A year after losing to Watterson 1-0 in a Division I district semifinal to finish 12-4-1, the DeSales High School girls soccer team has started well for second-year coach Joshua Brader.

A year after losing to Watterson 1-0 in a Division I district semifinal to finish 12-4-1, the DeSales High School girls soccer team has started well for second-year coach Joshua Brader.

The Stallions entered the season having lost six graduates, including three all-CCL selections, but the returnees had a better understanding of Brader's system. Still, Brader has waited to unveil some of the concepts he used last year, a season which started with promise then fizzled.

Using a more simplified approach, the Stallions won their first five games before losing three of their next four. Brader said he has begun to tack on new concepts as far as the way the team attacks. Although the won-lost record might indicate otherwise, the team has steadily improved. The key, he said, will be making sure the improvement continues through to the postseason.

"I think we peaked a little bit too early last year," Brader said. "This season I actually scaled down a little bit and we're taking things a little bit slower so we're peaking toward tournament time. Last year I threw everything in maybe too quickly."

The Stallions posted shutouts in the first five games. Brader has been able to put together a defense that is a mix of new starters and holdovers from last year's CCL championship team.

Led by junior sweeper Erin Doone, the defense also includes senior defender Jessica Charlemagne, who returns from last year' and sophomore Elle Murray, a first-year starter. The three play in front of senior goalkeeper Mary Vitullo. Brader said she would have started last year for most teams, but for the Stallions, she was stuck behind Lisa Lubke, a 2008 graduate who is now playing at Radford.

"With those three in the back, you're not going to get behind them," Brader said. "If they get beat, they're going to catch you."

Doone is a second-year starter who plays an offensive role for her club team. When she entered the DeSales program as a freshman, the junior varsity team was looking for a sweeper.

"She's a great offensive player, but we need her in the back," Brader said. "She's close to 5-foot-10. She's very fast and she's strong. She's accepted that role. I know she'd love to get forward, but she's doing what's best for the team."

In Brader's system the Stallions defend and attack as a team, which affords Doone more offensive opportunities than one typically would find from a defensive position. When she has the ball within 30 yards of the goal, Brader has instructed her to send the ball into the frame.

"I've gotten used to it," Doone said of the switch. "There's always that offensive stuff I was used to, but if my job is just to get it up to the forwards, that's what I'm going to do."

Two of DeSales' first three losses came to teams which were ranked in the state poll at the time. The only loss to an unranked team was a 1-0 decision against Dublin Coffman on Sept. 4. The Stallions also fell to Pickerington North (3-1 on Sept. 11) and Cincinnati St. Ursula (3-0 on Sept. 13). St. Ursula was ranked third and North was ninth when DeSales played them.

After a CCL game today at Worthington Christian and a home game Saturday against Centerville, which is ranked sixth in th state poll, the Stallions will play Tuesday at Watterson in a game that decided the league championship last season.

The Stallions won 5-0.

"It's always going to be a big rivalry, and we have some extra motivation to come out and get them after they beat us in a district semifinal last year," Doone said. "It will be a pretty good game."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the DeSales boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 16 -- Def. Hartley 3-0. Luke Froehlich scored two goals and Jacob Eganhouse had one.

Sept. 18 -- Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 2-0

*Last Tuesday -- Played Watterson

Today -- Home vs. Upper Arlington

*Tuesday -- Home vs. St. Charles

Of note: The Stallions were 9-10 overall and 3-0 in the CCL before last Tuesday.

GIRLS SOCCER

Last Saturday -- Def. Hartley 1-0. Jen Holton scored.

Last Tuesday -- Played Pickerington North

*Today -- At Worthington Christian

Saturday -- Home vs. Centerville

*Tuesday -- At Watterson

Of note: The Stallions were 6-3 overall before last Tuesday and are 3-0 in the CCL.

TENNIS

*Sept. 16 -- Def. Worthington Christian 4-1

Sept. 18 -- Def. Kilbourne 4-1

*Last Tuesday -- Played Ready

Today -- At Gahanna

Tuesday -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty

Of note: The Stallions were 8-2 overall and 3-0 in the CCL before last Tuesday.

*CCL contest

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the DeSales boys and girls cross country, boys golf, girls golf and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday-- Boys: Finished eighth (184) to champion Cincinnati McNicholas (53) in 17-team All-Ohio Catholic Championships; Girls: Finished eighth (168) to champion Dayton Carroll (94) in 15-team field

Saturday -- At Erin Nance Invitational at London Country Club

Oct. 11 -- At CCL meet at Otterbein

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 18 -- Defeated Hilliard Darby 159-171. Chad Ransom was medalist (36).

Last Saturday -- Finished sixth (324) to champion Mount Vernon (298) in Granville Invitational

Today -- At Heritage vs. Hilliard Darby and Pickerington North

Saturday -- At Hilliard Invitational at Heritage

Tuesday -- At Division I sectional at Granville

Of note: The Stallions finished 5-5 in the CCL.

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 18 -- Finished second (185) to Watterson (154) in final round of MOGGL tournament

Last Tuesday -- Played Westerville South

Last Wednesday -- Played New Albany

Of note: The Stallions finished 36-6 in the MOGGL

VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 16 -- Def. Worthington Christian 25-19, 25-14, 25-18

*Sept. 18 -- Lost to Hartley 25-12, 25-13, 25-15

Last Saturday -- Finished third in Newark Invitational. DeSales beat Westerville North 25-22, 25-23, lost to Fisher Catholic 25-21, 25-15 and beat Upper Arlington 22-25, 25-17, 25-20.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Columbus School for Girls

*Today -- Home vs. Ready. The Stallions lost 25-18, 25-23, 9-25, 25-13 on Sept. 9.

Saturday -- At Centennial vs. Grandview and Centennial

Of note: The Stallions were 6-9 overall and 1-2 in the CCL before last Tuesday.

*CCL contest