The Hilliard Davidson High School boys soccer team has not garnered much attention around the area this season despite its record.

The Hilliard Davidson High School boys soccer team has not garnered much attention around the area this season despite its record.

The Wildcats, who were 8-1-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Dublin Coffman last Tuesday, have not cracked the top five in the Division I area coaches poll all season. But Davidson, which is just two years removed from a state championship, is unfazed by the lack of hype.

"We kind of like it this year," coach Terry Smith said. "It kind of gives us a goal to set for ourselves instead of sitting there with a target on us. You just take it for what it's worth. I told the guys it's not how you start, it's how you finish."

Senior captain Brent Harmanis said, in some ways, it has been nice not being the defending state champions anymore.

"Last year, coming off of winning the state title, we seemed to have a bull's-eye on our back," he said.

"Everyone wanted a shot at us, and we took their best shot as best we could. But this year it's kind of nice, because expectations were kind of high, and after a deflating loss like (a 3-0 loss to DeSales on Aug. 27), everyone seems to have forgotten about us. It maybe allows us to sneak up on some people."

Smith acknowledged that the opening loss to DeSales certainly didn't help Davidson gain respect. After posting a solid but unspectacular 11-5-3 record last season, the Wildcats basically fell off the radar after opening this season with the lopsided loss.

Since then, however, Davidson has been steady in its play. The Wildcats have won every game except for a 1-all tie against Worthington Christian on Sept. 12, and the margin of victory has been by two goals or more in five of their eight wins.

"From that point (the DeSales game) on, it seems like everyone kind of regrouped and did what they needed to do to get better," Smith said. "The practices have become a little more competitive. We're a little deeper this year than we've been in the past in reference to depth on the bench. People are all able to contribute."

Harmanis said the Wildcats aren't playing at their peak quite yet, but they have started to play the type of soccer they expected coming into the season. He said the players know they still have plenty of chances to earn back respect around the area, which will be critical for the district tournament draw Oct. 11.

"I think (the poll) motivates us, but we try not to let it get to us at this point of the season," he said. "We realize that we had our chance to come out and start the season strong, but we didn't. We have a five- or six-game stretch coming up that, if we win them all, could move us into the top two or three in the district. It kind of works out nicely that since the DeSales game, we've been able to work our way up."

Davidson, which had been missing as many as five players at a time because of injuries, played with a full lineup for the first time all season in a 1-0 win over Bexley last Saturday. Smith said the team's schedule, which has consisted mainly of Tuesday and Saturday games, has helped his players recover.

"It gives us an extra day to recover that typically most teams don't get when they play Tuesday-Thursday," Smith said. "Your Wednesdays then become recovery days and then you're right back on it again. We've been lucky this year having a schedule where we don't have to play on Thursdays."

Davidson knows it still needs to sharpen up on the defensive end, especially against set pieces. Before a 5-3 win against Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 22, all nine goals the Wildcats had allowed came off set pieces.

The Wildcats' offense has been steady, with the team scoring 2.2 goals per game through 10 games. Smith said his team doesn't have a go-to offensive weapon like Drew Edler last year or Colby Catlett in 2007, but has benefited from balanced scoring. J.D. Detmer led the team through 10 games with five goals, with Harmanis, Alex Bumpus, Connor St. Clair, Michael Stephens, Cory Yant and Duncan Campbell each having two.

Smith said the biggest strength of the team thus far has been the way his veteran group, with 17 returning letterwinners, has bonded.

"Guys seem to be real focused and are getting along real well," he said. "That's a big thing, to make sure that guys know that chemistry is a big piece of the puzzle. I remind them about where we were last year, where we were in 2007, where we were in 2006, and what the differences were in each of those years. I think they know what to do. This senior class was part of that championship run. They were on the field in the state championship game, so they know what it takes to get there."

At a glance

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

BRADLEY BOYS

*Sept. 22 -- Lost to Mount Vernon 3-2. Ray Olavarria and Craig Shimer scored. Sept. 24 -- Tied Olentangy at 2 *Last Tuesday -- Played Delaware Today -- At Reynoldsburg Saturday -- Home vs. Marysville *Tuesday -- At Olentangy Orange

Of note: The Jaguars were 2-4-2 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Capital before last Tuesday.

BRADLEY GIRLS

*Sept. 22 -- Defeated Mount Vernon 6-1. Mackenzie Gill scored four goals and Caitlyn Cote and Katie Lindsey each had one. *Last Tuesday -- Played Delaware Saturday -- At Olentangy Tuesday -- Home vs. Orange

Of note: The Jaguars were 5-6 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Capital before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Capital game

DARBY BOYS

*Sept. 22 -- Lost to Dublin Coffman 3-2. Andrew Lentz and Kyle Smrecansky scored. Last Saturday -- Def. Granville 3-2. Smrecansky, Lentz and Tyler Boshane scored. *Last Tuesday -- Played Thomas Worthington Today -- Home vs. Olentangy Tuesday -- At Watkins Memorial Oct. 8 -- At Dublin Scioto

Of note: The Panthers were 3-5-3 overall and 0-2-1 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

DARBY GIRLS

*Sept. 22 -- Lost to Coffman 4-1. Carly Pries scored. *Last Tuesday -- At Thomas Worthington Saturday -- At Lexington Tuesday -- Home vs. Watkins Memorial

Of note: The Panthers were 2-9 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game

DAVIDSON BOYS

*Sept. 22 -- Def. Worthington Kilbourne 5-3. Michael Stephens, J.D. Detmer, Brent Harmanis, Cory Yant and Duncan Campbell scored. Last Saturday -- Def. Bexley 1-0. Detmer scored and Adam Black had four saves. *Last Tuesday -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman Saturday -- At Dublin Jerome *Tuesday -- Home vs. Upper Arlington

Of note: The Wildcats were 8-1-1 overall before last Tuesday and are 2-0 in the OCC-Central.

DAVIDSON GIRLS

*Sept. 22 -- Def. Kilbourne 1-0. Katie Holland scored and Susan Anderson had 11 saves. Sept. 24 -- Lost to Pickerington North 3-1. Holland scored. Last Saturday -- Lost to Beavercreek 2-1 *Last Tuesday -- Played Coffman *Today -- At Thomas Worthington. This contest was suspended Sept. 8 with the game scoreless in the first half. *Tuesday -- At Upper Arlington Oct. 8 -- Home vs. DeSales

Of note: The Wildcats were 7-3-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game