In the summer of 2008, the New Albany High School girls soccer team traveled to the Indiana University team camp.

In the summer of 2008, the New Albany High School girls soccer team traveled to the Indiana University team camp.

Although the experience wasn't completely negative, it was there that Jordyn Albritton, who was expected to be one of the team's top players, injured her knee and was lost for the season. Her injury was the first of a series of events that eventually derailed the Eagles' season in 2008.

This past summer, the Eagles were back at the Indiana camp, but this time it ended up being a turning point to get the program headed back in the right direction.

"During summer training, we figured out we can be good," coach Tony Macerollo said. "It really happened when we were in camp in Indiana. The team started to really jell and started to buy into what we were doing."

Doomed by a 1-7-1 start, New Albany finished 6-11-1 overall last season. The Eagles got off to a much better start this season, aside from an opening 3-0 loss to DeSales on Aug. 25. They were 4-2-2 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Big Walnut last Tuesday.

As critical as the camp was to the team's success, the players agree that the loss to DeSales proved to be a key motivational factor.

"I think after the DeSales match, after we lost, everybody realized we didn't want to have another season like last season," defender Kayleigh Helten said. "We all started to click after that because we decided we wanted something more for the season."

The team's confidence and chemistry has translated into improvements in several facets of the Eagles' play. Macerollo said he has been particularly impressed with the way his team has controlled possession and increased the speed of their play.

"We've been able to play possession soccer, we've been able to play much quicker and we've got the confidence to try things we would not have tried in the past," Macerollo said.

The Eagles have also made significant strides offensively. Last season, aside from three blowout wins, New Albany scored just 18 goals in their other 15 matches. This fall, the Eagles were scoring 2.1 goals per game before last Tuesday, and they had scored at least two goals in five of eight matches.

"Finishing has been big," defender Emily Haupt said. "Scoring goals has been really helpful, because defense can only go so far. You've got to score goals."

Midfielder Katie Lackey noted that the team's communication has been much better both on and off the field. Macerollo concurs.

"Last season, at the beginning of the season we had some communication issues, and you can see where it turned around halfway through the season," he said. "It was at the halfway mark that we started winning matches. (Lackey) hit on something big. This season I feel like we have great communication between the staff and players. We all feel like we can talk freely."

Macerollo said he believes the Eagles are right on track to have the type of season they had been shooting for. Players and coaches said their focus is on continuing to improve their pace of play and sharpening their fundamental skills before the Division I district tournament begins later this month.

"We're still always working on the simple things," Macerollo said. "That's something we've been saying all season, that's to do the simple things right. And also (we've tried) to get rid of the outside distractions and believe in what we're doing. As a result, it's been going well."

At a glance

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

BOYS

*Sept. 15 -- Lost to Olentangy Orange 4-0

Sept. 17 -- Lost to Olentangy 2-0

Sept. 19 -- Lost to Beavercreek. Jack Buck scored.

Sept. 22 -- Defeated Thomas Worthington 5-1. Tyler Washington scored two goals, and Buck, Trent Guy and Jay Griffith each had one.

Last Saturday -- Lost to DeSales 3-0

*Last Tuesday -- Played Big Walnut

Today -- At Thomas Worthington

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Delaware

Oct. 8 -- At Westerville Central

Of note: The Eagles were 4-4-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Capital before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

*Sept. 15 -- Def. Olentangy Orange 2-0

Sept. 17 -- Def. Olentangy 3-0

Sept. 22 -- Def. Thomas Worthington 4-1

Sept. 24 -- Lost to Watterson 3-0

*Last Tuesday -- Played Big Walnut

Today -- Home vs. Pickerington Central

*Tuesday -- At Delaware

Oct. 8 -- Home vs. Westerville Central

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

*OCC-Capital game