Grandview Heights Roundup: Tayler Pierce's play foils foes' defensive plans

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Tayler Pierce of the Grandview Heights girls soccer team controls the ball during a game against visiting Ready on Sept. 12. Pierce, a senior forward, had a team-high nine goals through seven games for the Bobcats, who were 6-0-1 overall and 3-0 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Wellington on Sept. 19.

It was evident early on that Tayler Pierce was a game-changer for the Grandview Heights girls soccer team.

She scored a team-high 18 goals as a freshman, including the game-winner from 30 yards in the second overtime of a 2-1 victory over Lynchburg-Clay in a Division III regional final.

Three years later, the senior forward is still scoring -- and creating chances for her teammates -- with 61 career goals and 19 assists entering play Sept. 19. Pierce's 141 points were 21 behind program-record holder Haley Rees, a 2016 graduate who finished with 77 goals and eight assists.

"I think part of it in her freshman year was her being new and not a lot of people knew about her, but she had a target on her back in her sophomore and junior years," coach Bre Dominach said. "Sometimes that can be intimidating, but she has accepted that and wants to take people on. She's like, 'Go ahead, put two people on me, and I'll show you what I'm capable of doing.' "

Pierce had nine goals and three assists through seven games this season for the Bobcats, who were 6-0-1 overall and 3-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Wellington on Sept. 19. They tied Division I Worthington Kilbourne at 1 on Sept. 16.

"I don't let it bother me," Pierce said of being the focus of opposing defenders. "I go out and play. If they have two people on me, I try to run opposite to the ball to open things up for my teammates that way.

"The most difficult thing about soccer is that it's so unpredictable. Nothing is ever the same. It changes every single game, and you have to adapt to it. You have to change your play and match that of your opponent."

Pierce didn't always play forward, spending a couple of seasons at goalie in youth soccer. She gave up that position when she was 12, but said playing in goal has benefited her in the field.

"I only played goalie for a couple of years, but playing it helped me figure out where the good places on the field were to shoot from and where to go to get open," she said. "I know what runs to make to get open.

"I feel like I'm better at runs and seeing what is going to happen. I now know how my teammates play and what moves everyone is going to make and where they will go when a certain person has the ball."

Dominach said Pierce has good instincts for the game.

"I think Tayler is able to read the development of the plays and she is able to take advantage of things because of that," Dominach said. "She uses her size and speed as well.

"This year she has challenged herself to take the responsibility and to take chances that maybe she was hesitant to do in the past. We have focused on pushing her to do that, and she's comfortable with doing that and wanting to see how far she can go this season."

Pierce does more than stretching during pregame warmups. She also keeps an eye on the opposing goalie, trying to pick up cues that can help once the game starts.

"I usually watch to see if she is good at diving for a ball or if she can go high," Pierce said. "I definitely pay attention to that.

"(During the game), you have to see where the goalie is and put it on the other side of the net. You also look to see the size of the goalie to see if they are taller or smaller and whether it's easier to put it in the air or place it on the ground."

Pierce plans to play at the next level, but has not made a college selection.

Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Pierce and her teammates weren't sure if there would be a season, so they're making sure to enjoy the experience.

"Every single practice we cherish the moments and make the most of it," she said. "We want to have as much fun as we can while also being serious and being hopeful for a (full) season.

"This year we are the closest team I have been around. The chemistry is really good. We hang out outside of soccer -- social distancing, of course. I feel like we get a better understanding of who each other is and get to know each other better."

Golfers prepare for postseason

The boys golf team will play in a Division III sectional tournament Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Darby Creek.

The top six teams and top six individuals not on those teams advance to district Oct. 8 at Denison Golf Club.

The Bobcats played the final round of league competition in the MSL-Ohio postseason tournament Sept. 23 at Denison Golf Club.

In the midseason event Aug. 29 at Turnberry, Grandview was sixth (365) behind champion Columbus Academy (303). Ian Roediger (83) led the Bobcats, followed by Colin Cleary (86), Brendan Cleary (88), Jack Greer (108) and Nick Hayes (118).

Girls tennis team wins three in a row

The girls tennis team picked up a 5-0 victory over Groveport on Sept. 17 to win its third consecutive match and improve to 6-7 overall.

Cate Stanley won at first singles, with Dylan Dobbs-Euans winning at second singles and Lydia Robertson at third.

Caroline Kahle and Maggie Lyon won at first doubles, and Maggie Lobley and Cora Wilson won on the second court.

The Bobcats were 1-4 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Wellington on Sept. 22.

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Lydia Robertson won at third singles as the Bobcats girls tennis team blanked Groveport 5-0 on Sept. 17 for their third consecutive victory.