Notebook: Balance keeping Olentangy Liberty boys soccer team among elite
With only one returning starter in junior defender Parker Cameron after earning a Division I state runner-up finish last season and under a new coach, the Olentangy Liberty boys soccer team entered this fall surrounded by uncertainty.
The players who have stepped into key roles for the first time, combined with a bench that has continued to impress coach Ricky Konkolewski, have more than helped the Patriots remain as one of the area’s top teams.
Liberty was 9-1-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central Division after beating Hilliard Bradley 2-1 on Oct. 1 and before playing Hilliard Davidson on Oct. 6.
“When we take one guy out, we’re really deep,” Konkolewski said. “We really feel like we have 21 guys on this roster that can play. It’s been difficult in the sense that playing time has been reduced a bit for these guys who are used to playing a lot, but you stay fresh. We’re at full health, so we’re pretty excited.”
Liberty was seventh in last week’s Division I state poll and second behind Pickerington North in the area poll.
The Patriots allowed just two goals in their first nine games, with junior Andrew Bartosik getting most of the minutes in goal. Junior center back Grant Montgomery also is playing a leading role on defense.
After beating Upper Arlington 2-0 on Sept. 22 and Hilliard Darby 1-0 on Sept. 24, Liberty lost to New Albany 4-1 on Sept. 29.
Senior midfielder Riley Carrier was leading the offense with five goals and one assist through 10 games.
• Berlin’s Ella Franz and Liberty’s Dani Schoenly earned top seeds in singles for the Division I girls tennis sectionals at Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg, respectively, that begin Thursday, Oct. 8, and conclude Saturday, Oct. 10.
Schoenly, a three-time start qualifier, is one of two Patriots seeded at Reynoldsburg, along with fourth-seeded Kylie Wilson. Emma Clark also will play singles, and the doubles teams will consist of Megan Haddow and Charri Thumati and Athena Mattis and Cathy Zhu.
Berlin’s other singles players are Raaga Chakilam and Siris Ponna. The doubles pairings are Claire Emanuel and Janna Harris and Emma Reger and Sydney Webb.
In the sectional at Upper Arlington, Orange’s Karol Korotkin is seeded third in singles, as are Tyler Reed and Carolyn Sproule in doubles. Katie Dicken and Ellie Logan will play singles, and the Pioneers’ other doubles team is Areta Kapasi and Aanya Tummalapalli.
Olentangy also will play at Reynoldsburg, led by the second-seeded doubles team of Sydney Nickel and Archita Sriram.
Rounding out the lineup for the Braves are singles players Pranjal Agochiya, Ava Estep and Shriya Palusa and the doubles team of Sonia Chirravuri and Isha Sawhney.
From each sectional, the top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 15 and 17 at Reynoldsburg.
– Dave Purpura
• Despite limited attendance because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Olentangy girls volleyball team still plans to honor its scheduled Volley for the Cure match Thursday, Oct. 8, at home against Hilliard Darby.
“We still want to raise awareness. We’ve had shirts made and our booster club and (Darby’s) will make donations,” coach Travis Weitthoff said. “It’s not lost on us that there’s a bigger cause out there, one we want to help as much as we can.”
The Braves were 9-6 overall and put their 6-0 record in the OCC-Cardinal after beating Berlin on Oct. 1 to start the second round of league play.
– Dave Purpura
•The Liberty field hockey team will learn its district tournament drawing Sunday, Oct. 11.
The Patriots, who reached a district semifinal last season, were hoping to find their rhythm in the days leading into the postseason after facing many of the toughest opponents during the early weeks of their season.
After tying Dublin Jerome at 1 on Sept. 30, Liberty was 3-5-2 overall and 2-2-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division.
According to coach Greg Siehl, senior midfielder Grace Hughes, senior forward Reese McClelland and sophomore forward Lucy Keeler have led the way.
In addition to Keeler, defender Payton Carrier, midfielder Sydney Frantz and forward Makenna Harrington are sophomores who have seen regular playing time.
Further displaying the Patriots’ youth is that sophomore Annie Lorenz and freshman Alayna Bogner have been splitting time at goalie.
– Jarrod Ulrey
•Jake Ethridge and Medha Patria led the Orange boys and girls cross country teams in the Celtic Clash on Sept. 26 at Dublin Jerome.
Ethridge finished seventh in 15 minutes, 47.42 seconds to lead the boys team, which placed fourth (126) in the 15-team Varsity B race behind champion Hilliard Davidson (51). Bryan King (15th, 16:15.92), Saketh Rudraraju (19th, 16:28.6), Cole Benishek (35th, 16:43.15) and Zamir Fuller (52nd, 17:06.76) also scored.
Patria (14th, 19:38.19) paced the girls team, which finished fifth (173) in the 15-team Varsity B race behind champion Davidson (57). Mairin O’Brien (27th, 20:23.68), Kayla Sucharski (31st, 20:27.25), Corinne Hazel (48th, 21:02.75) and Bella Homorody (53rd, 21:06.02) completed the scoring.
– Scott Hennen
•The Orange field hockey team had a three-game unbeaten streak heading into its game Oct. 3 against Cincinnati Ursuline.
The Pioneers were 2-5-2 overall before Oct. 3 and 2-3-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West before playing Liberty on Oct. 7.
Haylie Sucharski scored and goalie Chloe Fuller had one save as Orange defeated Dublin Scioto 1-0 in league play Sept. 23 for its first win of the season.
Sammy Myers scored as the Pioneers defeated league-rival Berlin on Sept. 28.
– Scott Hennen
•Jack Dunlop and Grace Dahlke led the Berlin boys and girls cross country teams in the Celtic Clash on Sept. 26 at Dublin Jerome.
Dunlop placed 17th in 16 minutes, 12.02 seconds to lead the boys team, which finished sixth (157) in the 15-team Varsity B race behind champion Hilliard Davidson (51). Calvin Davies (20th, 16:28.78), Cooper Citro (24th, 16:31.91), Corey Rinehart (30th, 16:40.54) and Matthew Cool (71st, 17:25.12) completed the scoring.
Dahlke (19th, 20:07.17) paced the girls team, which finished sixth (175) in the 15-team Varsity B race behind champion Davidson (57). Katie Balthaser (25th, 20:21.35), Ava Vaught (40th, 20:48.54), Ava Freeman (44th, 20:53.38) and Ella Ziegler (47th, 21:00.66) also scored.
– Scott Hennen
•Seniors Mason Morris and Kyle Rinehart led the Berlin boys soccer team in scoring through 11 games.
Morris, a forward, and Rinehart, a defender, both have seven goals and two assists for the Bears, who were 9-1-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal playing Jerome on Oct. 1.
Austin Corley added five goals and one assist, Landon Kuhn totaled three goals and eight assists, and Ryan Miller had one goal and two assists. Connor Sexton had 14 saves in goal and Joey Dittmar had 10 saves.
– Scott Hennen