Scioto girls seek boost in offense
The Dublin Scioto High School girls soccer team planned to work on fundamentals during practice this week.
After scoring two goals in their first three games, finishing at the offensive end was going to be the Irish's focus.
"We lost some good players last year to graduation, but we have a lot of starters back," first-year assistant coach Haley Rinas said. "We have to practice on finishing the ball. We're playing too much defense right now. We just have to try to find an open forward and get some more shots on goal. We've been working on it and hopefully it will come."
Scioto hopes the return of senior midfielder Elise Jones improves the offense.
Jones missed the Aug. 23 opener against Pickerington North, a 2-0 loss, after suffering a concussion during a club game.
Jones returned against Westerville Central on Aug. 28 and scored the Irish's goal in a 1-all tie. It was the OCC-Cardinal Division opener for both teams.
On Sept. 1, Jones scored 1 minute, 21 seconds into a game against Toledo Notre Dame Academy. However, Kassidy Rejent scored with 3:03 left in the second half as the teams tied at 1.
Scioto sophomore goalkeeper Mikhaylan Price made six saves.
"We hustle and work hard, but we just need to score more goals (and) finish our opportunities," Jones said. "We can't let teams come back at the end."
Scioto visits Westerville South on Tuesday, Sept. 11, to face a Wildcats team also struggling on offense.
Before playing Hilliard Bradley on Sept. 4, South had scored two goals in its previous three games: losses to New Albany (1-0 on Aug. 23), Worthington Kilbourne (4-0 on Aug. 28) and Grove City (5-2 on Sept. 1).
The Wildcats opened the season with a 5-0 win over Reynoldsburg on Aug. 21.
"It's kind of disappointing, but it's a long season," Jones said of her team's start. "Hopefully, we can come back."
Scioto boys look to gain experience
After winning the OCC-Cardinal title last season and earning the top seed for the Division I district tournament, boys coach Chad Snider realized his team would face some rebuilding after losing 11 players to graduation.
Scioto was 0-3-1 before it played Westerville North on Sept. 4, but Snider believes the Irish will improve.
"We've had two issues," Snider said. "One is just mistakes in the back. Simple stuff like the first ball out of the back, which has given the other teams opportunities and that's when they've scored on us. The other is finishing. Our guys are still young. I don't think they have the confidence to hit a shot, so they're looking for (Jack) Shirley and Taylor (Dyson) instead of taking the shot when they have a chance."
Shirley, a junior midfielder, scored on a penalty kick in the second half of a 1-all tie against Westerville Central on Aug. 28.
"We controlled the whole second half and put them on their heels," Snider said.
Scioto lost to Pickerington North 3-0 on Aug. 30.
"I'm not happy that we're not winning our games, but I'm hopeful because it's such a young team," senior midfielder Mohammed Mohammed said. "As soon as we just cut out some little mistakes and get those out of our system, we're going to be a solid team. We have a lot of talent."
The Irish play host to Olentangy Liberty on Thursday, Sept. 6, and Westerville South on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Last season, Scioto defeated Liberty 2-0 and South 2-1 on its way to a 16-0 regular season and the OCC-Cardinal title at 7-0.
Liberty advanced to the Division I state final, losing to Cleveland St. Ignatius 4-2.
"Everyone said last year that this year would be Liberty's year, and they went to the state last year," Snider said. "If you look at the Central District, you have Liberty and then everyone else is a couple notches down below them."
Snider said the play of senior goalie Josh Ashwill has been a key in helping keep the Irish competitive.
"Josh has been lights out," Snider said. "For what we've put him under, especially against (Huber Heights) Wayne (3-0 loss on Aug. 25), he's the real deal."
Ashwill had 32 saves in the first four games.