New Albany Roundup: Jakob Bering playing key role for boys soccer team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group

That Jakob Bering played some part in nine of the New Albany boys soccer team’s first 32 goals this season seems to reflect how coach Johnny Ulry feels about his senior holding midfielder, especially considering that he had scored just once but provided eight assists.

“He gets it. He knows how things should be run. He knows our expectations,” Ulry said. “I feel like I have my coach out there with the guys."

Not only does Jakob Bering fill the critical role of holding midfielder for the New Albany boys soccer team, but the senior has the rare distinction of being a four-year letterwinner. Only two other players have achieved that status in coach Johnny Ulry's six seasons. The Eagles were 8-2 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Westland on Oct. 1.

A rare four-year letterwinner for the Eagles and a three-year starter, Bering has been instrumental to another fast start for the team. New Albany was 8-2 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Westland on Oct. 1.

The Eagles outscored their first 10 opponents 32-8.

After splitting time between varsity and junior varsity as a freshman, Bering was a starting defensive midfielder as a sophomore and an offensive-minded midfielder last season.

“As the attacking mid last year, I was more of the facilitator for the attack. As a defensive mid, I worked with the center backs, the back line, making sure we’re together, compact on defense and then spread out on attack,” Bering said. “I take a lot of pride in this role.”

Bering is the third four-year letterwinner in Ulry’s tenure, after 2019 graduates Noah Boffo and Drew Fischer. Boffo, who was Division I state Player of the Year as a senior, now plays at Xavier, and Fischer plays at Colgate.

Ulry had an inkling that Bering would be special early in his freshman season.

“We let him play with the (junior varsity) for the first few days and it was very clear he needed to be on varsity,” Ulry said. “You just kind of see what the potential will be two, three and four years down the road. We didn’t put any pressure on Jakob when he was a freshman, but we knew he would be pretty important.”

Bering’s only goal through 10 games came Sept. 8 during a 7-1 win at Pickerington Central from about 35 yards out.

Before Oct. 1, New Albany was 50-13-1 overall and 16-1 in league play with Bering on the roster. The Eagles were a Division I district runner-up last year and district semifinalist in 2018.

Bering is undecided on whether to play college soccer, largely because he plans to pursue a medical degree. He is president of the Future Medical Professionals club at the high school, an organization in which prospective medical schools talk to doctors about all aspects of the career.

He also has been active in TEDx New Albany as a vendor coordinator. The organization includes talks on several topics, including academia, culture and science.

“No question, he’s the hardest worker on our team and the most fit player we have,” Ulry said. “The way he conducts himself is what we want this program to be all about. He’s a big block in our foundation.”

Field hockey team

braces for big stretch

The field hockey team put its undefeated record on the line Sept. 30 when it played host to Upper Arlington, which at the time shared first place in the COFHL-West with perennial power Thomas Worthington, in the first of several games against top-tier competition late in the regular season.

An Oct. 6 visit to defending state champion Columbus Academy followed, as does an Oct. 15 game at Thomas.

“It has been a great season thus far, but it’s not over yet,” said coach Marissa Weldon, whose team was 9-0-1 overall before Sept. 30 and 5-0 in the COFHL-East before playing Academy. “We’ll need to remain disciplined and focused — taking each game one at a time. I have to commend our senior leadership, especially our captains Bridget Driscoll, Olivia Pollack and Bella Thompson, for keeping the team positive, and for ensuring our effort and mindset are where they need to be. We’ll catch a breath when the season is over but for right now, we are heads down, putting in the work.”

New Albany averaged 3.4 goals in its first 10 games and scored five or more goals three times while posting eight shutouts.

“Bella has been steady in cage (but) again, she will have some tough tests ahead of her,” Weldon said. “As far as offense … it’s really been a team effort to backfill that production. Goals scored are spread throughout multiple players; in particular, senior Olivia Herman, our current top scorer, has really stepped up.”

Girls tennis team

prepares for sectional

The girls team will participate in a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 10, at Reynoldsburg, and at least on paper the Eagles have a good chance to return to those same courts a week later for district.

The doubles team of Demi Shostak and Helen Wang is seeded first, and teammates Roshni Chandawarkar and Justina Sung are the fourth seed.

Singles player Paige Cornelius is seeded second.

New Albany’s other two singles players at district will be Elizabeth Campbell and Madison Spiess.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 15 and 17.

The Eagles were 12-3 before playing Olentangy Berlin on Sept. 30. Their final scheduled regular-season match was Oct. 6 against Upper Arlington.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave