After Bailey Domer and her teammates on the Pickerington High School Central girls soccer team lace their shoes for a workout, they remove the gum from their mouths and add the chewed pieces to a growing mass at the base of a tree branch near the practice field.

After Bailey Domer and her teammates on the Pickerington High School Central girls soccer team lace their shoes for a workout, they remove the gum from their mouths and add the chewed pieces to a growing mass at the base of a tree branch near the practice field.

The ritual is one of many for the superstitious junior, who is in her third season as the starting center-midfielder for the Tigers.

"You can't chew gum while you're playing soccer," Domer said. "Everyone knows it slows you down in practice and in a game. So every practice since my freshman year, we have put our gum there on that tree. It's just something we do."

Now the clump of chewed gum resembles a tennis ball protruding from the tree. Other rituals Domer performs before playing or practicing: she puts on footies under her soccer socks and spits on her left shoe.

"It's just something I do. I'm also obsessed with left," she said. "My mom always told me left is right and right is not when I was young when she was talking about opening something up. That just kind of clicked and I use it all of the time.

"Given the choice of right or left, I always choose left. I tape my left wrist before the game and put my (uniform) number on it and also put my mom's initials on it."

"They all wrap their wrists and write their numbers on it," coach Angie Pinion said. "I see them passing the (marker) around and writing each other's numbers on their wrists while the (junior varsity) game is going on."

Domer had four goals through 10 games, tying sophomore midfielder Lizzie Auwah for second on the team behind junior forward Megan Marinello, who had five. Domer was Central's leading scorer last season with 10 goals and four assists.

"Bailey is a natural talent as far as athletic ability," Pinion said. "She has been playing soccer for a long time and her playing better makes her stand out on the field. She also is a good team leader as far as getting everyone ready for the game and making sure they stay focused."

Domer started playing soccer when she was 3 years old and uses the sport as an outlet for stress.

"It's a way to pick me up when I'm down," she said. "I love the game and I love the competition. And I try to be vocal on the field. I think it helps bring everyone together."

Domer plays club soccer in the offseason for the Crew Juniors, traveling through much of the country playing the sport.

"I play year-round. We play all over, from Tennessee and Kentucky to Florida," she said. "One thing I think I get from playing so much is field vision. I can see what's on the field. I think I need to work on using my left foot more, but I've been trying to make that better."

Domer said the Tigers had a stretch of top-caliber opponents at the start of the season but that experience should help the team grow into a threat before the Division I district tournament begins.

"In the beginning part of the year, we played our biggest competition and now we need to keep our heads in the game and go out like it's a new season," she said. "We have been getting better as the season has gone along and we can keep getting better going into the postseason."

Among the early setbacks was a 2-0 loss to unbeaten New Albany on Sept. 23.

"I thought we outplayed (New Albany), but we didn't get the win," Pinion said. "We outplayed a very good team, but we found out we had to play 80 full minutes and we had to be able to take advantage of any opportunity to get the ball in the back of the net."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Central and North boys and girls soccer teams:

CENTRAL BOYS

Sept. 20 - Defeated Franklin Heights 5-0. Nate Bucilla, Brandon Koch, Devon Maki, Connor McAndrew and Dillon Ricketts scored and Zach Miller had two saves.

*Sept. 21 - Lost to Groveport 3-1. Travis Peraza scored and Stephen Banick had four saves.

*Last Tuesday - Played Newark

Today - At Big Walnut

*Tuesday - Home vs. Grove City

Oct. 7 - Home vs. Thomas Worthington

*Oct. 12 - At Reynoldsburg

Of note: The Tigers were 3-5-2 overall and 1-3 in OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

CENTRAL GIRLS

*Sept. 21 - Def. Groveport 7-1. Megan Marinello scored three goals, Bailey Domer scored two and Chanelle Bondurant and Nicole Karavakis each scored one. Lisa Slattery had one save.

Sept. 23 - Lost to New Albany 2-0. Slattery had six saves and Lizzie Awuah had three.

Last Monday - Def. Worthington Kilbourne 2-1

*Last Tuesday - Played Newark

Today - Home vs. Big Walnut

*Tuesday - At Grove City

Oct. 9 - At Teays Valley

*Oct. 12 - Home vs. Reynoldsburg

Of note: The Tigers were 5-6 overall and 2-2 in OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Ohio game

NORTH BOYS

*Sept. 21 - Lost to Gahanna 4-1. Evans Sparks scored and Colin Beemiller had eight saves.

Sept. 23 - Def. Hilliard Darby 2-1. Tony Boerio and Tommy Harr scored and Beemiller had four saves.

*Last Tuesday - Played Lancaster

Today - At Central Crossing

*Tuesday - Home vs. Newark

Oct. 9 - At Logan

Oct. 11 - Home vs. Northland

*Oct. 12 - At Grove City

Of note: The Panthers were 6-3-1 overall and 2-1-1 in OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

NORTH GIRLS

*Sept. 21 - Def. Gahanna 2-1. Ashlynn Jones and Shelby Olszewski both scored and Heather Laeufer had three saves.

Sept. 23 - Lost to Hilliard Davidson 1-0. Laeufer had four saves.

*Last Tuesday - Played Lancaster

Today - Home vs. DeSales in makeup game from Sept. 16

Saturday - At Upper Arlington

*Tuesday - At Newark

Oct. 7 - Home vs. Dublin Coffman

*Oct. 12 - Home vs. Grove City

Of note: The Panthers were 7-2 overall and 4-0 in OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Ohio game