When the Gahanna Christian Academy boys soccer team lost one of its top players for the season in the opener, coach Scott Ramsey didn't know how the Eagles would respond.
He has been pleasantly surprised, as Gahanna Christian was 11-1 overall before playing Tree of Life on Sept. 24.
The key player lost to injury was senior defender Dakoda Ramsey, the coach's son, who fractured his left kneecap and tore two knee ligaments in a 5-1 loss to Grandview on Aug. 17.
"I would not have believed that if I lost one of my key players we would then win (11) straight," coach Ramsey said.
He said sophomores Luke Fout and Christopher Schoen have played well splitting time in place of his son.
At 2-0 in the MOCAL, the Eagles remained in contention for the league title before playing Tree of Life.
Gahanna Christian concludes league play Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Delaware Christian.
Tree of Life, which was 1-10 overall and 0-1 in the MOCAL before playing Gahanna Christian, has won three consecutive league titles.
"That was our first goal, win (the) MOCAL," coach Ramsey said. "Every single MOCAL game we have the players understand that it's more important than the rest. We have a little more focus, a little more determination."
Ramsey expects the team to receive a boost from the return of freshman Madison Schlesselman, who played her first game of the season in a 5-2 win over Village Academy on Sept. 19. Schlesselman, who broke her left thumb, has moved from goalkeeper to midfielder because of the injury.
Senior Alec Schlesselman, Madison's brother, has been the team's final line of defense in goal and has played a major role in the team's success, Ramsey said. He had 117 saves through 12 games.
"Alec is playing lights out this year," Ramsey said. "He has definitely stepped up his game. We owe a lot of our games to him where we've started slow and he has kept us in games. He is really shutting down the other team's offense and giving us a chance to wake up and get our feet under us."
Leading the offense is sophomore forward Emmanuel Dapaa, who had 29 goals and 12 assists through 12 games.
"Emmanuel is playing very, very well," Ramsey said. "Just about every game he has had two goals or a hat trick. He is on a tear."
Senior midfielder Connor Maclellan had 16 goals and 14 assists.
Ramsey also pointed to the addition of first-year player Sam Sibert, a junior defender, as a key to the team's success.
"Sam has come out just like gangbusters," Ramsey said. "The game against Village Academy was his best game to date. He was really a catalyst. He is faster than grease lightning."
Along with winning a league title, the Eagles are looking for success in the Division III district tournament, which begins Oct. 16. Last season, Gahanna Christian lost to West Jefferson 2-1 on penalty kicks in the second round.
"Our first goal is (winning the) MOCAL and then prepping for a good run in the tournament," Ramsey said. "With our record and who've we played -- we have bumped up our schedule this year -- (that) will help us in the (district) seeding a little bit (more) than the last few years."
Girls volleyball team wants winning season
Girls volleyball coach Nate Kirk entered the season hoping his team could at least play better than .500, and the Eagles were 7-9 overall before playing Tree of Life on Sept. 24.
"We're improving and we're at full strength now," Kirk said. "We've had some injuries. We have everybody back. I think we can win a majority of the matches that we have left and come out above .500."
Gahanna Christian was 2-2 in the MOCAL before playing Tree of Life.
Madison Christian led the league at 4-0.
Gahanna Christian lost to Madison Christian 25-13, 25-17, 25-21 on Sept. 12. The Eagles play at Madison Christian on Oct. 8.
Gahanna Christian has been boosted by the return of junior defensive specialist Sarah Manko, who missed the first month of the season with a broken finger on her right hand.
"Sarah has helped us in the back row a lot with digging and a fast serve," Kirk said.
Boys golf team completes season
The boys golf team finished the season by placing fourth in the four-team MOCAL tournament Sept. 19 at The Links of Echo Springs.
Gahanna Christian (241) finished behind Granville Christian (184), Madison Christian (185) and Tree of Life (194).
Junior Eddie Dilts led the Eagles with a 55, an improvement of 31 strokes from the 86 he shot against Madison Christian and Tree of Life on Aug. 27 at Champions.
Dilts is the lone player eligible to return next season, as captain Caleb Haugen, David Herman and Logan Keseg are seniors.
"It has gone well," coach Tim Haugen said. "The kids have definitely improved substantially. We're still not at the point where I'd say they're highly competitive against other teams, but if we get enough interest from incoming freshmen or people changing sports or picking up the sport next year, we can continue to grow the program."