Pickerington North Roundup: Tyler Reitano brings 'grit' to boys soccer team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Tyler Reitano (right) has been a key player for the North boys soccer team this season, becoming the offensive linchpin in the midfield. He had seven goals before the Panthers played Olentangy Liberty in a Division I district final Oct. 31.

Some of what Tyler Reitano has meant to the Pickerington North boys soccer team was evident on a corner kick early in the second half of a Division I district tournament second-round game against Canal Winchester on Oct. 22.

Reitano, a senior midfielder, served the ball to the top of the box, where teammate Cam Stanzione was ready and punched the ball into the net for a goal that made it 2-0 on the way to a 3-0 win.

It was a play Reitano and coach Darrin Monhollen said the team had worked on earlier in the week, one to which Reitano, an Ohio Dominican commit, was key.

“We kept up a couple defenders up with (me), so we have a little more space in the box to find a big guy like Cam,” Reitano said.

As one of two full-time returning starters, Reitano’s role evolved this year from role player to offensive linchpin in the midfield. He had seven goals as the fourth-seeded Panthers were 15-2-1 before playing third-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a Division I district final Oct. 31.

“He plays hard. He’s been playing all year on a (right) knee that’s difficult, so we try to limit his minutes when we can. We’d limit them more but we can’t seem to do without him because he plays with a lot of grit,” Monhollen said. “He is a change-of-pace guy. He does some things atypical of an average player in regards to moving around the ball and letting the ball go through.”

North started 10-0-1 and recorded a program-record 12 shutouts through 18 games while outscoring its opponents 66-11, but Reitano acknowledged that success came with a few growing pains working in several players who previously had played club soccer instead of high school.

The only other returning starter was defender Donovan Williams.

“It was hectic and a little different but as we got to come together, a few players came in the middle with me like Jacob (Henry) and Alex (Watros) and they help a lot holding the defense while I need to go play more offense,” Reitano said.

Uche Odemena had a team-leading 14 goals through 18 games. Nico Briones had 10 and Ethan Yurko had eight.

“It’s difficult to play against us because we have a lot of options of people who can score and we play unselfishly,” Monhollen said. “Sometimes when we get into trouble, we try to play more individually and take the team on their backs too much. I remind them it’s either we die as individuals or succeed with teamwork.”

The North-Liberty winner advanced to a regional semifinal at New Albany or Upper Arlington on Nov. 4, and that winner will face Dublin Jerome, Olentangy Berlin, Thomas Worthington or Westerville Central in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 7.

State semifinals are Wednesday, Nov. 11, and the final is Nov. 14.

However long the season goes, Reitano will take a special pride in his role.

“This year, I guess I have a more impactful role,” he said. “I like to have a little pressure on me.”

Nick Whitehead was the lone member of the North boys cross country team to advance to the Division I regional meet, which was held Oct. 31 on the Panthers' home course.

Girls runners place

third in district meet

The girls cross country team finished third with 130 points in the Division I, district 2 meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby, bringing some momentum into the regional meet Oct. 31 on its home course.

Emma Rittman was ninth (19 minutes, 36.8 seconds) to lead the Panthers, followed by Ashley Khatib (16th, 19:51.3), Maya Roes (26th, 20:20.6), Emily Harness (31st, 20:27.5) and Gia Wetherell (48th, 20:53.2).

Dublin Coffman (55) won as 17 teams scored. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced to regional.

Although the boys team fell one spot short of its fifth consecutive regional berth, the Panthers were represented by Nick Whitehead. He placed fifth (16:14.7) in district 1 to earn an individual berth and his third overall to regional as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.

North finished sixth (122) behind champion Hilliard Davidson (27) as 14 teams scored.

Also scoring for the Panthers were Justin Schumacher (24th, 17:08.3), Ian Ricker (27th, 17:11.6), Aidan Eberhardt (33rd, 17:33.7) and Isaac Glanzman (36th, 17:43.9).

Volleyball team

falls in semifinal

Despite hanging close for almost the entire match, the girls volleyball team fell to host, sixth-seeded and defending Division I state champion DeSales 25-20, 25-17, 25-17 in a district semifinal Oct. 27.

The Panthers were within 14-13 in the third game before the Stallions pulled away with a 5-0 run and led by no fewer than four points the rest of the way.

North, which was seeded 16th, finished 13-10.

“We struggled a little in serve-receive and that of course put us out of system, then we really had a hard time executing anything offensively to put them out of system,” coach April Boudreau said. “Overall, we could have performed better (Oct. 27), but at least we went out with a fight. They’re experienced, too, at going to a higher level and they have that confidence that our kids might lack a little bit, especially after the season we had with some ups and downs.”

An array of injuries, including one that cost senior outside hitter Lauren Greegor more than half her season, hampered North throughout the year.

“That can put you out of system,” Boudreau said. “I think we had four (matches) at the end of the season with our original lineup and Lauren being back, so that was some adversity we had to deal with.”

Senior middle hitter Lilian Muszynzki led North in kills through 22 matches with 267 and blocks with 82. Senior setter Brooke Norwood led the team in digs (256) and assists (614).

Sophomore libero/outside hitter Kyleigh Bryant had 109 kills, 217 digs and a team-leading 35 aces through 22 matches.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Record: 13-10 overall

OCC-Ohio standings: Westerville Central (8-1), Gahanna (5-1), Pickerington North (7-2), Grove City (4-5), New Albany (2-7), Westland (0-10)

Seniors lost: Jordan Gerritsen, Lauren Greegor, Anna Martin, Lilian Muszynski, Brooke Norwood and Emily Piekenbrock

Key returnee: Kyleigh Bryant

Postseason: Defeated Chillicothe 25-5, 25-20, 25-7; lost to DeSales 25-20, 25-17, 25-17 in Division I district semifinal