Watterson Roundup: Girls soccer team meshes for success

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Midfielder Grace Jenkins is among four senior leaders for the Watterson girls soccer team, which has been having a standout season. The Eagles, who were 10-1 before playing Hartley on Oct. 1, learn their Division I district tournament drawing Sunday, Oct. 11.

With one of central Ohio’s most gifted scorers in 2019 graduate and current High Point starter Emma Schossler leading the way, the Watterson girls soccer team reached a Division I state semifinal during her senior season in 2018.

The Eagles had a younger overall cast and used a more balanced attack while finishing as a district runner-up last fall.

There are just four seniors this season in defender Olivia Frisone, midfielders Erin Connors and Grace Jenkins and goalie Annie McGraw, but Watterson coach Scott Dempsey believes his team’s skill work rivals any that he’s coached at the school since he took over in 2017.

Before playing Hartley on Oct. 1, the Eagles were 10-1 overall and leading the CCL at 2-0.

“This team might be the most technical team since we’ve been here,” Dempsey said. “All the players are really comfortable with the ball at their feet and it gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of what we do and where players play at different points in time. Last year, we had some really strong individual personalities that we relied on. This year we definitely share the opportunities much more.”

The district tournament drawing is Sunday, Oct. 11.

Watterson was fifth in last week’s state poll, with the only other district teams in the rankings being New Albany at No. 6 and Dublin Coffman at No. 15. Coffman represented the district in a state semifinal last fall.

The Eagles were tied with New Albany for first in last week’s area poll, with Coffman third and Olentangy Orange at No. 4. Watterson lost to Orange 2-1 on Sept. 19.

McGraw had posted eight shutouts through 11 games as part of a defense that also features Frisone, junior Maddy Bellisari and sophomores Katie Bettendorf and Gabby Capozella.

“We only lost five seniors from last year, so we have a lot of the same players returning and have been able to build our relationships from last year and the year before that, so that’s why I think our chemistry has been so good,” Connors said. “The center midfielders have been working together and so has our back line, with Maddy Bellisari leading. We have two sophomores (on defense) that have learned so much since last year.”

Offensively, the Eagles have been paced by sophomore Rachel Spencer, who had 12 goals through 11 games, with junior midfielders Gabriella Rotolo and Brooklyn Scythes also playing key roles.

Spencer had two goals in a 5-0 win over Gahanna on Sept. 29.

In a 6-0 victory over Hilliard Darby on Sept. 26, Spencer led with two goals.

“Our communication and our chemistry is just really good on and off the field,” Spencer said. “(Rotolo and Connors) work off each other, especially with the flanks. The big thing we need to do for every game is start out strong. We started out strong (against Darby) and when we start out strong, we control the field and just play so much better.”

Rotolo, who along with McGraw was first-team all-league last season, had eight goals through 11 games.

“We have a really good idea of what we want to get accomplished this season,” Rotolo said. “We all get along, we’re just great friends and it shows on the field. My main role is to distribute the ball and I’m constantly looking to play it into Rachel.”

Tennis team preps

for postseason

The girls tennis team opens the postseason Thursday, Oct. 8, in a Division I sectional at Pickerington Central.

Freshman Sara Goodlive, who played first singles most of the regular season and is the third seed at sectional, opens against Central’s Issysis Hill or Watkins Memorial’s Rachel Bagent.

Junior Caroline Goodlive has been at second singles and opens the postseason against Watkins Memorial’s Julie Sanchez. Senior Isabelle Roscoe is the other singles entrant and opens against Teays Valley’s Lexy Urban.

“The Goodlive sister have done well,” coach Susan Weil said. “Sara Goodlive is a freshman who has come out with a good start. I think it’s hard when you’re a freshman going up against a senior because there’s just a maturity level that’s different.”

In doubles, the sister team of senior Claire Hohlefelder and freshman Elizabeth Hohlefelder opens sectional against Watkins Memorial’s Breauna Doucette and Sherri Waters. Sophomores Katherine Braidech and Reese Borland open against Newark’s Abby Armstrong and Kenna Hauser or Big Walnut’s Avery Wagner and Lindsey Stevens.

Watterson defeated DeSales 5-0 on Sept. 30 to improve to 6-5 overall and win the CCL at 3-0.

“We’ve had some good success in doubles,” Weil said. “I’ve mixed up the pairings here and there and it’s helped.”

Field hockey team

preps for postseason

The field hockey team will learn its district tournament drawing Sunday, Oct. 11, and it figures to be one of the top three seeds.

The Eagles beat defending COFHL-East Division champion Columbus Academy 3-1 on Sept 9 before falling 1-0 to Thomas Worthington on Sept. 11.

Before facing New Albany on Oct. 2, Watterson was 9-1 overall and 5-0 in the league. It also played Bexley in a league game Oct. 7 and closes the league schedule Oct. 15 at Granville.

In a 6-2 victory over Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 23, freshman attacker Avelinn O’Reilly had three goals and senior attacker Alex Picolo and junior midfielders Camille Gregory and Molly Griffith all scored once.

Picolo was the team’s leading scorer through 10 games with nine goals. Griffith, O’Reilly and junior attacker Grace Cantwell all had seven, and senior goalie Caroline Dunham had three shutouts.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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