-3 overall, opened with wins over Thomas Worthington (5-0 on Aug. 27) and Big Walnut (9-1 on Aug. 29).
The Eagles won the CCL at 3-0 last season and open their league schedule Sept. 17 at DeSales.
The top returnees are senior Annie McGraw (goalie) and juniors Gabriella Rotolo (midfielder/forward), Maddy Bellisari (defender) and Brooklyn Scythes (midfielder).
Bellisari and Rotolo were first-team all-league and McGraw and Scythes made the second team a year ago.
Seniors Erin Connors (forward) and Grace Jenkins (midfielder) and juniors Julia Flanagan (defender/midfielder), Lexie Francis (midfielder/forward) and Katie Youell (defender) also are key returnees.
Joining Connors and Francis up front are juniors Bo Brafford and Ryan McGinn and sophomore Rachel Spencer.
Also at midfielder are juniors Ellie Copeland and Jordan Morales and sophomores Erin Karas and Sydney Workman.
Joining Bellisari, Flanagan and Youell on defense are senior Olivia Frisone, sophomores Katie Bettendorf, Gabby Capozella and Greer Martin and freshman Ruby West.
Junior Evie Owens is the backup goalie.
"We've got a good group of sophomores giving us an awful lot of talent and an awful lot of depth," Dempsey said.
Boys soccer team seeks breakthrough
With 11 seniors and several returning juniors, the boys soccer team believes it has the experience to improve on a 5-10-2 record that included tying Hartley for third at 1-2-1 in the CCL last season.
The Eagles expect to again be competitive in the postseason after reaching a Division II district semifinal a year ago.
"We always play good teams," second-year coach Chad Smith said. "I only had two seniors last year and had another player transfer away. I think we're a consistent team with pretty good depth and we've got to find those kids who can step up in those big moments, but we have a lot of the good pieces we need to put it together."
Watterson -- which opened with a 3-1 loss to Worthington Christian on Aug. 21, tied Dublin Scioto at 1 on Aug. 25 and lost to Delaware 2-1 on Aug. 27 -- plays its CCL opener Tuesday, Sept. 15, at DeSales.
The top returnees are seniors Simon DiSabato (midfielder), Anthony Fultz (defender), Marshall Musuraca (defender), Colin Robinson (midfielder) and Michael Segreto (goalie) and juniors Trent Maisano (midfielder) and Alex Spiers (midfielder).
Junior midfielder Johnny Hammerlle, who missed time at the beginning of the season with an injury, is expected to be an impact player as well.
Other returnees include juniors Sean Nyhus (defender) and Joey White (midfielder).
Lucas Iceman (defender), Nick Isabelle (forward), Jack Slyman (midfielder) and Reed Whetstone (midfielder) round out the senior class.
Also in the program are juniors Quentin King (defender), Jake Myers (forward), Isaac Ohlin (defender) and Cameron Stanley (forward), sophomore Justin Das (midfielder) and freshman Noah Thomas (goalie).
"We play a one-forward system and have a lot of midfielders that end up on attack," Smith said. "Trent Maisano is a midfielder who can do his own thing. Marshall Musuraca is a very strong defender, and he and our other center back, Anthony Fultz, hold our defense together. We've got some strong guys in the back and some youthful guys."
At a glance
*Coach: Chad Smith, second season
*Top players: Anthony Fultz, Johnny Hammerlle, Trent Maisano, Marshall Musuraca, Sean Nyhus, Colin Robinson, Michael Segreto and Alex Spiers
*Key losses: Liam Brockman, Max Graham and Grant Twombly
*Last season: 5-10-2 overall
*2019 CCL standings: St. Charles (4-0), DeSales (3-1), Hartley (1-2-1), Watterson (1-2-1), Ready (0-4)
*2019 postseason: Defeated Jonathan Alder 1-0; lost to Granville 6-2 in Division II district semifinal
*Coach: Scott Dempsey, fourth season
*Top players: Maddy Bellisari, Erin Connors, Julia Flanagan, Grace Jenkins, Annie McGraw, Gabriella Rotolo, Brooklyn Scythes and Katie Youell
*Key losses: Maddie Bogan, Megan Eberts, Isabella Ginocchi, Allie Gleason and Rachel Weaver
*Last season: 11-5-3 overall
*2019 CCL standings: Watterson (3-0), DeSales (2-1), Hartley (1-2), Ready (0-3)
*2019 postseason: Def. Logan 11-0; def. Hilliard Darby 5-1; lost to Olentangy Orange 2-0 in Division I district final