Dublin Coffman Spotlight: Boys soccer, girls volleyball teams start climb back to top

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Junior midfielder Soshi Tanaka, left, is among the top expected returnees for the Coffman boys soccer team, which finished 7-5-4 in Terry Smith's first season as coach.

For the Dublin Coffman boys soccer and girls volleyball teams, which have long been among the elite programs in central Ohio, returning to that accustomed level of success was one of the main goals for their first-year coaches.

The soccer team under Terry Smith and the volleyball squad led by Max Miller both believe they took steps toward accomplishing that objective.

After a streak of eight consecutive Division I district titles was snapped last year, the soccer team lost in a district semifinal for the second consecutive season but overcame a slow start.

The 12th-seeded Shamrocks fell 3-2 to fourth-seeded Pickerington North on Oct. 27 to finish 7-5-4 overall. They finished second in the new-look OCC-Central Division at 4-1, behind Olentangy Liberty (5-0).

“We didn’t start off very well, but it’s been a good little run,” Smith said. “The continuity of getting everyone on the field, especially when you’ve got a new coach, it takes a while to get everybody kind of caught up, and (the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic) didn’t help, either. We started out in groups of 10s and 12s, but I think they all knew it was there. It was just little detail things that we were doing consistently.

“The goal for the season is to get them back where they’d been for the longest time. ... The frustration early on wasn’t really the record for me. We played a tough schedule.”

Forward Ryan Sommerfeld was the leading scorer with nine goals and three assists and was part of a 14-member senior class.

Expected back after playing key roles are juniors Hunter Burris (midfielder), Niko Kapustin (midfielder), Colin Kuehn (forward), Coy Ragland (defender) and Soshi Tanaka (midfielder) and sophomore Andre Roberts (midfielder).

Others eligible to return include juniors Alex Anderson (defender) and Zak Boroff (midfielder), sophomore Jack Jennings (defender) and freshman Zach Rollins (forward).

“We have five juniors that start and one sophomore that starts in Andre Roberts,” Smith said. “It’s exciting. A lot of it has been about attention to detail and self-discipline. … It’s been a real good first season.”

The volleyball team had won 12 consecutive district titles before that streak was snapped last year. This season, Coffman had a run of 13 consecutive league titles end, going 6-4 in the OCC-Central as Olentangy Orange went 10-0.

The Shamrocks were the district’s fifth seed and lost 25-12, 25-16, 25-20 to fourth-seeded Watkins Memorial on Oct. 27 in a district semifinal to finish 16-8 overall.

Still, Miller believes the program is back on track considering it loses only two key seniors in Anna Dorenkott (setter) and Erin Peebles (outside hitter).

Dorenkott, whose father, Bill Dorenkott, is the director of swimming and diving at Ohio State, has enjoyed the role she’s played in helping set the team up for future success.

“We’re still a young team with a new coaching staff and with that I think we’ve adjusted well,” Dorenkott said. “There’s a lot of talent in the sophomore class. It’s important for the coming years to leave this school with something to build from.”

Dorenkott led the Shamrocks in assists with 752.

The top returnees are expected to be sophomores Anna Durham (outside hitter/middle hitter, team-leading 425 kills) and Leah Shumate (outside hitter, 243 kills).

Juniors Ruby Moore (outside hitter/middle hitter) and Katy McCaffrey (middle hitter), sophomore Annabelle Straty (libero/defensive specialist) and freshman Grace Thomas (middle hitter/right-side hitter) also were key contributors.

Others expected to return include juniors Maiha Ashida, Audrey Bajeca, Cara Bartemes, Elizabeth Froling and Megan Mullins and freshman Rachael Kiley. All were defensive specialists.

“We’re a young team,” Miller said. “The fact that we’re coming off back-to-back coaching changes, they’ve had to learn how to compete and they’ve learned that well in the course of the season.”

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

BOYS SOCCER

Record: 7-5-4 overall

OCC-Central standings: Olentangy Liberty (5-0), Coffman (4-1), Upper Arlington (2-2-1), Hilliard Bradley (1-3-1), Olentangy Orange (1-3-1), Hilliard Davidson (0-4-1)

Seniors lost: Jack Bailey, Felipe Cruz, Andrew Fisher, Michael German, Jered Harper, Ian Kwiatkowski, Trent McConnaughey, Justin Moore, Melvin Flores Nonato, Luke Sarver, Braden Shoaf, Roshan Singri, Ryan Sommerfeld and Ryan Youngpeters

Key returnees: Hunter Burris, Niko Kapustin, Colin Kuhn, Coy Ragland, Andre Roberts and Soshi Tanaka

Postseason: Defeated Lancaster 6-1; lost to Pickerington North 3-2 in Division I district semifinal

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Record: 16-8 overall

OCC-Central standings: Orange (10-0), Liberty (5-2), Coffman (6-4), UA (3-6), Bradley (2-7), Davidson (1-8)

Seniors lost: Julia Donegan, Anna Dorenkott and Erin Peebles

Key returnees: Ella Durham, Katy McCaffrey, Ruby Moore, Leah Shumate, Annabelle Straty and Grace Thomas

Postseason: Def. Westerville North 25-20, 25-13, 25-13; def. Jerome 25-15, 25-16, 25-16; lost to Watkins Memorial 25-12, 25-16, 25-20 in Division I district semifinal