Key league matchups await North boys, girls
The Pickerington High School North boys and girls soccer teams entered the week not having lost a game in OCC-Ohio Division play, but critical matchups still stand between the Panthers and their respective league championships.
The girls were 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Ohio before visiting Groveport on Sept. 24. The Panthers, who were ranked sixth in Division I in last week's Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association state poll, defeated league rival Reynoldsburg 7-0 on Sept. 17 and Marysville 4-1 on Sept. 19. Senior forward Morgan Bittengle and freshman forward Cameron Shedenhelm each scored twice against the Raiders and once against the Monarchs to remain the Panthers' top two scorers.
Bittengle had nine goals and Shedenhelm had eight, and 14 Panthers had scored goals entering the week.
Before Sept. 24, North was tied for the OCC-Ohio lead with Grove City, which it plays in both teams' league finales Oct. 8. Gahanna, which was just behind the Panthers and Greyhounds at 3-0-1, visits North on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
The same three schools lead the OCC-Ohio boys race entering the week, but in a different order. Gahanna and Grove City were tied at 4-0, just ahead of North at 3-0-1.
The Panthers were 6-3-3 overall before playing Groveport on Sept. 24, coming off wins last week over Reynoldsburg (1-0 on Sept. 17) and Marysville (3-1 on Sept. 19) and a scoreless tie at Watkins Memorial on Sept. 21. North finishes its league schedule at Gahanna on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and at home against Grove City on Oct. 8.
A 4-2 loss to Grove City on Sept. 17 dropped the Central girls to 2-2 in the league. Sophomore forward Aisha Suhaiba scored two goals to raise her season total to a team-best eight.
Central rebounded with a 1-0 win at Olentangy on Sept. 19, improving to 6-3-1 overall before a Sept. 24 league game at Newark.
The Tigers boys split two games last week and were 2-6-1 overall and 0-3-1 in the OCC-Ohio before playing host to Newark on Sept. 24. Central lost 4-2 at Grove City on Sept. 16 in a game in which it was outshot 26-8, but rebounded with a 2-0 win over Dublin Scioto on Sept. 19.
Freshman forward/midfielder Dalton McElwain and sophomore forward/midfielder Steve Bauers scored against Scioto. Senior defender Connor Napier and sophomore midfielder Colton Castellon had goals against Grove City.
Bauers and Napier shared the team lead in goals with four apiece through nine games.
— Dave Purpura