Notebook: Familiarity makes transition easy for Westerville North girls soccer coach

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Allison Bolen and the Westerville North girls soccer team were 7-4-1 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Capital Division after defeating Big Walnut 5-2 on Oct. 1. “Our organization and our ball movement as a team has been good. We need to work on our defensive effort,” first-year coach Jason McLead.

Jason McLead said the transition has been smooth in his first season as coach of the Westerville North girls soccer program.

The Warriors were 7-4-1 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Capital Division after defeating Big Walnut 5-2 on Oct. 1

“It’s been a very good transition,” said McLead, an assistant with the Olentangy Orange boys program before taking over when Ricky Konkolewski departed after two seasons to become the boys coach at Olentangy Liberty. “It helps that I’ve been an assistant for eight of the last nine years and I’ve taught here for six years.

“I knew the girls and all of the other things that you need to know coming in, like where we train, where the equipment is and what’s available. The transition has been very smooth.”

The Warriors lost 2-1 to Orange on Sept. 24 in a battle of Division I district champions from last fall. Sophomore forward Melania Szawranskyj scored in a game McLead said made the team better.

“We played well against a tough Olentangy Orange team, but we gave it as good as we got,” he said. “Our organization and our ball movement as a team has been good. We need to work on our defensive effort.”

Through 11 games, senior midfielder Makayla Parry led the Warriors with 12 goals and four assists. Junior forward Chloe Robertson had 10 goals and four assists, and freshman forward Josie Gruber had one goal and six assists. 

Senior Maggie Moc and sophomore Gaby Mercurio had combined to allow just 1.3 goals per game.

•Kori McClure has been the top hitter for the North girls volleyball team, which was 2-8 overall and 2-6 in the OCC-Capital after losing 25-15, 25-22, 24-26, 25-23 to  Westerville South on Oct. 1. 

Before the South match, the senior right-side hitter/setter had a team-high 47 kills to go with 59 digs and 48 assists. Senior setter Addy Moore led with 96 assists, and senior defensive specialist Catherine Moore had a team leading 77 digs. Junior middle hitter Grace Link led with six blocks and had 30 kills, and sophomore Savana Gurr totaled 30 kills and eight aces.

—Scott Hennen

•The South girls soccer team is showing improvement under first-year coach Jeremy Watson.

The Wildcats were 3-9 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Capital before playing Canal Winchester on Oct. 1. South defeated Licking Heights 1-0 on Sept. 19, Whitehall 7-0 on Sept. 12 and Westland 7-0 on Sept. 10.

Ellise Riggs scored six goals against Westland.

“The girls have shown progress this year,” Watson said. “They’ve shown their youth in several games, but these have been used as teaching moments, as they’re beginning to understand what it takes to win at the highest level.”

—Frank DiRenna

•The South girls volleyball team enters the latter stages of the regular season looking to prepare for the Division I district tournament, which begins Oct. 19.

The Wildcats were 5-8 overall and 1-6 in the OCC-Capital after defeating Westerville North 25-15, 25-22, 24-26, 25-23 on Oct. 1.

South also defeated Westland 23-25, 25-18, 26-24, 25-23 on Sept. 29 to snap a three-match losing streak.

—Frank DiRenna

•The Central girls tennis team is preparing for a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 10, at Hilliard Davidson.

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

The Warhawks, who were 13-7 overall before playing Dublin Scioto on Oct. 1, lost to Olentangy Orange 4-1 on Sept. 30 and Columbus School for Girls 4-1 on Sept. 29.

Kaylie Gibson and Reese Muhlenkamp won 6-4, 6-4 at second doubles against Orange, and Lauren Muniu won 7-5, 6-3 at third singles against CSG.

—Frank DiRenna

•The Central boys and girls cross country teams competed in the Celtic Clash on Sept. 26 at Dublin Jerome.

The boys finished eighth (174) of 15 teams behind champion Hilliard Davidson (51).

Haden Fulkerson was eighth (15 minutes, 56.77 seconds) and Chip Smith (15:57.53) was ninth of 146 runners to lead the Warhawks.

The girls finished seventh (181) of 15 teams behind champion Davidson (57).

Tara Will was 10th (19:24.49) of 140 runners to lead Central.

—Frank DiRenna

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