Girls Soccer: Experience creates high expectations for Bobcats

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Abbie Baxter, a junior defender who was second-team all-league last season, is among nine returning starters for the Bobcats.

Bre Dominach has high expectations in her second season leading the Grandview Heights girls soccer team.

The Bobcats return nine starters from last season, when they finished 14-4-1 overall and lost to Columbus Academy 1-0 in a Division III district final. They also tied Bexley for second (6-2) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind the Vikings (8-0).

"I think a strength of this group is that we have so many key players returning, and they have experience playing with each other," said Dominach, whose team beat Academy 3-1 in its league opener Sept. 2. "The seniors lead by example, and everyone follows suit and matches their intensity."

Seniors Lindsey Bertani (second-team all-league; 3 goals, 6 assists) and Carlie Orr and junior Abbie Baxter (second-team all-league) are returning starters on defense, and senior Tia Thomas (first-team all-league; 9 goals, 9 assists), junior Maya Burchfield and sophomores Maggie Herlihy (3 goals, 5 assists) and Lucia Mastroianni (4 goals, 3 assists) return in the midfield.

Senior Tayler Pierce (first-team all-league; 15 goals, 6 assists) and Zoey Miller (second-team all-league; 15 goals, 5 assists) are back at forward.

"I think communication will be important for us," Orr said. "We have a lot of good skilled players all around the field, so I think communication and working together will help us find open teammates with our passes."

Dominach said the Bobcats have two go-to players near the net in Miller and Pierce. Freshman Natalie Smith also is expected to contribute.

"They're playing well and have been taking chances," Dominach said. "We really emphasized that they needed to find a moment to take those shots and score goals. They don't need to be humble and set up teammates. It's time for them to make a statement."

The midfield has the versatility to stabilize the field.

"We have a lot of options because the girls in the midfield can play one or two roles," Dominach said. "They have the speed, and they also are precise with their passes."

The Bobcats must replace 2020 graduate Addi Holcomb (honorable mention all-league) at goalie. Senior Layla Slaughter, sophomore Kathryn Page and freshman Vivian Chute are vying for the role.

"It's a fluid situation," Dominach said. "They're fighting for the position and all have something that they bring to the table."

Baxter, Bertani and Orr anchor the defense.

Grandview won its first two contests, defeating Berlin Hiland 6-0 on Aug. 22 and Fairbanks 4-1 on Aug. 31. Pierce had a combined four goals in the victories.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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At a glance

GIRLS SOCCER

*Coach: Bre Dominach, second season

*Top players: Abbie Baxter, Lindsey Bertani, Maya Burchfield, Maggie Herlihy, Lucia Mastroianni, Zoey Miller, Carlie Orr, Tayler Pierce and Tia Thomas

*Key losses: Izzy Evans, Hallie Georskey, Addi Holcomb, Emma Hall, Claudette Moul and Georgia Ryan

*Last season: 14-4-1 overall

*2019 MSL-Ohio standings: Academy (8-0), Bexley and Grandview (6-2), Buckeye Valley and Worthington Christian (4-3-1), Zanesville Rosecrans (2-4-2), Columbus School for Girls and Wellington (2-6), Whitehall (0-8)

*2019 postseason: Defeated Ready 7-1; def. Worthington Christian 3-0; lost to Academy 1-0 in Division III district final