The way Hilliard Davidson High School girls soccer coach Joe Divida sees it, the most effective way for his team to play quality defense is to stay on the attack for as long as possible.
The Wildcats' aggressive style of play paid dividends over their first 11 games, as they averaged 5.5 goals per contest while going 10-1.
During that span, they scored three or more goals nine times and seven or more goals five times.
"We've been the aggressor through the majority of our games and this is the highest-scoring team I've ever coached," said Divida, who is in his 11th season leading the program.
"This year, we've been able to put a lot more pressure on teams by keeping them pinned down at their own end of field. We've been able to create a lot of chances in every game and we're striking at a good percentage. We try to really take it at teams and end games in the first half."
The Wildcats continued their offensive assault last week, beating Upper Arlington 7-3 in an OCC-Central Division game Sept. 18 and Darby 7-0 on Sept. 22.
Against UA, Lauren Bates had three goals, Lea Edler scored two and Ashley Blake and Erin Duffy each scored one.
Blake and Bates each scored two goals and Duffy, Edler and Devon McClellan each scored one against Darby.
"Darby played well in the first half, but we just broke them down a couple of times and we were able to build a 3-0 halftime lead," Divida said. "Bates has been doing a great job on the attack, and all four of our forwards are producing, including Blake, Edler, McClellan and (Emily) Galloway.
"Our center midfielders, Erin Duffy and Alaina Lundregan, are doing an amazing job defending, too."
The Wildcats have an OCC-Central game Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Thomas Worthington before playing host to Pickerington North on Oct. 6. North was 9-0-2 before playing Groveport on Sept. 25.
Last season, Davidson tied Thomas at 1 and lost to North 2-1.
"Our game against Pickerington North will decide a lot of what happens at the (Division I district tournament draw on Oct. 7)," Divida said. "A win over Pickerington North could give us a big boost going into the tournament.
"We've had a good season because we've stayed healthy and the kids have stuck together and stayed focused."
Darby girls hit scoring slump
After scoring 11 goals and going 3-1 in its first four games, the Darby girls team fell into a scoring slump.
The Panthers failed to score in their next seven games, going 0-6-1 in those contests while being outscored 20-0. They played Pickerington Central to a scoreless tie on Sept. 6.
Freshman defender Ellie Weber said the Panthers played well against Central as well as in a 1-0 loss to DeSales on Sept. 13, but they struggled to finish several quality scoring opportunities during their seven-game winless streak.
"We haven't scored well for a while, but we've had chances," Weber said.
"Emily Church and Caitlin McCarthy have gotten a lot of shots off, but they just haven't gone in.
"We connected our passes well and had some good shots on goal against DeSales. We haven't had a great start, but I think we're going to do better soon."
The Panthers, who were 3-7-1 before playing Dublin Scioto on Sept. 25, play Thursday, Sept. 27, at Marysville. The Monarchs were 5-2-3 before playing Upper Arlington on Sept. 25.
"We think we're really underrated because of our record and we want to prove it," senior forward/defender Anne Mazuca said. "Ashleigh Riddle has been stepping up as a senior, and our goalkeeper, Rachel Harricharran, has a lot of experience and is playing well.
"We're coming together and learning to work together as a team. We've got a good coach (Sarah Wiechman) and she's helping us develop our skills and maturity as players."