Olentangy boys looking for right mix
The Olentangy High School boys soccer team has five regular-season games remaining, and nothing is certain.
The Braves entered the week with records of 4-5-1 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Capital Division, still looking to put together more than two consecutive wins. But that isn't the only consistency coach Matt Weiss is hoping to see.
"I'm very confident with our starting 11. We're just inconsistent right now," Weiss said. "Every game we show a new strength and a new weakness. We're just trying to find that consistent level and stay strong. We've moved some players around and brought in some new formations. We're still trying to find that mix that will work out on a consistent basis. That's the challenge right now."
A 1-0 loss at New Albany on Sept. 20 dropped Olentangy into third place in the league, two games behind undefeated leader Orange. The Braves, who played host to Watkins Memorial on Sept. 25, have OCC-Capital games remaining at Mount Vernon on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and at home against Delaware on Oct. 9.
Olentangy also will play host to Worthington Kilbourne on Thursday, Sept. 27, and to Liberty on Oct. 13, and visit Worthington Christian on Oct. 6.
Scoring has been as streaky as everything else for the Braves, who scored 13 goals in back-to-back wins over Franklin Heights (8-1 on Sept. 11) and Watterson (5-3 on Sept. 13) but mustered only a handful of serious scoring chances against New Albany. Meanwhile, the Eagles peppered Braves senior goalkeeper Adam Miller with 10 shots, punching through with 26 minutes to play when Kareem Amr snuck a goal to Miller's right.
"A lot of the goals given up in games we've lost have just been bad mistakes when we break down for a second and the opponent takes advantage of that," Weiss said. "It's been difficult to get us to focus for 80 minutes straight."
New Albany coach Ben Arthurs tipped his cap to Miller, giving him considerable credit for the Eagles' offensive struggles.
"Their keeper was out of this world," Arthurs said. "He really kept them in it. We had six shots in the first half and maybe four or five in the second. That's what we've been working on, trying to finish and put more pressure on the keeper with our defense. We did just that tonight, but he was tough."
Sophomore forward Bryce Johnson led the Braves with seven goals through 10 games. Junior midfielder Logan Schwing had three.
Its struggles aside, if any team knows about peaking at the right time, it's Olentangy. The Braves have reached two consecutive Division I district finals. They went 8-10-2 last year, losing 2-1 (6-5 on penalty kicks) to Reynoldsburg.
"We're looking to challenge every team for all of every game," senior defender Alex Saunders said. "We believe we can win every game from here on out if we play to the best of our ability and everybody plays for one another."