The Canal Winchester High School boys soccer team doesn't appear to have a go-to player it can count on whenever it needs a goal, but many players have been chipping in offensively.
Through four games, nine players had at least one goal for the Indians, who were 2-0-3 after playing St. Charles to a 1-all tie on Aug. 29.
Forward Luciano Thaboune and midfielder Jamie Robson each had three goals and forwards Bailey Butler and Tristan Daniels each had two.
"We've had balanced scoring and I want to keep that up because we don't really have that one guy who can take over a game on a consistent basis," coach Erik Feinstein said. "We do have a lot of good players and I'd like to see everyone continue to contribute to our scoring because that makes us a tougher team to defend and a better team overall."
Feinstein also has been pleased with his team's defensive play. The Indians allowed only five goals through five games, earning shutout victories over Groveport (8-0 on Aug. 20) and Pickerington Central (2-0 on Aug. 22).
"Our defense has been solid," Feinstein said. "Daltyn Colley has been really standing out and is leading us in the back. Kyler Splunge, Zach Barwick and Jamie Robson have played well in the midfield, too."
Canal Winchester squandered a 2-0 lead in its opener Aug. 17 and had to settle for a 2-all tie against visiting Teays Valley, but the Indians rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to tie visiting Westerville South at 2 on Aug. 27 in its first OCC-Cardinal contest.
Thaboune and Splunge each scored against South. Thaboune had two other prime scoring chances in the second half against the Wildcats, but one shot bounced off the crossbar and the other was stopped by a South defender along the goal-line.
"We played really well in our first two wins of the season, too, but Westerville South was our best showing because we faced adversity against a good opponent and still came back to tie them," Feinstein said. "We had some good chances to win the game late, and that game shows that we can play with anyone when our kids give that kind of effort."
The Indians will play host to defending league champion Hilliard Darby on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The Panthers finished 15-2-2 last year, but returned only three starters in forward Ryan Kasprzak, defender Alex Keller and midfielder Brian Lee. Last season, Lee was second-team all-league and Kasprzak was honorable mention all-league.
Darby lost to Westerville North 2-0 on Aug. 27 to drop to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
"I've seen that Hilliard Darby has lost a couple of games early, but they are the defending champion in our league, so this will be a big one for us because they're a team we have to beat to reach our goal of winning the OCC," Feinstein said. "I've been pleased with how we've played overall, but we've got to finish more of our chances because we're creating a lot of opportunities. One thing I want to see is for us to switch the field and attack faster."
Tennis team wins first OCC match
The girls tennis team went 2-1 in its first three OCC-Cardinal matches, beating Westerville South 3-2 on Aug. 20, losing to Westerville Central 5-0 on Aug. 27 and beating Westerville North 3-2 on Aug. 29.
Coach Jason Moisey said those results have given his squad confidence heading into league matches Thursday, Sept. 5, at Dublin Scioto and Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Hilliard Bradley.
"We always competed in the MSL(-Buckeye) before moving to the OCC this season, so I'm not too familiar with any of the teams in our new league," said Moisey, whose team was 3-2 overall before playing Westerville North in a league match Aug. 29. "We're just learning as we go. But I did know that the OCC is a higher level of competition across the board, so I've been a little surprised with how competitive we've been early on.
"We were pretty competitive with Westerville Central even though we didn't win a court against them, so I'm anticipating that we're not going to get blown out when we play the rest of our OCC matches."
Against South, Madeline Niceswanger won at first singles and Taylor Ramsey won at second singles, setting up a scenario in which the outcome at second doubles would decide the match.
With all eyes on their second- doubles match, freshmen Athena Theumathalaray and Kamala Sweeney rallied for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory to give the Indians the win.
"Athena and Kamala handled the pressure really well and pulled off the biggest win of their young careers," Moisey said. "It looked like they were going to lose the match after the way they played in the first set, but they came back from being down 2-1 to win the second set and the momentum shifted their way. That was an exciting win for our team."
In the Teays Valley Invitational on Aug. 24, Nice-swanger went 3-0 to place first at first singles, beating Hartley's Madeleine McDonald 8-6 in the final, and Ramsey went 2-1 to place second at second singles.
"Madeline's been our most consistent player and she beat a very good player from Hartley in the final," Moisey said. "Taylor's improved a lot and she's playing well at No. 2 singles."
Football team ready to take on Pacers
The football team will play host to Delaware on Friday, Sept. 6.
Canal Winchester, which opened Aug. 30 against Olentangy, beat the Pacers 42-23 last year.
Delaware, which opened Aug. 30 against Buckeye Valley, returns 25 letterwinners from last season, when it finished 3-7.
The Indians' 3-5 defense, led by four returning starters in free safety Khari Golden, cornerback William Totten and linebackers Lamont Martin and Skyler Scott, will face the Pacers' multiple-set offense, which includes nine returning starters.
Jante' Wright, who had 50 receptions and scored nine touchdowns last year to earn second-team all-OCC-Capital honors, has moved from wide receiver to quarterback this season.
Among Wright's targets is wide receiver Caleb Howell, who had 42 receptions last year.
Other key players on offense for the Pacers are running backs Theoun Sorn and Anthony Hinton, fullback Cody Wooten and 6-foot-4 guard Collin Wittig, a Division II college recruit.
Canal Winchester's spread offense features three returning starters in quarterback Zach Bontempo, who started at wide receiver last season, and wide receivers Skyler Scott and Jalen Smith.
Leading Delaware's 4-4 defense, which returns 10 starters, are linebackers Shawn Johnson and Ethan Tucky and lineman Lamar Rhymes.