After the Olentangy Orange High School boys soccer team was ranked second in the inaugural Division II area coaches poll released Sept. 2, coach Scott Bryant expected to have to warn his players about not letting it get to their heads.

After the Olentangy Orange High School boys soccer team was ranked second in the inaugural Division II area coaches poll released Sept. 2, coach Scott Bryant expected to have to warn his players about not letting it get to their heads.

That didn't happen.

"Not one kid even brought it up," Bryant said. "I don't think any of them knew to check out the rankings, and we certainly didn't tell them."

With eight sophomores, eight juniors and no seniors, everything is kind of new for the Pioneers. Only two players -- junior defender Max Hunter and junior forward Taylor Rieger -- played varsity last year, both at Olentangy.

"One of the things that has really helped us is we're all pretty close in age," Rieger said. "Since most of us are juniors and sophomores, there haven't been a lot of attitude problems. At the beginning of the season I was a little bit skeptical of how good we were going to be. Everyone gets along and we're all hanging in there and doing well so far."

"The beginning of the season was the first time most of the players had been under the varsity lights," said Bryant, who was an assistant at Olentangy last year. "But I think that has worked to our advantage. These guys don't know how big some situations are."

Orange will play today at Liberty, which is going for a sweep of the Olentangy schools after defeating Olentangy 2-0 on Sept. 8. Through 10 games, Liberty was 8-1-1 and was averaging 2.2 goals per game and allowing 0.9 with four shutouts

"It'll be interesting," Rieger said. "Max and I played club soccer with a lot of their players. They're good guys but we're looking forward to starting a new rivalry with them."

His team lacked varsity experience at the beginning of the season, but Bryant said what helped the Pioneers was that they had a proven player on both the offensive and defensive ends.

Rieger was the second-leading scorer for Olentangy last year with nine goals. Hunter helped guide the Braves to four shutouts last year and was second-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division.

Through eight games this season, Orange was 5-1-2 and Rieger had seven goals and two assists. The defense had three shutouts and had given up seven goals total.

"Max has been leading the defense with Luke Rice, Austin Oberlander and Nick Anderson back there," Bryant said. "I knew we were going to be pretty solid defensively. Taylor is a pretty special player. When the ball is at his feet, he can not only find the open man but put it exactly where it needs to be. We've been able to move him around in the midfield and at forward.

"The biggest thing we have going for us is our attitude and work ethic. Even from the preseason, I saw that these kids hate to lose. We lost our last preseason game 4-1 to Bexley and these guys were very upset. Even though it was a preseason game, these guys didn't take too kindly to getting beat like that."