As someone who grew up playing a variety of positions on the soccer field, Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Christian Grimme understands the thrill of taking a shot in a crucial situation.

As someone who grew up playing a variety of positions on the soccer field, Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Christian Grimme understands the thrill of taking a shot in a crucial situation.

Being on the other side of that scenario is, in his opinion, just as exhilarating.

"I get my excitement getting a game-winning save as opposed to scoring a game-winning goal," said Grimme, who is in his second season as the No. 1 goalkeeper for the Lions boys team.

That idea has been prevalent throughout his family for years.

Grimme's oldest brother, 2007 Gahanna graduate Andrew Grimme, was a backup goalie for most of his prep career behind classmate and former All-American Michael Lavric.

The family's goalkeeping skills moved further into the spotlight with the middle of three brothers, Ryan Grimme.

A 2010 Gahanna graduate, Ryan helped the Lions post 19 shutouts in 2009, including a 1-0 shootout victory over Cleveland St. Ignatius in the Division I state championship game.

The youngest of the Grimme brothers has developed a reputation for toughness during his tenure in goal.

Christian helped Gahanna go 15-2-3 last season, posting 12 of the team's 14 shutouts.

He missed three games after breaking his nose during a 1-all tie against Dublin Jerome, but returned to help the Lions win their third district championship in four seasons.

"I've coached all three of (the Grimmes) since sixth grade, and (Christian) is a very vocal leader for us," coach Todd Keenan said. "He's one of the best if not the best from our program with his feet. If he wasn't a goalie, he could play on the field. The guys respect him and he's a great kid.

"Ryan's wingspan was huge. He could cover the goal so well. Christian has always been in Ryan's shadow, but he's been able to find his own personality and the guy's trust him, which is huge in a keeper. He's very smart."

Christian, who served as a backup as a sophomore and earned the starting job last season, is pleased with his team's start. The Lions were 4-0-2 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Reynoldsburg on Sept. 10.

Christian helped Gahanna post shutouts in four of its first six games, including a scoreless tie with Westerville Central on Sept. 5.

"I think both of my brothers started out in the field like I did, and I just got to fall in love with goalkeeping," Christian said. "All three of us support each other. After a rough loss, they're not afraid to give me a critique or criticism, so that's definitely been the benefit of having two older brothers."

Christian is planning to follow in Ryan's footsteps in another aspect as well: As a college goalie at a school known for academics.

While Ryan is a senior starter for Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Christian plans to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Christian, who has a 4.1 GPA and is considering bio-medical engineering or pre-med, is a member of the Gahanna student council and the National Honor Society.

He also is hoping to lead the Lions on another deep postseason run.

Gahanna was second in last week's state poll behind Beavercreek.

"I definitely believe we can go far this year," Christian said. "One of the cool things about our team is that we're very interchangeable. It's early in the season and we've always got room for improvement, but we're happy with the way we're performing so far."

Girls soccer teamlooks for consistency

With several freshmen and sophomores in key roles, the girls soccer team was 3-3 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Reynoldsburg on Sept. 10.

The Lions lost freshman goalie Annie Alkhimovitch to a concussion during a 6-1 loss to Dublin Coffman on Aug. 23. Sophomore Haley Koss has been filling in.

"Our midfield and defense are playing really well," coach Natasha Ballard said. "Our freshman goalkeeper is out but can practice (now)."

According to Ballard, seniors Mary Kate Munz (midfielder) and Sara Richards (defender) have led the team and freshman Morgan Marquez (defender) and sophomore Teagan Pfister (midfielder) have been other standouts.

Sophomore Remi Eades (forward), freshman Alison Smitley (midfielder) and Munz have been among the top scorers.

"(Marquez) and Teagan Pfister have stepped up and been more consistent than I thought they'd be," Ballard said.

Runners startseason strong

The boys and girls cross country teams again will be looking for strong finishes when they compete Saturday, Sept. 14, in the Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park. Both teams finished third in the event last season.

The girls squad already has won a championship this season. It finished first (31) in the seven-team Division I race of the Westerville Classic on Aug. 31 at Westerville North.

Junior Kelsey Sandlin was second (19 minutes, 45.36 seconds), freshman Ally Wharton was fourth (20:43.31) and sophomore Kelsey Thompson (sixth, 21:02.6) and freshman Ivy McKee (eighth, 21:20.62) also finished in the top 10.

The boys were third (82) in the eight-team Division I race behind Toledo St. Francis (31) and Westerville North (33).

Sophomore Aaron Schaller led the Lions by placing 10th (17:51.19), while junior Keiffer Whiteman (15th, 18:20.63) and seniors Chris Blakely (16th, 18:22.67) and John Fife (18th, 18:29.06) also finished in the top 20.

On Aug. 24 in the Mount Vernon Kiwanis Invitational, the girls were second (64) of 11 teams behind Upper Arlington (33) as Sandlin was runner-up (19:41.4). The boys placed sixth (168) of 11 teams behind champion Jerome (27).