Whetstone Roundup: Girls soccer team chasing City title

STEPHEN BORGNA
sborgna@thisweeknews.com
Nezzie O'Malley, a junior midfielder, is among the top returnees for the Whetstone girls soccer team and coach Doug Kohler.

After a delayed start to the season with Columbus City Schools suspending athletics from Aug. 14-29, the Whetstone girls soccer team is ready to pursue its seventh City League championship in nine years.

Coach Doug Kohler said the Braves, who finished 9-5-4 overall and 4-0 in the City last year before beating Centennial 1-0 in the City title game, felt rejuvenated in the practices leading up to their opener Sept. 21 against West.

Whetstone is playing a six-game league schedule, with a City tournament to follow.

"We got our game schedule (Sept. 11) and ... everybody's got a little more pep in their step because hey, we've finally got a game on the schedule," Kohler said. "I think everybody's excited about it."

Seniors Mira Dush and Annabelle O'Neal and sophomore Summer Dush are projected to lead the front line, with juniors Nezzie O'Malley, Ella Norris and Lily Hoyt in the midfield.

Senior Amelia Morris, sophomore Maria Brooke and freshmen Ava Flowers and Lucy Thompson are expected to anchor the defense. Junior Alex Phillips is projected to start at goalie, but sophomores Emma Wood, Fin O'Shaughnessy and Elizabeth Swaray also may see time in goal.

"We'd like to repeat as City League champions, that's one goal. And if we only get to play a City League schedule, we could potentially, possibly finish the season undefeated," Kohler said. "I don't think there's ever been a team in Whetstone history that finished the season undefeated. You have to look at the bright side of things."

Whetstone played Centennial on Sept. 23. It has games remaining against Northland on Monday, Sept. 28, West on Wednesday, Sept. 30, Centennial on Oct. 5 and Northland on Oct. 7.

Boys soccer team happy to be back

The boys soccer team hopes to build on last year's finish of 10-5-1 overall and 2-3 in the City-North Division.

"The kids are super excited, and I'm excited to keep the season going," first-year coach Justin Evans said. "We're trying to give the seniors a good send-off for this year."

Top players expected to see significant playing time include senior forward Chance Mpigirwa and junior forward Abdi Mohamed. Mpigirway scored 14 goals last season.

Seniors Brack Dillon, Jacob Hoffman and Max Cipriani and junior Sam Garcia are projected to see a lot of playing time in the midfield, with senior Lucas Poirier and junior Rafa Arebalo expected to anchor the defense.

Sophomore Max Rogers is expected to start at goalie.

"I have so many seniors and juniors this year, it's kind of different," Evans said. "Normally Whetstone's a younger team, but this year we have a lot of older kids that are really good. So I can put anyone in and have complete confidence."

The Braves opened Sept. 14 with a 3-1 win over Beechcroft. Whetstone played West on Sept. 22 and is scheduled to face International on Thursday, Sept. 24, Northland on Wednesday, Sept. 30, Walnut Ridge on Oct. 6, Centennial on Oct. 8 and Briggs on Oct. 13.

A City tournament is scheduled to begin the third week of October.

Cross country teams open season

The cross country teams opened Sept. 16 with a home tri-meet against Bexley and Watterson.

The boys finished third (48) behind Watterson (37) and Bexley (40), while the girls were third (80) behind Bexley (17) and Watterson (40).

Senior Thaine Nederveld, who placed 23rd (16 minutes, 36.6 seconds) in the Division I regional meet last year, finished first (16:11) of 59 runners in the boys race.

Senior Matthew Conroy was fifth (17:34) and sophomore Wyatt Starkie was 11th (18:19).

Senior Marisa Tayal finished 16th (25:04) of 51 runners to lead the girls. Senior Jane Carney was 17th (25:07) and freshman Ava Feller was 18th (25:32).

Coach Joe Monda said sophomore Maitland Neff is expected to be another top contributor for the boys. Senior Micah Stromsoe DeLorenzo, sophomores Anouk Moritz and Olivia Cobbs and freshman Anna Kain also are expected to be top contributors for the girls.

Whetstone played host to the Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 23 and races in the Celtic Clash on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Dublin Jerome and the Rick Mettle Invitational on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Walnut Ridge.

The City meet is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Whetstone.

The boys won the City title last season and the girls finished second.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

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