The mantra for the Hilliard Davidson High School boys soccer team heading into the season was to "feed off last season, not live off it."

The mantra for the Hilliard Davidson High School boys soccer team heading into the season was to "feed off last season, not live off it."

Coming off a Division I state championship, coach Terry Smith harped on the importance of coming out more focused than ever, because every Davidson game would be a circled date on the schedule of every opponent.

All the talk still couldn't guard against the inevitable letdown, as the Wildcats came out flat in their season-opener, losing to DeSales 3-0 on Aug. 21. A month later, Smith looks back on that loss in much the same way he looked at the DeSales loss early last season. Last season's early-season loss to DeSales ended up being the last time the Wildcats lost last year.

"It took, unfortunately, another loss to DeSales, the same team we lost to last year, to give us a wake-up call," Smith said. "You've just got to be prepared. Just make sure you've got your A-game every time you're out there."

Smith admitted that the Wildcats started "a little slow" this fall, but even when not playing at their peak, they still had managed to go undefeated since that DeSales loss heading into last Tuesday's meeting against Dublin Coffman. Before that game, Davidson was 8-1-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central Division. Davidson tied Westerville Central on Sept. 4.

The Wildcats are young, with only one experienced senior on the roster, but they do have a substantial number of juniors who were heavily involved last season. Smith said as his team heads into the final one-third of the season, he's confident that the experience from last season will give his team a psychological edge.

"We had five sophomores last year starting in the state championship game, so they know what it takes to get there," Smith said. "We have that type of exposure and experience."

Though the Wildcats don't feel they're playing at their highest level yet, Smith said he believes they might have had the turning point they need to reach that potential. On Sept. 13, the Wildcats beat a talented Sidney team 4-0 in Crew Stadium, and Smith said the symbolism of winning a game in the same venue where the state championship game will be held was not lost on his team.

"It was a good turning point for us because we started to jell more as a team," senior Drew Edler said. "We started moving the ball around a lot nicer than we had in previous games. I think we were finally starting to 'get it' as a team."

The Wildcats certainly will need to carry that momentum through the next couple of weeks, as probably the toughest part of the schedule is yet to come. The Wildcats' next four opponents, Dublin Jerome (today), Upper Arlington (Tuesday), Hilliard Darby (Oct. 7) and Worthington Kilbourne (Oct. 9), were 23-8-7 combined before last Tuesday.

The Wildcats have been fortunate to stay healthy for the most part, and Smith said his team has been getting big contributions from nearly every player on the roster. Edler has "been playing really well," according to Smith, and leads a balanced scoring attack with six goals. Junior Duncan Campbell has five goals, and sophomore J.D. Detmer has four.

Defensively, senior Matt Rasmussen and Luke Pugno have stepped into the starting lineup and played well alongside returning starters Campbell and Jimmy Caudill, and senior Adam Black has seen most of the action in goal as the Wildcats are allowing 0.6 goals per game. The Wildcats have shut out seven of their first 10 opponents.

Smith said he's still figuring out the "personality" of the team and what each player can and can't do. He's looking for his players to try to do the same, understanding their own individual abilities and playing to their strengths.

"We just have to get guys to know their roles right now, knowing what their strengths are, and not overdoing things," Smith said. "Sometimes guys try to do more on the field than they need to. We've got a lot of talent on the field around you. There are 11 guys on the field at a time, so utilize that talent."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Davidson boys and girls soccer teams:

BOYS

*Sept. 9 -- Defeated Central Crossing 3-0. Duncan Campbell scored all three goals.

Sept. 13 -- Def. Sidney 4-0. J.D. Detmer had two goals. Drew Edler and Matt Rasmussen also scored.

*Sept. 16 -- Game vs. Worthington Kilbourne postponed

Sept. 18 -- Def. Worthington Christian 2-0. Campbell and Connor St. Clair scored. Adam Black made four saves.

Last Saturday -- Def. Marysville 1-0. Ryan Osselborn scored.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Dublin Coffman

Today -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome. Jerome was 6-1-3 overall before last Tuesday.

*Tuesday -- At Upper Arlington. UA was 4-4-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

Of note: The Wildcats were 8-1-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

*Sept. 9 -- Def. Central Crossing 4-0. Kaitlin Flanagan, Alexa Scheerer, Paige Weber and Brooke Lewis scored for the Wildcats.

Sept. 11 -- Tied Westerville North at 1. Katie Holland scored.

Sept. 13 -- Def. Gahanna 4-1. Brittany Cheese led the Wildcats with two goals, and Shara Perry and Heather Coonfare added one each.

*Sept. 16 -- Game vs. Worthington Kilbourne postponed

Sept. 18 -- Def. Pickerington North 2-0. Leslie Dotson and Weber scored. Susan Anderson had six saves.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Dublin Coffman

Saturday -- Home vs. Beavercreek. Beavercreek was 5-2-4 overall before last Wednesday.

*Tuesday -- Home vs. UA. UA was 9-0-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

Of note: The Wildcats were 9-0-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game