Notebook: Offseason effort pays off for Central Crossing boys soccer team

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Adam Orrell and the Grove City Christian boys soccer team captured the program's first league title by going 6-0 in the MSL-Cardinal Division. The Eagles won all six games by shutout.

Hard work in the offseason has helped pay off with a record-setting campaign for the Central Crossing boys soccer team.

The Comets were 6-7-1 overall before playing Westland on Oct. 15. That ties the program high for victories when they were 6-10-1 in both 2002 and 2003.

Since 2010, Central Crossing has won no more than five games in a season. In 2017, they were 5-11-1, and that was as many wins as they had in 2014-16 combined.

“This has been the best season Central Crossing has had pretty much since the school opened (in 2002),” coach Will Denney said. “It means a lot to our players. Our seniors are chasing seven wins because six is the (program) record, and they want to break that.”

The Comets finished 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division by defeating Groveport 1-0 on Oct. 13. 

Alex Quintero Hernandez scored against the Cruisers off an assist from Tyler Terrell, who led the team with 14 goals and 10 assists through 14 games. Entering the Westland game, Isaiah Prophet had four goals and five assists, and Bladimir Castillo Hernandez had three goals and four assists.

“The biggest key to our success is our guys buying into what we’re doing,” Denney said. “They play indoor in the offseason, we train four days a week in the summer at 7 in the morning. They lift weights almost year round, and they do all of that with enthusiasm and a desire to grow. We’re really proud of their commitment, their maturity and their continual growth.”

The Comets were seeded 37th in the Division I district tournament, opening Oct. 20 at 32nd-seeded Groveport. The winner played at top-seeded Dublin Jerome in the second round Thursday, Oct. 22.

The district-semifinal matchup would be against 17th-seeded Big Walnut or 27th-seeded Licking Heights on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the home field of the higher seed.

“This is a really special group, and our coaching staff loves coaching them,” Denney said. “Our program is trending up because of their desire to improve.”

•The Grove City Christian boys soccer team is looking to carry the momentum of winning the program’s first league title into the Division III district tournament.

The Eagles finished 6-0 in the MSL-Cardinal and were 10-2-1 overall before playing Ready on Oct. 15. They closed the regular season Oct. 19 against Hamilton Township.

“The team is really excited to be that first to win a league title,” coach Dan Milam said. “Over the past several years we’ve had several firsts as far as overall number of wins, further advancement in the tournament. This group can stake their claim on the first league title.”

The Eagles are seeded sixth of 19 teams in the district tournament and play host to eighth-seeded Liberty Union in the second round Monday, Oct. 26. They lost to Liberty Union 2-0 on Oct. 5.

The winner plays third-seeded Columbus Academy, 11th-seeded Madison Christian or 18th-seeded Harvest Prep in a semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Cameron Stedtefeld scored four goals and Noah Kauffman added one in a 5-0 win over Zanesville Rosecrans on Oct. 8 as the Eagles capped their undefeated league record. They won all six games by shutout.

—Frank DiRenna

•The Grove City boys and girls soccer and girls volleyball teams are set for the postseason.

The boys team was 4-6-2 overall before closing the regular season Oct. 15 against Worthington Christian. The Greyhounds finished 2-3 in the OCC-Ohio with a 5-2 win over Westland on Oct. 13. Nick Isaac scored three goals.

Seeded 22nd in the Division I district tournament, the Greyhounds played eighth-seeded St. Charles in the first round Oct. 20. The winner plays 21st-seeded Gahanna in the second round Thursday, Oct. 22, with that winner playing 11th-seeded Thomas Worthington or 19th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The girls soccer team was 8-4-3 overall before playing Jerome on Oct. 15. Grove City finished 3-2 in the OCC-Ohio with a 10-0 win over Westland on Oct. 13.

The 12th-seeded Greyhounds visit ninth-seeded Delaware in the second round of the district tournament Saturday, Oct. 24. The winner plays eighth-seeded Upper Arlington, 25th-seeded Thomas or 36th-seeded Central Crossing in a semifinal Oct. 28.

The girls volleyball team was 11-9 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Ohio before facing Westland on Oct. 15.

After a first-round bye in the district tournament, the 15th-seeded Greyhounds played 14th-seeded Delaware or 25th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in the second round Oct. 21. The winner likely visits second-seeded Dublin Scioto in a semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 27.

—Frank DiRenna

Sophomore Julie Moore and the Grove City girls tennis team finished their season in a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 8 at Hilliard Davidson.

•The Grove City girls tennis team finished 7-9 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Ohio under first-year coach Josh Chandler.

The Greyhounds competed in a Division I sectional Oct. 8 at Davidson, where junior Grace Schaffer and sophomores Gigi Hougland and Julie Moore each went 1-1 in singles. 

Sophomores Victoria Townsend and Carly Turner went 1-1 in doubles, with seniors Bre Bellar and Emma Burke going 0-1.

“I’m so proud of all of the improvements that my girls made throughout this year,” Chandler said. “They made improvements with their skills and mental toughness that really made us a tough team to play toward the end of the year. I had such a blast in my first year with these girls and am really looking forward to next year.”

—Frank DiRenna

•The Central Crossing girls tennis team won more than twice as many matches as it did last fall.

The Comets finished 7-11 overall after going 3-10 last season. They were 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Pickerington Central (5-0).

Led by first-year coach Cody Hawkins, Central Crossing did not have any competitors advance past the first day of the Division I sectional Oct. 8 at Davidson.

The doubles teams of senior Alina Semchishin and sophomore Haley Young and senior Lauryn Imler and junior Allison Antonoff both were 1-1 at sectional. Seniors Irina Meleshchuk and Emily Wright and junior Sophia Toscano were all 0-1 in singles.

—Scott Hennen

•The Grove City Christian girls volleyball team closed the regular season by playing Tree of Life on Oct. 15.

The Eagles were 7-12 overall before playing the Trojans and finished  5-9 in the MSL-Cardinal.

Tenth-seeded Grove City Christian opened the Division IV district tournament Oct. 20 against ninth-seeded Northside Christian. The winner plays at eighth-seeded Danville in the second round Thursday, Oct. 22, with that winner playing second-seeded Newark Catholic or 17th-seeded East Knox in a quarterfinal Saturday, Oct. 24.

—Frank DiRenna

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CENTRAL CROSSING GIRLS TENNIS

Record: 7-11 overall

OCC-Buckeye standings: Pickerington Central (5-0), Lancaster (4-1), Reynoldsburg (3-2), Newark (2-3), Central Crossing (1-4), Groveport (0-5)

Seniors lost: Dahana Garcia, Lauryn Imler, Irina Meleshchuk, Alina Semchishin, Ezebella Shishlo and Emily Wright

Key returnees: Allison Antonoff, Sophia Toscano and Haley Young

GROVE CITY GIRLS TENNIS

Record: 7-9 overall

OCC-Ohio standings: New Albany (5-0), Westerville Central (4-1), Gahanna (3-2), Pickerington North (2-3), Grove City (1-4), Westland (0-5) 

Seniors lost: Bre Bellar, Emma Burke and Julie Christensen

Key returnees: Gigi Hougland, Julie Moore, Grace Schaffer, Victoria Townsend and Carly Turner