Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Girls soccer team building toward future

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Westerville South's Alena Keenan and Whitehall's Abril Garcia (right) fight for the ball during their game Sept. 12 at Whitehall.

Moments into his team’s game against visiting Wellington on Sept. 23, Whitehall-Yearling girls soccer coach Tim Darling turned to assistant coach Ron Revadelo and praised the Rams’ hustle. 

It’s those positive moments on which Darling is hoping to build in his first season. 

“That was a great sign,” said Darling, whose team had only 11 players available. 

“We have a small team. It’s difficult, but I’m so proud of the girls. They didn’t give up. They listen to me. They move around (and) hustle.” 

The Rams trailed 3-0 at halftime before allowing five second-half goals in an 8-0 loss, falling to 0-6 overall and 0-5 in the MSL-Ohio Division. 

The Rams close league play Saturday, Oct. 3, at Bexley and Wednesday, Oct. 7, against visiting Zanesville Rosecrans. 

Whitehall had scored two goals through six games, one each from Brooklynn Greer and Ry’Yair Smith. 

Dalia Matute and Abril Garcia have split time in goal, with Matute starting against Wellington. 

“Dalia is an amazing keeper,” Darling said. “She doesn’t like to play it. Abril wasn’t able to come (Sept. 23). She’s normally our keeper, but Dalia played really well. She hustles, gets out there. I’m really proud of her. She’s a captain for a reason.” 

Sophomore Autumn Coulson, who also plays at the club level, is in her first season with the Rams. She gives the team stability in the midfield, according to Darling. 

“I’m enjoying myself,” Coulson said. “There’s some stuff we need to work on, but I’m just really impressed by this game (against Wellington). I think we played well. We were really aggressive and we also had a few good passes up the middle. We had good chances.” 

Darling hopes the addition of a co-ed program at Rosemore Middle School will help the development of the girls and boys programs at the high school level. 

The middle school team opened its season by beating Newark 1-0 on Sept. 23 before the girls game against Wellington. 

“We are so excited for that,” Darling said. “We’re really looking forward to having something to build upon. The last few years it’s been girls stepping up who really haven’t played before. They haven’t had the opportunity to. Hopefully it’s a stepping stone in the right direction.” 

Darling and Maria Shipe entered the preseason sharing head-coaching duties, but Shipe has stepped down for the second time because of work commitments. She coached the team a year ago before resigning then agreed to return in the offseason, but stepped down again just before the start of the season. 

“It’s been a challenge, but the girls have helped out significantly,” Darling said. “There’s some good leadership out there. They communicate. I really try to lean on them when they’re out on the field telling people where to move. It’s been good.” 

Boys soccer team 

drops tight contest 

The boys soccer team lost 1-0 at Columbus Academy on Sept. 23, as the Vikings scored the only goal on a penalty kick. 

Goalie Edwin Gutierrez had three saves. 

The Rams fell to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the MSL-Ohio. 

“We created some good chances during the last 20 minutes, but were unfortunate not to score,” coach Geral Leka said. “Good takeaways from the game were freshman Biniyam Beyene stepping in at center midfield and providing (a) good contribution and Jefferson Martinez sparking the offense by moving him up to attacking (midfielder). We will get back to the drawing board.” 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekFrank