The Watkins Memorial High School girls soccer team continues to adjust to a recent formation change.
After going 5-0-1 in their first six games, the Warriors went 3-4 over their next seven.
"We have just been working through a change in formation," coach Alex Stout said. "We are starting to understand it more now and it is working very well. It took a little time for things to click, but we are playing very well now."
According to Stout, Watkins Memorial began to show improvement in the formation change despite losing to Big Walnut 4-2 on Sept. 11 and Pickerington Central 3-2 on Sept. 13.
"The girls are playing very well," Stout said. "They are working very hard and being very positive. We are starting to score more goals and the defense is playing very strong as a unit."
Watkins Memorial beat Buckeye Valley 3-1 on Sept. 20, followed by three consecutive 1-0 scores, as the Warriors lost to Olentangy on Sept. 25 and lost to New Albany on Oct. 2 but defeated Johnstown on Oct. 1.
"We are pretty close to playing the best soccer that I have seen these girls play." Stout said. "We can continue to play better and the girls are working extremely hard at practice to take it to the next level."
The Warriors play host to Olentangy Orange in an OCC-Capital Division game on Tuesday, Oct. 9, before closing the regular season Thursday, Oct. 11, at Worthington Kilbourne. The draw for the Division I district tournament is Sunday, Oct. 7, with the tournament getting under way Oct. 16.
"I don't know where we'll be seeded," Stout said. "All I know is that our team is starting to click. Our back line is moving well and defending well as a unit. Our (midfielders) are staying tight and moving the ball well and our forwards are making great runs and applying tons of pressure."
Watkins Memorial's seniors have yet to win a tournament game. According to Stout, that was a goal the players set before the season.
"The girls are so ready for the tournament," Stout said. "They are very excited and ready to play. We need to be mentally prepared and ready for a 90-minute battle, and in some areas where we haven't been sharp, we realize that it all can be shored up for the tournament."
Girls golf team ends season at sectional
The girls golf team saw its season end in the Division I sectional tournament Oct. 2 at Mentel Memorial.
Watkins Memorial shot a 388 to finish seventh of nine teams as Dublin Coffman (309), Upper Arlington (351) and Marysville (365) advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Cooks Creek. The top three individuals not on a qualifying team also advanced, with Gahanna's Emily Hughes (79), Westerville South's Felecia Davenport (85) and Westerville Central's Ana Borish (89) securing those spots.
Senior Liz Haack shot a 90 to lead the Warriors, falling one stroke short of forcing a playoff with Borish for the final district-qualifying spot.
Also competing for Watkins Memorial were freshman Emily Hayes (98), senior Andrea Martin (99) and sophomore Devon Atchison (101).
"I'm proud of these girls because we had a fantastic season overall," coach Tiffany Shaeffer said. "With only four girls, their scores counted every time they teed off. I had a lot of other coaches tell me how impressive we were considering we didn't have a high score we could throw out.
"Unfortunately, we're in a bad position now because we have nobody coming up from the middle school, so the girls are talking to kids in middle school and to their high school friends, trying to coax some to come out (for the team). If not, I don't know if we go back to being a club team where we only compete in invitationals or if Devon and Emily will have to compete for the boys team until the postseason."
The Warriors finished third (20-8) in the four-round OCC-Ohio tournament behind Pickerington North (28-0) and UA (24-4) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (13-15), Gahanna (12-16), Hilliard Davidson (11-17), Lancaster (4-24) and Hilliard Darby (0-28).
Haack and Atchison were third-team all-league and Martin was honorable mention all-league.
Watkins Memorial finished second (4-4) in the Division I Mid-Ohio Girls Golf League behind Watterson (8-0) and ahead of DeSales (0-8).
Boys golfers also see season end
The boys golf team ended its season by shooting a 353 and finishing 10th in the 13-team Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Granville Golf Course.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Apple Valley.
Pickerington North (294) won the sectional title, with Upper Arlington (295), St. Charles (313) and Mount Vernon (316) also advancing. The individual qualifiers were Granville's Nick Contini (73), Newark's Nick Shipley (74), Gahanna's Alex Vegh (74) and Thomas Worthington's Curtis Salmans (77).
Sophomore Jarod Worcester led the Warriors at sectional with an 83. Senior Matt Fisher was next with an 84, followed by junior Clay Gray (93), sophomore Drew Dixon (93) and sophomore Brandon Ward (97).
The Warriors finished sixth (9-19) in the four-round OCC-Capital tournament, behind New Albany (28-0), Mount Vernon (20-8), Olentangy (20-8), Orange (18-10) and Big Walnut (13-15) and ahead of Delaware (4-24) and Franklin Heights (0-28).
Fisher had a 78.0-stroke average in OCC-Capital tournament and made first-team all-league. Worcester (81.5) made second-team all-league.
Fisher was the only senior for the Warriors under first-year coach Greg Stone.
Victories hard to come by for football team
The football team was seeking a breakthrough when it played Franklin Heights on Oct. 5.
The Warriors were 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Capital before playing the Falcons despite being outscored just 189-177 through six games.
Watkins Memorial, which begins play in the Licking County League next season, travels to Olentangy on Friday, Oct. 12, for a league contest. The Braves were 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Capital before playing New Albany on Oct. 4.
The Warriors lost to Big Walnut 27-14 in a league game Sept. 28 despite outgaining the Golden Eagles 256 to 253 in total yards and having more first downs (17 to 14). Quarterback Ben Shroyer was 18-for-34 passing for 152 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Hunter Holton had eight catches for 97 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown, and running back Brenden Kemp rushed for 102 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown, on 29 carries.