In a three-day span, the Marys-ville High School girls soccer team learned plenty about the direction this season will take.

In a three-day span, the Marys-ville High School girls soccer team learned plenty about the direction this season will take.

The Monarchs learned how not to play with a two-goal lead.

The Monarchs learned how to bounce back after a tough loss.

The Monarchs learned how to defeat one of the better teams in the area.

Marysville opened OCC-Cardinal Division play last Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Olentangy Liberty, a program that has won three consecutive OCC titles. It came three days after Marysville blew a 2-0 lead over Hilliard Darby and lost 3-2.

"The girls believed in each other and had faith," coach Joe McSwords said. "I told them as long as they had faith in me and each other, that will go a long way. I felt they rose to the challenge and for the first time Marysville beat an Olentangy school in soccer."

When it comes to physical skills, Marysville is equal to its league opponents, according to McSwords. Now, it's a matter of the Monarchs mentally believing they can do it.

"Before, we'd play the Westervilles and they have been playing soccer for the last 30 years," McSwords said. "They knew what to do. Now we can control the pace and possession a little bit. Confidence wise, we can hang with these teams."

Of the eight teams in the OCC-Cardinal, only two finished below .500 last year in Dublin Scioto (6-8-4) and Westerville South (6-8-3). Three teams finished with at least 12 wins in Liberty (12-3-3), Jerome (13-3-1) and Westerville North (12-4-3).

Like Liberty, Jerome has won multiple OCC titles. But the Celtics lost their four-year starter in goal, Lauren Romanelli. Jerome has returned forward and midfielder Morgan Herbert, who led the Celtics last season with 24 goals.

"Each year this program takes a step forward and that's what you always want a program to do," Jerome coach Annie Murphy Gage said. "As long as we keep heading in that direction we'll be pretty happy."

Westerville North returns 10 players after reaching a Division I regional semifinal before losing to Hilliard Davidson 1-0.

"This team has a lot of talent carried over from last year, plus the skills that the younger girls bring," said 20th-year coach Tim Lawrence of North. "It's great that this year's group has so much experience and leadership. The older players really guide the underclassmen on what they have to do for us to achieve our goals."

Marysville goalkeeper Cara Clarridge will be tested as North returns Ashton Campbell, who led North with 21 goals last season, and Ashley Davis, who scored 10.

On Tuesday, Marysville travels to Olentangy. The Braves returned six starters, including senior goalkeeper Kate Valaitis and senior sweepers Kaleigh Cole and Stacy Culbertson.

Marysville's remaining league schedule is at Westerville Central (Sept. 9), at home against Westerville South (Sept. 16), at Jerome (Sept. 23), at Westerville North (Sept. 30) and home against Scioto (Oct. 7).

At practice the day after Marysville beat Liberty, McSwords humbled his team by reminding them how much work is left to do.

"We still have an Olentangy team to beat and the Dublins," he said. "We have to play every game on our schedule and even Westerville North is a returning district champion."

•The league for the boys soccer team is not as daunting as the girls with only two teams finishing with at least 11 wins last year.

Westerville Central leads the group as the Warhawks won a Division I district title last season. But Central lost 13 players to graduation.

"We're extremely young," Central coach David Pence said. "We have a lot of young guys that will be learning to play a new position. We like what were seeing. Hopefully we can get it together. We have a very though schedule this year. We play a lot of top ranked teams."

Marysville's remaining OCC-Cardinal schedule begins Tuesday at home against Olentangy followed by games at home against Westerville Central (Sept. 9), at Westerville South (Sept. 16), at home against Jerome (Sept. 23) and Westerville North (Sept. 30) and at Scioto (Oct. 7).

At a glance

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

BOYS

*Last Tuesday -- Lost to Olentangy Liberty 3-0

Last Thursday -- Defeated Delaware 3-2

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Olentangy

Thursday -- At Hilliard Darby

Of note: The Monarchs are 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.

GIRLS

*Last Tuesday -- Def. Liberty 1-0. Kylee Tuchfarber scored.

Last Thursday -- Def. Delaware 3-0. Jenna Moulton, Sam Fisher and Tuchfarber scored.

*Tuesday -- At Olentangy

Thursday -- Home vs. Big Walnut

Saturday -- At Grove City

Of note: The Monarchs are 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Cardinal.

*OCC-Cardinal game