Even though the Dublin Coffman High School girls soccer team is seemingly loaded with scoring threats, it takes pride in its defense.
Senior forward Sam Edwards said the Shamrocks' defensive play is a major reason why the Shamrocks rode an 11-game unbeaten streak into their game against Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 1.
Coffman was 9-1-2 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Liberty. The Shamrocks, who lost to Westerville Central 1-0 in their opener Aug. 20, had allowed only three goals and had nine shutouts through 12 games.
"We take a lot of pride in shutouts," Edwards said. "We really focus on that because it's not just scoring a ton of goals because you can score six goals a game but they can score seven. Obviously, the defense plays a huge role in shutouts. It's good to have shutouts because it gives you good confidence in your defense."
Coffman had posted eight consecutive shutouts before facing Liberty, with the last goal it had allowed coming in a 2-1 league win over Marysville on Sept. 3.
"We're defending very well," coach Marc D'Auteuil said after a 5-0 win over Olentangy on Sept. 26. "That's not a bad team and we pretty much had our way with them tonight. That's impressive. I really like how we moved the ball. I really like how we ran off the ball and we put away some chances."
Christine Szabo and Morgan Witchey have split time at goalkeeper for the Shamrocks, who had scored 42 goals through 12 games.
The only blemishes during Coffman's unbeaten streak were scoreless ties against Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit on Sept. 14 and Medina on Sept. 28.
Walsh Jesuit and Coffman are ranked second and third, respectively, in the Division I state poll. Medina is ranked ninth.
Five players scored for the Shamrocks against Olentangy, including Edwards, who had a team-high 11 goals through 12 games. Defenders Amanda Stratton and Courtney Dille, midfielder Kaeli Tuinstra and forward Ayla Whitman also scored.
Coffman entered its game against Liberty atop the OCC-Central standings with an opportunity to clinch its third consecutive league title with a win over the Patriots. Entering play Oct. 1, Liberty was second in the league at 4-0-1 and Hilliard Davidson was third at 3-1-1.
The Shamrocks will complete league play at home against Upper Arlington on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
"You're always trying to fine-tune things," D'Auteuil said.
"We can probably get a little bit fitter. Maybe we can work a little bit more on our attack, believe it or not. I don't want to say I'm content with where we're at, but I'm liking kind of the upward trend forward that we're having right now."
Coffman boys look to gain momentum
The Coffman boys team is looking to gain momentum heading into the Division I district tournament, which begins Oct. 16.
"The team is making good progress, but we still have many areas to improve on before tournament time," coach Steve Watts said.
"Solidifying our defense and minimizing the opposing teams' chances are at the top of the list. We have three shutouts on the year. That number, for a championship-caliber team, needs to be much higher."
Coffman was 8-2-2 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Central before playing defending state champion Liberty on Oct. 1. Ranked fourth in the state poll, the Patriots were 5-0 in the league before facing the Shamrocks.
Coffman tied St. Charles at 1 on Sept. 26. The Shamrocks trailed until defender Peter Malloy scored midway through the second half to forge the tie.
Through 12 games, forward Jason Strine had a team-high 11 goals and six assists, forward Ben Kinney had 10 goals and nine assists and goalie Joe Zaborski had 50 saves.
"All areas of our defense need to be shored up over the coming weeks -- better 1-on-1, better communication, better pressure from our midfielders and forwards, defending the counterattack and defending set pieces," Watts said.
Jerome girls atop league standings
The Jerome girls team entered its game against Westerville South on Oct. 1 looking to wrap up its third consecutive OCC-Cardinal championship.
The Celtics, who lost to Perrysburg 2-1 on Sept. 28, were 6-4-1 overall and 5-0 in the league before playing South. They conclude league play Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Westerville Central.
Central was second in the OCC-Cardinal at 2-1-2 before playing Hilliard Darby on Oct. 1.
Jerome bounced back from a 4-2 loss to Parma Heights Holy Name on Sept. 21 to defeat Canal Winchester 9-1 in a league game Sept. 24.
"The girls were really fired up," first-year coach Neal Shaffer said.
Forward Madison Costner scored three goals against Canal Winchester and had a team-high 16 through 10 games.
"Madison has been a pretty fantastic kid so far," Shaffer said. "She's so strong and so fast that she just creates so many problems for other teams. She's a Division I athlete playing high school soccer right now."
Scioto boys hoping to have full lineup
Scioto boys coach Chad Snider is hoping his team can return to full strength before the start of the postseason.
Among those who have been dealing with injuries are two key players in midfielder Jack Shirley, who broke his right clavicle Sept. 9, and midfielder Evan Ekis, who has been out since Sept. 10 with a concussion.
Scioto was 5-7-1 overall and 2-2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Hilliard Bradley on Oct. 1.
The Irish defeated Darby 2-1 on Sept. 24 to end a five-game winless streak behind goals by forward/midfielder Nevin Anadika and midfielder/defender Nathan Trinh.
"That was our first win since we lost Shirley and Ekis," Snider said. "Once we get Shirley and Ekis back, we've had some guys step up, so it's given us a lot of options. It will really boost (the team's) confidence once those guys come back."
Scioto girls team ends losing streak
The Scioto girls team ended a four-game losing streak by defeating Ready 1-0 on Sept. 26 behind a second-half goal by midfielder Quinn Blackwell and five saves by goalie Mikhaylan Price.
"It was nice to see the girls get a win," coach Chris Adams said. "The girls have been working hard and not getting good results for their efforts. We had a stretch of five games in a row where we hit the crossbar in each game."
The Irish were 4-7-1 overall and 0-4-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Bradley on Oct. 1.
"Even though we have struggled at times, I'm proud that the girls are continuing to go out and work hard each game," Adams said.
"I'm pleased with all of our players' efforts on the field. Like any program, we are always trying to improve."