Schedule challenging Coffman boys
Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer coach Steve Watts believes a challenging schedule during the regular season only can help his team in the postseason.
Consequently, he hopes that's the case for the Shamrocks this fall.
"You want to play the best in the area to see where you stand and see what you still need to work on," Watts said. "We want to play the best teams. I don't like patsy games, pancake games, so I try to challenge the guys so we're ready to go come October."
The Shamrocks were 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Central Crossing on Sept. 17.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, they'll play a road game against a Gahanna team that was ranked third in last week's Division I state poll behind top-ranked Beavercreek and Whitehouse Anthony Wayne.
Coffman beat Gahanna 2-1 in a regional semifinal last season.
Gahanna, which was 5-0-3 before playing Lancaster on Sept. 17, played Jerome to a scoreless tie Sept. 12.
Coffman also visits Jerome on Thursday, Sept. 19.
"The Jerome game, these guys grow up playing against each other," Watts said. "Gahanna, the last few years it's been meeting them in district finals, regional games. They're No. 1 in the area, so those are definitely two games we circle on the calendar."
The Shamrocks defeated the Celtics 2-0 last season, but Jerome leads the all-time series 4-3-1. The Celtics' last win was 3-2 in 2009.
The teams have met three times during the postseason. Coffman won 1-0 in a district final in 2007, and Jerome won 3-0 in the second round of district in 2006 and 3-2 in a regional semifinal in 2008.
Coffman will play host to defending state champion Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 1 in a game Watts believes is crucial to his team's league title hopes.
The Patriots were eighth in last week's state poll. Liberty was 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Westland on Sept. 17, with its loss coming against Gahanna 1-0 in its opener Aug. 24.
Coffman has been eliminated by Liberty in the last three postseasons, including by 3-1 scores in the last two regional finals.
The Patriots defeated the Shamrocks 6-0 in the regular season last year on their way to the OCC-Central title at 6-1, ahead of second-place Coffman (5-2).
Center midfielder Liam Pyles has been the Shamrocks' "best player this year," according to Watts.
"He's all over the field. He wins the ball whenever it comes his way," Watts said. "We've had some guys have real good games here and there, but Liam has played seven excellent games. That's all you can ask, especially from a senior."
Pyles was a reserve last season.
"I finally got a starting spot and it feels really nice," he said. "I'm going to try and keep it. Starting has always been a goal."
Watts said senior goalkeeper Joe Zaborski has played well in place of 2013 graduate Trent Rantala.
Scioto boys coping with injuries
Scioto boys coach Chad Snider hopes his team can return to full strength before the district tournament, which begins Oct. 16.
The Irish lost two key players to non-soccer related injuries last week.
Snider said senior midfielder Jack Shirley broke his right clavicle during a physical education class Sept. 9 and senior midfielder Evan Ekis sustained a concussion after fainting because of a reaction to fumes during a physiology and anatomy class Sept. 10.
Both are expected to miss about three weeks.
Scioto was 4-5 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Jerome on Sept. 17.
The Irish lost to Liberty 3-0 on Sept. 12.
"I'm happy, upset, confused, there's a whole gambit of emotions and the only reason I go through that is we had two really freak accidents," Snider said. "At the personal level, I'm worried about both of them, but especially Evan with that being a head injury. With a concussion, you never know when they'll be back, so that can really mess with him for a long time.
"Those are the two guys that ran the middle of the team. Everything went through those two guys, so we're in the middle of creating a new identity. That's been the struggle."
Before losing Shirley and Ekis, Scioto had won three consecutive games, including 1-0 over league-foe Westerville North on Sept. 3.
Sophomore midfielder/ defender Nathan Trinh scored in the first half on an assist from senior forward/midfielder Nevin Anadika, and junior goalie Nick McCoy had eight saves. "It's going to take us a little time with missing two leaders, but those guys coming back timing-wise will be right at tournament time, so we'll be positioned really well for a good tournament run," Snider said.
Jerome boys earn tie with Gahanna
The Jerome boys team was pleased with its scoreless tie against Gahanna on Sept. 12.
Senior goalie Eli Eynon had two saves.
"The team is playing pretty well, so I was pretty happy with the tie, especially against Gahanna, but we definitely could have gotten the W," Eynon said. "We're definitely taking some steps forward."
The Celtics were 4-3-1 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Scioto on Sept. 17.
After losing to Hilliard Darby 2-1 on Sept. 3, Jerome defeated Upper Arlington 1-0 on Sept. 5 and Westerville North 2-1 on Sept. 10.
Against North, senior defender Graham Stecz and junior midfielder Eric Rozsits scored, and Eynon had four saves.
Eynon is looking forward to the game against Coffman.
"If we were able to get a win against them, that would give us a lot of confidence. That would definitely make the team very happy," he said. "If we could beat them, we know we could be good for the rest of the season and into the tournament."