Grace Alguire of the DeSales High School girls soccer team is at home by herself, behind all her teammates.
The senior plays the role of sweeper, the last line of defense before junior goalkeeper Katya Barrett. There are times when she acts as a goalie herself.
Alguire made at least one unofficial save in a 2-1 home loss to Granville -- ranked first in the Division II state poll last week -- on Sept. 26 by stopping a second-half shot before it reached the goal line. In a 1-0 overtime win over the Blue Aces in a district final last year, she helped block a shot late in the second half.
Those efforts are nothing special to Alguire, a two-year starter who also contributed to DeSales' Division II state championship in 2011.
"I'm the last line," she said. "It's all in or nothing."
Even though Alguire isn't particularly vocal, coach Matt d'Auteuil tabbed her to be sweeper shortly after he took over the team in April.
"She's grown into a great sweeper, one of the better ones I've seen," d'Auteuil said. "She's a lead-by-example player. Everything she does between practices, between running, she's always first. She's the one out there showing everyone else how to do the drill. She may not be the most vocal leader, but she leads by example. That's the kind of kid you want on this team."
Such an effort has been both encouraged and necessary for the Stallions as they wait for senior forward Lydia Burke to return from a high-ankle sprain. She is expected back within the next few weeks.
Sophomore midfielder/defender Paige Gilliland also is recovering from an injury.
The Stallions, who were ranked sixth in Division II last week, were 7-4-1 overall and 3-0 in the CCL before playing Watterson -- which also was 3-0 in the league -- on Oct. 1 in the league finale for both teams.
"We are put together with bandages and tape right now," d'Auteuil said.
DeSales' defense has consisted primarily of Alguire, seniors Kathleen Carpenter, Erin Kuisti and Annamaria Pagani and sophomore Jenna Hohman. Carpenter plays the role of stopper.
The Stallions, who played Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown to a 2-all tie on Sept. 28, had allowed 13 goals through 12 games.
"We struggled in the beginning, but it's clicking now," Alguire said. "I know we've struggled some on offense, but we're using that as momentum to prove ourselves (as a defense)."
Boys golf team advances to district
Senior Danny Helin shot a 76 to help power the boys golf team to a second-place finish in a Division II sectional Sept. 24 at Granville Golf Course.
The Stallions shot a 318 to place behind Caledonia River Valley (313), as Bexley (332) secured the third and final district-qualifying spot. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams at district Sept. 30 at River Greens advanced to state Oct. 11 and 12 at NorthStar.
Sophomore Kyle Ransom shot a 79 at sectional to lead the Stallions. Also scoring were senior Ben Dumm (80) and juniors Chris Modie (81) and Jacob Erwin (91).
Three days before sectional, DeSales turned in the same score in the CCL postseason tournament at Cooks Creeks to place second behind St. Charles (304) and ahead of Hartley (328), Watterson (330) and Ready (448).
Girls tennis team set for sectional
The girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Pickerington Central.
Junior Emma Clark, sophomore Taylor Gray and senior Maddy Lyons will play singles, with senior Maura McCabe and junior Corrine McGoldrick comprising one doubles team and juniors Brianna Ellis and Catharine Kistner forming the other.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles will advance to district Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
DeSales was 3-12 overall before playing Worthington Christian on Sept. 30.
The Stallions went 2-2 in the CCL, ending their league schedule with a 5-0 loss to Watterson on Sept. 24 to finish third behind the champion Eagles (4-0) and Columbus School for Girls (3-1) and ahead of Hartley (1-3) and Ready (0-4).
Girls golf team begins postseason
The girls golf team competed in a Division I sectional Oct. 1 at Oakhaven, with the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advancing to district Tuesday, Oct. 8, at The Links at Groveport.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
DeSales ends its regular season Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Pickerington North Fall Classic at The Links at Groveport.