The Reynoldsburg High School girls soccer team saw firsthand the championship level it strives to reach when it faced Gahanna on Sept. 11 and Pickerington North on Sept. 18 in OCC-Ohio Division play.
Facing the two perennial league powers consecutively wasn't something that the Raiders were hoping for or expecting, but coach Dana Ortman believes his team made the best of the situation.
Despite losing 6-0 to defending champion Gahanna, Reynoldsburg is choosing to focus on the fact that all but two of its players are underclassmen who learned from the experience.
The Raiders were scheduled to play Central Crossing on Sept. 13, but the Comets had only 13 players healthy and rescheduled the contest for Sept. 29.
"In Gahanna, they rolled out 10 seniors and we have two, and one (senior) that plays major minutes," Ortman said. "(Gahanna) had played Perrysburg, the No. 1 team in the state, and lost 4-2 (on Sept. 8). It was 5-0 at halftime of our game and in the second half we adjusted to their turf a little bit better.
"We really wanted to play Central Crossing because we wanted to get another game in before playing Pickerington North. Gahanna and Pickerington North are the class of our (league). I think the girls are bearing down and it's just a bear right now. It would have been nice to have some seniors to lean on in a tough game, but we'll have some seniors next year."
The Raiders were 3-3-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the OCC-Ohio before playing North. They travel Thursday, Sept. 20, to Westerville North, play host to Vincent Warren on Saturday, Sept. 22, and face Lancaster on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at home.
Reynoldsburg beat Teays Valley 9-0 on Sept. 1 behind four goals from junior midfielder Katie Broehm and got one goal apiece from sophomore forward Asmara Abram and freshman defender Ceri Goff but lost to Pickerington Central 3-2 on Sept. 4.
Sophomore midfielder Emily Vogelgesang also has been a standout, according to Ortman.
"I think we're just right there, but it's about consistency," Ortman said. "We had Pickerington Central on the ropes but just didn't finish. It was tough to lose that game 3-2. We've had to grow up fast."