Even when the Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer team struggled to a 3-3 start, a lack of effort was never a problem.


Even when the Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer team struggled to a 3-3 start, a lack of effort was never a problem.

On the contrary, coach Steve Watts noticed that in tight games his players began pressing and trying to do too much as individuals.

Therefore, Watts has been emphasizing teamwork in practices for the past three weeks and he has noticed a gradual improvement.

After tying Thomas Worthington at 2 on Sept. 15 and losing to Jerome 3-2 on Sept. 17, the Shamrocks won consecutive games for the first time this season, beating Hilliard Darby 3-2 on Sept. 22 and Westerville North 1-0 last Saturday.

"Our players are very talented and they're used to being on successful teams, and when we were faced with adversity early in the season, some of them would quit playing team soccer and try to win games individually," Watts said. "They would try to make perfect passes or beat a bunch of defenders by themselves and they ended up turningthe ball over. But in the last couple of weeks we've been getting our guys to be patient, make simple plays and possess the ball. Over our last (four) games there's been some considerable improvement. We're still not where we need to be, but we're getting there."

In recent games, the Shamrocks have had possession for more than half thecontest and have generated several quality scoring chances.

Through 10 games, Carl Ruf and Ryan Snashall both had four goals, Mitch Rudibaugh had three and Derek Molzahn had two.

"Ryan Snashall is usually the most dangerous player on the field for either team," Watts said. "He's one of our leading scorers and he's not even capitalizing on most of his opportunities yet. Carl Ruf is scoring more than we anticipated and Alex Nafziger has been a nice surprise on defense after playing on our junior varsity team as a junior last year."

The Shamrocks were bolstered last Saturday by the return of sophomore midfielder Zak Leedom, who missed the first eight games with an injury.

"We've been really good in the midfield the last (four) games and Zak will only make us stronger there," Watts said. "Peter Ehrefried, CarlRuf, Michael Vieth, Mitch Rudibaugh and Jose Diaz have been really strong in the midfield."

The Shamrocks will play Saturday at Crew Stadium againstLakewood St. Edward before playing host Tuesday to Worthington Kilbourne.

St. Edward was 2-3-2 heading into games last Monday against Mentor Lake Catholic and last Wednesday against Lakewood.

Kilbourne was 1-4-5 heading intoa game last Tuesday at Gahanna.

"The guys are excited to play in such a great facilityon Saturday," Watts said. "(St. Edward) and Worthington Kilbourne are both in the same boatas us, in that they haven't played to their potential the whole season, but they're both dangerous opponents.Worthington Kilbourne beat DeSales (1-0 on Sept. 17) -- the top-ranked Division II team in the state -- so itshows thatanything could happen. The tournament seeding is Oct. 11, so wewant to win these games to see if we can improve our ranking."

•The girls team will play host today to Pickerington North.

The Panthers -- who were 8-1-1 before playing last Tuesday at Lancaster -- were ranked eighth in the state poll andsecond in the area coaches poll behind Upper Arlington and ahead of ninth-place Coffman a week ago.

The Shamrocks beat North 2-1 last year.

Coffman lost to No. 3 state-ranked Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 4-1 on Sept. 19, but rebounded to defeat Carmel (Ind.) 2-1 last Saturday.

"Pickerington North is always a tough game, but we really want to beat them to prove that we're a better team than the rankings say," senior midfielder Jill Allen said. "Carmel is still one of the top teams in Indiana so a win over them gives us confidence that we're improving and we can compete with anybody."

Withsweeper Olivia Evans, stopper Kenzie Schlemitz and outside-fullbacksHannah May and Michelle Salvatore leadingthe way, Coffman gave up only nine goals in its first 11 games.

"Our back line hasn't given up many scoring chances and our goalkeepers (Jessie George and Cassie Lawrence) haven't given up many goals," Evans said. "We're starting to score more, too. We're trying to give the ball to Ashley Stratton more because she's real quick and she creates a lotof chances. Jill Allen, Bailey Wilson and Amber Kern are doing a good job of finishing on corners, too."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Coffman boys and girls soccer teams:

BOYS

*Sept. 15 --Tied Thomas Worthington at 2 Sept. 17 -- Lost to Jerome 3-2.Mitch Rudibaugh andDerek Molzahn scored. *Sept. 19 -- Defeated Hilliard Darby 3-2. Carl Ruf scored twice andRay Gans also scored. Last Saturday -- Def. Westerville North 1-0. Rudibaugh scored. Alex Pang had four saves. *Last Tuesday -- Played Hilliard Davidson Saturday -- At Crew Stadium vs. Lakewood St. Edward *Tuesday -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

Of note: The Shamrocks were 5-4-1 overall and 1-0-1 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

*Sept. 15 -- Defeated Thomas Worthington 5-1. Bailey Wilson scored twice. Talia Tullis,Grace Filler and Allison Herold also scored. Sept. 17 -- Lost to Jerome 1-0 Sept. 19 -- Lost to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 4-1. Amber Kern scored. *Sept.22 -- Def. Hilliard Darby 4-1. Tullis scored twice. Filler andAlyssa Amato also scored once. Last Saturday -- Def. Carmel (Ind.) 2-1. Jill Allen and Kenzie Schlemitz scored. Cassie Lawrence had two saves. *Last Tuesday -- Played Hilliard Davidson Today -- Home vs. Pickerington North *Tuesday -- At Worthington Kilbourne

Of note: The Shamrocks were 6-3-2 overall and 1-0 in the OCC before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game