Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Boys soccer team taking momentum into tournament
As the Whitehall-Yearling boys soccer program makes strides, coach Geral Leka is hoping it can continue that upward trend in the Division I district tournament.
The Rams closed the regular season with a 4-0 win over visiting Buckeye Valley on Oct. 14, improving to 9-2 overall and finishing 4-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division.
Worthington Christian won the league title at 5-1, with its only loss coming against Whitehall 3-1 on Oct. 3.
Grandview was 3-2 and Columbus Academy was 2-1-2 in the league before meeting Oct. 15.
“It’s a very competitive league,” Leka said. “There’s seven teams. There’s been a few surprise results. …There’s no second-place trophy, but when you put things in context, it would be a major step forward for the program. It solidifies our progression over the year. We want momentum going into the tournament.”
Another highlight was beating Bexley 1-0 on Oct. 10, as Yared Yesuf scored and goalie Edwin Gutierrez had four saves.
“That win means a lot,” Yesuf said. “Since my freshman year, we’ve been trying to beat them. We tied them last year and that’s it. We’ve been working hard at this to beat them. They’re our rivals.”
Before a scoreless tie last season, Bexley had won the previous 16 meetings with the Rams since 2003 — outscoring Whitehall 94-7 over that span.
Whitehall is seeded 20th of 41 teams in the district tournament and will visit 15th-seeded Westerville North in the second round Thursday, Oct. 22. Both teams had a first-round bye.
“Westerville North is a good team, but this year we feel confident against any team due to our senior leadership, our style of defense and our attack that’s always come through for us in key moments,” Leka said. “We’re excited for tournament play big-time.”
The winner plays fifth-seeded Olentangy Berlin, 23rd-seeded Reynoldsburg or 28th-seeded Mount Vernon in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the home field of the higher seed.
Girls soccer, volleyball
teams eye postseason
The girls soccer and girls volleyball teams also are preparing for the postseason.
The girls soccer team was 0-9 overall and 0-6 in the league before playing Bexley on Oct. 14.
Whitehall is seeded 15th of 15 teams in the Division II district tournament and will visit fifth-seeded Hartley in the opening round Saturday, Oct. 24. The winner plays fourth-seeded Bloom-Carroll or 14th-seeded Lakewood in a semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“We’re making steady progress in ball control, movement and passing,” coach Tim Darling said. “The improvement has been steady and noticeable each game. We’re just focusing on constant improvement.”
The girls volleyball team was 1-11 overall and 0-10 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Buckeye Valley on Oct. 15. The Rams closed the regular season Oct. 19 against Cristo Rey.
Whitehall was seeded 16th of 16 teams in the Division II district tournament and played fifth-seeded Granville in the opening round Oct. 21. The winner plays fourth-seeded Caledonia River Valley or sixth-seeded Hamilton Township in a semifinal Oct. 28.
Girls tennis team
The girls tennis team closed the season by competing in a Division I sectional Oct. 8 at Upper Arlington.
Sophomore Alicia Pulido and freshman Braelyn Crouch-Swords went 1-1 in doubles to lead the Rams.
Senior Shaye Parsley and juniors Leslie Gonzalez and Paris Bedell went 0-1 in singles, and seniors Aayona Austin and Anna von Dolln went 0-1 in doubles
The Rams finished 0-10 overall and went 0-7 in the MSL-Ohio.
“Even though we don’t have the record to prove it, compared to last year, this year we really put in a lot of skills,” coach Anthony Paletta said. “I’m really proud of the girls. They’re really starting to understand the game. They’re really more into it, more competitive. Hopefully next year we’ll get some wins. …I’m more excited than I was last year.”
•Record: 0-10 overall
•MSL-Ohio standings: Columbus Academy (41, 7-0), Wellington (35, 6-1), Worthington Christian (26, 5-2), Bexley (24, 4-3), Columbus School for Girls (21, 3-4), Buckeye Valley (11, 2-5), Grandview (8, 1-6), Whitehall (0, 0-7)
•Seniors lost: Aayona Austin, Shaye Parsley and Anna von Dolln
•Key returnees: Paris Bedell, Leslie Gonzalez and Alicia Pulido