The Big Walnut High School boys soccer team continues to adjust to the new system installed by first-year coach Tim Poitinger.
The Golden Eagles were 7-3-1 overall after playing Marysville to a scoreless tie Sept. 26.
"It's still not there yet," Poitinger said. "We'll make some improvement, but then we'll have a setback."
Big Walnut lost to New Albany 4-2 on Sept. 24 in the annual battle for the Eagle Cup to drop to 2-3 in the OCC-Capital Division.
The Golden Eagles had won the previous eight meetings, including two in the postseason, and were 13-1-2 against New Albany in the previous 16 matchups. New Albany's only win during that stretch came in 2006, when it beat the Golden Eagles 2-1. Before that contest, New Albany's previous win in the series was in 1998.
"It's New Albany's best team in 10 years, easily," Poitinger said. "I know a lot of their players well because I've coached them in club. They're one of the best teams we've seen this year."
Senior midfielder Nathan Mickley and senior defender Dominic Zumpone each scored against New Albany and senior goalkeeper Tyler Sholl had 10 saves.
"We worked hard at it," Poitinger said. "We just couldn't match up man-to-man all over the field."
Big Walnut's final two OCC-Capital games will be played Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Olentangy Orange and Oct. 8 at home against Franklin Heights.
"We should finish fourth (in the league), somewhere around there," Poitinger said. "It's hard for Big Walnut to run against some of the big, Division I OCC schools. When you're Division II, it's tough. I figured it would be Kilbourne and Orange and New Albany right there for the championship and I think that's how it will play out."
Poitinger doesn't completely dismiss the notion that playing Division I opponents can help a Division II program like his in the postseason, but he would prefer having a balanced schedule.
The drawing for the Division II district tournament will be held Oct. 6. The tournament begins Oct. 15.
"We've played almost no Division II teams," Poitinger said. "The Division II style of play is different. We'll see how it plays out. I wish we had a few strong Division II teams on the schedule, but we're hopeful (about the postseason)."
Girls soccer team 'on the right path'
The girls soccer team has been inconsistent for much of the season, but first-year coach Drew Pitzer believes progress is being made.
Big Walnut was 6-4-2 overall after beating Buckeye Valley 5-0 on Sept. 26.
"We've had some ups and downs," Pitzer said. "It's been a little bit of a rollercoaster these past few weeks. We had some good games (but) then we hit a bit of a slump where we couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. But we (have) rededicated ourselves as a team and we're on the right path."
Pitzer views a 7-0 road win over Marion Harding on Sept. 14 as being a pivotal moment in the season.
"Anytime you have an away game and you're able to come out with a win, especially a quality win like that, it definitely gets you (going) in the right direction," he said. "It gave the girls the opportunity to find the net and build that desire to score more goals going forward."
Big Walnut fell to 1-3-1 in the OCC-Capital with a 2-1 loss to New Albany on Sept. 24.
The Golden Eagles conclude league play Tuesday, Oct. 1, at home against Orange. They then travel to Franklin Heights on Thursday, Oct. 3.
Although a member of the OCC-Capital, Franklin Heights is not playing a league schedule for the third year in a row.
"We're not happy with where we stand in the conference," Pitzer said. "We really took ourselves out of the running. We have one of the toughest OCC divisions and you really have to find a way to get victories."
Through seven games, senior forward Sklyar Fleak had a team-high six goals and senior midfielder Bailey Armstrong, freshman midfielder Madison Aleshire, sophomore forward Anna Mackey, junior midfielder Abby Tabor and junior defender/midfielder Jennie Wenger each had two.
Girls tennis team prepares for sectional
The girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Upper Arlington.
Playing singles for the Golden Eagles are seniors Caroline Ford and Bella Goodrich and junior Erika Kessler. In doubles, seniors Bailey Sewalk and Blake Stenger form one pairing and seniors Janie Serna and Alex Berger form the other.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
Football team getting set for Kilbourne
The football team is preparing to play host to Worthington Kilbourne in an OCC-Capital contest Friday, Oct. 4.
Big Walnut was 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the league before playing Delaware Hayes on Sept. 27. The Golden Eagles opened league play with a 25-19 loss to host Olentangy on Sept. 20, marking the first time they have started 0-4 since 1980.
Kilbourne moved into the OCC-Capital this season after being in the OCC-Cardinal last year. The Wolves opened OCC-Capital play with a 42-7 win over Delaware on Sept. 20 and were 3-1 overall before playing Mount Vernon on Sept. 27.
Big Walnut took a 6-0 lead against Olentangy in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by running back Tyler Martin. The Golden Eagles maintained that lead through the second quarter, which included a 90-minute delay because of thunderstorms.
Olentangy outscored Big Walnut 22-13 in the third quarter to take a 22-19 lead and closed the scoring with a field goal in the fourth quarter. The Braves were 4-0 overall before playing Orange on Sept. 27.
Quarterback Jordan Wall led the Golden Eagles, completing 16 of 22 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown and scoring on a 65-yard run.