The Marysville High School boys soccer team went winless in the OCC-Cardinal Division last season but started off play in the OCC-Central with a victory.
The Monarchs got two second-half goals from senior midfielder Cory Roeth in a 2-0 win over host Westland on Aug. 28.
Last season, Marysville went 0-6-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to place eighth, behind champion Dublin Scioto (7-0).
As part of OCC alignment this summer, the Monarchs and Olentangy Liberty moved to the OCC-Central and Hilliard Darby and Worthington Kilbourne switched from the OCC-Central to the OCC-Cardinal.
"We've been talking about this for weeks," coach Marc Kirsch said, referring to getting off to a good start in league play. "The OCC is coming. We have to get a great start with it and hopefully it will lead us to some great things this season."
Marysville plays host to Dublin Coffman in a league game on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Last season, the Shamrocks finished second in the OCC-Central at 5-1-1, behind champion Upper Arlington (6-0-1), and reached a Division I regional final for the first time before losing to Liberty 3-1.
Roeth's first goal against Westland came with 12 minutes, 48 seconds remaining and he added an insurance goal with 1:08 left. Sophomore midfielder Luke Kisor assisted on the first goal, and junior goalkeeper Corey Mankins had five saves.
"We worked hard and finished the game," Roeth said. "It wasn't a good first half, but we finished it strong in the second. I'm happy with how we started OCC (play) because we didn't win one (league game) last year. It was a good way to start the season."
Marysville opened Aug. 21 by tying Grove City at 2 and defeated Bellefontaine 4-2 on Aug. 23. Junior forward Ryan Husband had two goals against Bellefontaine.
"We have to do some better finishing, but defensively we've only given up (four) goals," Kirsch said before the Monarchs faced Worthington Christian on Aug. 30. "I love the overall team concept that we have going on."
Football team falls to Bradley in opener
Morgan Cotter's debut as coach of the football team didn't go as planned, as the Monarchs lost to visiting Hilliard Bradley 17-10 on Aug. 24.
Marysville, which played Jonathan Alder on Aug. 31, travels to Dublin Scioto on Friday, Sept. 7.
The Monarchs defeated the Irish 33-10 last season but trail the all-time series 13-4.
Scioto opened with a 48-21 win over Canal Winchester on Aug. 24, amassing 523 total yards on offense. Running backs Darius McDonald and Will Houston each scored three touchdowns and quarterback Evan DeMars completed 25 of 34 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown and scored on a 19-yard run.
"It's been a long-running rivalry game," Cotter said. "Marysville and Scioto have played since 1995. It's one of those games that everybody knows. Scioto is a well-coached, wing-T (offense), 4-3 (defense), get-after-it football team. They're going to run the football. They're going to run the buck sweep and they're going to get after it. They have a real nice tailback (Houston). It will be a challenge. Our schedule is just full of them week after week."
Against Bradley, Marysville missed an opportunity to tie the game in the final minute.
On third-and-goal from the Bradley 1-yard line, quarterback Kyle Hites was sacked by linebacker C.J. Wall for a 9-yard loss. On fourth down from the 10, Hites was flushed from the pocket and tackled at the 2 with six seconds left.
Hites rushed for 132 yards on 23 carries and completed 11 of 16 passes for 102 yards. Running back Austin Pfarr scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter to close the Monarchs within 17-10. Marysville trailed 10-0 in the second quarter before Nick Mazza made a 38-yard field goal.
The Monarchs had 213 yards rushing and held Bradley to 87 yards on the ground.
"It was a tough game," Cotter said. "Our kids played great. We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit in the first half. We had a shot to tie the game and they made a play. All the credit to their guys for making some plays. It was probably one of the best high school football games I've been part of in a long time."
Girls volleyball team wins league opener
The girls volleyball team opened OCC-Central play with a 25-20, 25-14, 16-25, 25-16 win over host Westland on Aug. 28.
Leading the way for the Monarchs were senior setter Heather Stanley (12 assists), freshman outside hitter Veronica George (nine kills) and freshman middle blocker Monica Miller (nine blocks).
"Our middles were big at the net, which made a big difference on offense and defense," coach Jennifer Burton said. "The girls played very intense. You could feel and hear their passion for the sport. You could see that they wanted to play together and get as many touches on the ball as they could and, from the results, this paid off for us. Our defense played really well and we were able to help set the pace of our offense."
Marysville played without senior outside hitter Riley Tangeman, who is expected to be sidelined for four weeks with a possible fracture in her right foot, Burton said.
The Monarchs opened Aug. 25 by finishing seventh (1-2) in the eight-team Marysville Spike-Off Invitational behind champion Pickerington North (3-0).