As a defender on the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys soccer team, senior Casey Weinland hasn't gotten many opportunities to contribute in the scoring column the last two seasons.

As a defender on the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys soccer team, senior Casey Weinland hasn't gotten many opportunities to contribute in the scoring column the last two seasons.

When the chances have come, however, he has delivered.

Weinland scored one goal last season on a penalty shot and made a penalty kick for his first goal of this season during a 3-0 win over Lancaster on Sept. 6.

In a 2-1 victory at previously unbeaten Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 22, he made it 3-for-3 in penalty kicks with what proved to be the winning goal with 8 minutes, 13 seconds remaining.

"Especially when the game is tied, you just have to take a deep breath," Weinland said. "I always look (one) way and try to hit it to the opposite corner. (The one against Liberty) was big because it (helped) us (stay) undefeated."

Coach Dwayne Marshall has reminded his team that the ability to make penalty kicks can be crucial, particularly during the postseason, but it's not something he has the Lions focus on much during the regular season.

Including Weinland, Gahanna has six players whom Marshall has confidence in regarding their ability to make penalty kicks.

"(Against Liberty) we got our first win in a long time on a penalty kick," Marshall said. "We're fortunate because we've got six guys who are qualified to shoot them. (Weinland) is one of our best in PKs. He keeps calm and nothing really bothers him. He's clutch on PKs, he's a tremendous defensive player and he's good on set pieces."

In the state poll released Sept. 15, the Lions were ranked second and Liberty was fifth.

Gahanna fell behind 1-0 but tied it before halftime on a goal by Gavin Craig.

"I thought we showed tremendous resiliency," Marshall said. "We gave up a goal less than a minute into the game and came back to win. It's a good win."

•The girls team also has reasons to feel confident entering the final stretch of the regular season after it recently defeated a pair of teams ranked in the Division I area coaches poll.

The Lions beat three-time defending OCC-Ohio Division champion Pickerington North 2-1 on Sept. 20. That improved their record to 4-0 in the league before playing Grove City on Sept. 27.

North was fourth in the coaches poll last week and Gahanna was fifth.

Maggie Mayo scored off a pass from Kari Weinland midway through the first half. The Lions scored the winning goal later in the first half when Erica Schrader scored on an assist by Ashley Gogolin. The second goal came after a corner kick by Weinland.

That win came three days after Gahanna beat Hilliard Davidson 2-1.

Davidson was third in the coaches poll last week. Dublin Coffman, which beat the Lions 4-0 on Aug. 27, was first and Dublin Jerome was second.

Gahanna's only other league games are Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Reynoldsburg and Oct. 11 at Groveport.

"We had a couple really good wins in a row," coach Jason Hardin said. "We beat a good Davidson team and then put up a good performance in beating Pickerington North. They were really pumped to play them and definitely communicated well. The girls right from the beginning were committed to winning.

"Everybody was excited because it's been basically us and Pickerington North the last couple years. This game put us as the frontrunner for the OCC."