After a 12-3-4 season last fall, what can the Granville Christian soccer team do for an encore?
Plenty, according to second-year head coach Dave Geiss.
"We think we have a better squad than last year," said Geiss. "We're coming off last year with a lot of confidence."
The Lions won an OHSAA tournament game, before losing to Bloom-Carroll, and were seeded 11th in the Central District in Division III. "We would love to go three or four deep in the tournament this year," Geiss said.
Granville Christian, which opened its season with a 12-0 rout of Liberty Christian before a large crowd at Evans Athletic Complex and then drubbed Patriot Prep 12-0, plays several public schools in addition to Christian schools.
Getting ready for this season, GCA has scrimmaged Mansfield Senior, Ontario, Oberlin Firelands, Heath and the Granville jayvees.
Last year, the Lions beat Newark, Licking Heights and Rosecrans in the regular season, while tying with Fisher Catholic and Lakewood. This year, GCA faces Liberty Union, Rosecrans, Newark, Licking Heights and Lakewood.
"It's fun to beat some of these teams," Geiss said.
The Lions graduated four seniors, but have three back this year along with several talented younger players.
Captains this year are senior Shannon Wilcox and juniors Tessy Geiss, Caleb Patton and Ben Wittel. Tessy Geiss is one of five girls on the team, two of which start in Geiss (center fullback) and talented sophomore Abi Rose (center midfield).
"Our girls are unafraid; they're very skilled and smart," coach Geiss said. "Some teams take us for granted, then about 10 minutes in, they realize they're up against a quality team."
Center-midfield is a strength with Wilcox, Patton, Rose and sophomore Jeff Yohman.
"Jeffrey controls the tempo of the game for us," coach Geiss said. "He's sort of our quarterback. Our ball control is really good. We're able to run a set, and get set up for scoring."
Another key player for the Lions is sophomore Reed Haga, who can play either left or right wing. Junior Luke Roberts is solid in goal.
"We have seven kids playing select soccer," Geiss said. "We have a good group of people who have played together for a long time."