In two more years, all three Westerville High Schools are going to have field turf.

In two more years, all three Westerville High Schools are going to have field turf.

With more schools in the area switching to the artificial surface, the Central and South boys soccer teams have responded by adjusting their styles of play.

Central has moved to a more possession-style offense, and South has started playing with a four-man defensive alignment.

"The fact is that we play most of our schedule on turf now," South coach Derek Hone said. "By playing that formation, we can utilize the field better. The turf fields are 15-20 yards wider than football fields."

The adjustment has gone well for both teams. South, which was 4-4-3 overall before last Tuesday, already has surpassed last season's win total when it went 2-12-3.

Central, which was 6-2-1 overall before last Tuesday, is contending for an OCC-Cardinal Division title.

Before last Tuesday, Central was second in the OCC-Cardinal behind Dublin Jerome (4-0). Olentangy (2-1-1) was third, followed by North (1-1-2), Olentangy Liberty (1-2-1), South (0-2-2) and Dublin Scioto (0-2-2).

Central's method of play now features shorter and more controlled passing. In previous years they tried to move the ball aggressively down the sidelines, but with the turf making it easier to judge passes the goal is to work the ball down the field with several passes.

The change has meant leaving a style of play that has helped make the Warhawks a consistently winning program since its inception in 2003.

Since then, Central is the only Westerville boys team to have won a district championship (2007), and it has appeared in district finals in 2005 and 2008.

"It's just the whole team buying in," Pence said. "Everybody has bought into it. It's taken a lot of discipline."

Defensively the change also has meant going from having man-to-man principles on defense to playing a zone.

"It's a complete system," Pence said. "You have to move up the field as a unit. We went from being a man-on-man-type of defense to guys having certain responsibilities and not always going for ball."

Central made the adjustment quickly. Before playing Olentangy at home last Tuesday, the Warhawks were 3-0-1 on their home turf. The lone tie was 2-all to North on Sept. 14 when the Warriors scored in the final minute.

It took a bit longer for South to find its stride. Having used a three-man defensive back with a stopper and a sweeper, the Wildcats started 1-3-2 with four defensive players. Two of their worst losses during that time were on turf fields at Toledo St. Francis (3-1 on Sept. 11) and Dublin Jerome (4-1 on Sept. 14). But in the four games before playing North last Tuesday, the Wildcats were 3-1-1. They have decreased their goals against average from 2.3 goals in the first six games to .25 goals in the four games that followed.

South midfielder Patrick Johnson, a fourth-year varsity player, has had to make the change in his final year as South puts a fourth defender on the field.

"When we played three in the back, it allowed us to have more freedom on the outside," Johnson said. "How we used to play it was more marking our man, now it's more zonal. It's definitely been a tough adjustment."


At a glance

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

CENTRAL BOYS

*Sept 21 - Defeated Dublin Scioto 2-0

*Sept 23 - Def. Worthington Kilbourne 2-1

*Last Tuesday - Played Olentangy

Today - At Hilliard Bradley. The Warhawks won 1-0 last year.

*Tuesday - At Olentangy Liberty. The Warhawks lost 2-1 last year.

Of note: The Warhawks were 6-2-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

CENTRAL GIRLS

*Sept. 21 - Tied Scioto at 2. Aubrey Schirtzinger and Morgan Johnson scored.

Sept. 23 - Lost to Watterson 1-0

*Last Tuesday - Played Olentangy

Today - At Dublin Coffman

*Tuesday - Home vs. Olentangy Liberty. The Warhawks tied Liberty at 2 last year.

Of note: The Warhawks were 3-5-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

NORTH BOYS

Sept. 21 - Def. Olentangy Liberty 1-0.

Sept. 23 - Def. St. Charles 1-0. Logan Coyle scored.

*Last Tuesday - Played South

Today - At Gahanna. The Lions were 11-0-0 before last Tuesday.

*Tuesday - At Marysville. The Monarchs beat North 3-0 last season.

Of note: The Warriors were 5-3-2 overall and 1-1-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

NORTH GIRLS

Sept. 21 - Lost to Olentangy Liberty 1-0.

Sept. 23 - Tied Thomas Worthington at 1. Allie Sieradzki scored.

*Last Tuesday - At South

Saturday - Home vs. Watterson. The Eagles beat North 3-0 last season.

*Tuesday - Home vs. Marysville. The Monarchs were 6-4-1 before last Tuesday.

Of note: The Warriors were 4-5-1 overall and 1-0-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

SOUTH BOYS

*Last Tuesday - Tied Marysville at 1. Joel Davis scored and Ryan McLaughlin had four saves.

Sept. 23 - Lost to Worthington Christian 1-0

Last Saturday - Def. Beechcroft 4-0. Adnan Mohamed (3) and Davis scored.

*Last Tuesday - Played Westerville North

*Tuesday - At Olentangy. The Wildcats lost 1-0 last year.

Of note: The Wildcats were 3-3-3 overall and 0-2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

SOUTH GIRLS

*Last Tuesday - Lost to Marysville 3-0

Last Saturday - Played Mansfield Madison

*Last Tuesday - Played North

Today - Home vs. Canfield

*Tuesday - Home vs. Olentangy. The Wildcats lost 1-0 last year.

Of note: The Wildcats were 0-9 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Saturday.

*OCC-Cardinal game