The Ready High School girls soccer team might have opened a few eyes throughout central Ohio when it tied defending Division II state champion Bexley 1-all on Aug. 31.

The Ready High School girls soccer team might have opened a few eyes throughout central Ohio when it tied defending Division II state champion Bexley 1-all on Aug. 31.

But the Silver Knights coaching staff wasn't surprised.

Since taking over as coach in 2008, former DeSales star Elise Berry - who helped the Stallions win a pair of state championships and later played at Purdue - has instilled an attitude that focuses on toughness.

Whether it's being mentally stronger or learning to expound their will physically, the Silver Knights quietly have become one of the district's stronger Division II programs.

And they've done so with rosters filled with young players each of the last two seasons. This year, there are no seniors, with just four juniors, four sophomores and a pack of eight freshmen leading the way.

"Each game, my freshmen get stronger and a little bit tougher," Berry said. "With me playing soccer at the college level, I know soccer's not always about being the best-skilled. It's not just kickball, it's about being aggressive. They're really learning soccer, and they're learning that there are 11 players on the field."

The Silver Knights won just two of their first seven games, but two of their losses came to CCL-powers DeSales (3-0 on Sept. 9) and Watterson (8-0 on Sept. 14). Another setback was to a team Berry expects to be strong in the Division II postseason, Wellington (2-0 on Aug. 26).

Ready went 3-10-2 in 2007 but improved to 6-5-3 in Berry's first season in 2008. Last year, the Silver Knights lost to Jonathan Alder 3-2 in their first appearance in a district semifinal and finished 10-4-4 overall.

Ready gets another shot at the Pioneers on Thursday at home and also had games scheduled against Division I programs such as Dublin Scioto (last Thursday) and Grove City (Oct. 7).

Freshman forward Caroline Riewe scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Newark on Sept. 16. Sophomore midfielder Hailey Cartt has been key in defending and distributing.

Junior goalkeeper Lauren Graessle also has been an early standout, according to Berry.

"Having DeSales and Watterson early on our schedule helped us to be pretty physical," Berry said. "I made our schedule tougher on purpose because we want to make a run. I'd love for us to win a state championship this year, and if not this year, I want it next year."

•The girls volleyball team is looking forward to getting another shot at Hartley on Wednesday.

The Silver Knights lost to the defending CCL-champion Hawks 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 on Sept. 9, a match that coach Mike Kusan acknowledges his team "didn't play very well" in.

Ready believes it has reason to be optimistic that it should hang closer to Hartley in the rematch after its 25-17, 25-20, 25-20 victory over DeSales on Sept. 14.

"Hopefully (the loss to Hartley) gave us a chance to learn how to play better on the road," Kusan said. "I think the early loss to Hartley made us refocus and realize that we're not where we needed to be yet."

According to Kusan, senior Erin Sekinger has led the way offensively, while senior libero Lindsey Kusan has led the defense. Junior Katie Weilbacher and sophomore Karley Kusan each has been consistent in setting up the 6-2 offense.

"We knew what (Hartley) was going to do, but we couldn't stop it," coach Kusan said. "We just didn't take care of the ball and had too many passing errors. When we'd make good passes, we had too many hitting errors. It was our first road test, and I think our crowd will be a big difference when we play them the next time at home. We're going to try to improve on our serve-receive and offensively we'll be more aggressive."

•The football team has been getting healthier as it prepares for its third consecutive road game, which will be held Friday at Sidney Lehman Catholic.

Juniors Joe Dado and Cody McCoy returned to action Sept. 17 against Nelsonville-York after each had been out for about a month. Dado was expected to enter the season as a starter on the defensive line while providing depth on the offensive line and McCoy also is playing on both sides of the line.


At a glance

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

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 9 - Lost to DeSales 5-0 Sept. 11 - Tied Whetstone at 1 *Sept. 14 - Lost to Watterson 5-3 Sept. 16 - Game vs. Franklin Heights was postponed because of bad weather Last Tuesday - Def. Harvest Prep 3-0 *Tuesday - At St. Charles Thursday - Home vs. Tree of Life Saturday - Home vs. Cleveland Rhodes

Of note: The Silver Knights are 2-3-2 overall and 0-2 in the CCL.

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 9 - Lost to DeSales 3-0 *Sept. 14 - Lost to Watterson 8-0 Sept. 16 - Def. Newark 2-1 Sept. 18 - Lost to Worthington Christian 2-1 *Last Tuesday - Def. Columbus School for Girls 2-0 Last Thursday - Played Dublin Scioto Last Saturday - Played Grandview *Tuesday - Home vs. Hartley Thursday - At Jonathan Alder Saturday - At Fairbanks

Of note: The Silver Knights were 3-4-1 overall and 0-2 in the CCL before last Thursday.

*CCL contest

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Ready boys and girls cross country, football, boys golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 11 - Boys: Did not score in 14-team Division III race of McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial; Girls: Finished third (119) in 21-team Division II race of McGowan Invitational Sept. 18 - Boys: Did not score in nine-team small-school race of Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks; Girls: Finished first (60) in eight-team small-school race of Central Ohio Invitational Last Saturday - Boys, girls: Competed at Midwest Catholic Invitational Saturday - Boys, girls: At Erin Nance Invitational at London Country Club

FOOTBALL

Sept. 10 - Lost to Licking Valley 48-21 Sept. 17 - Lost to Nelsonville-York 26-16 Last Saturday - Played Covington (Ky.) Holy Cross Friday - At Sidney Lehman Catholic

Of note: The Silver Knights were 2-2 overall before last Saturday.

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 9 - Lost to Wellington 157-169 at Glenross Sept. 13 - Def. Westland 181-198 at Oakhurst *Sept. 14 - Lost to Hartley 177-186 at Jefferson Sept. 15 - Def. Wellington 172-177 at Darby Creek *Sept. 16 - Lost to St. Charles 161-172 at Hickory Hills Last Monday - Lost to Tree of Life 176-179 at Bridgeview Last Wednesday - Match vs. Jonathan Alder was postponed because bad weather. No makeup date has been announced. Tuesday - Division III sectional tournament at Darby Creek

GIRLS TENNIS

Sept. 9 - Def. Fisher Catholic 3-2 Sept. 13 - Def. Canal Winchester 5-0 *Sept. 14 - Lost to DeSales 5-0 Sept. 15 - Def. Briggs 5-0 Last Monday - Def. Fisher Catholic 3-2 *Last Tuesday - Lost to Hartley 5-0 Monday - Home vs. Jonathan Alder *Tuesday - At Watterson

Of note: The Silver Knights are 5-6 overall and 0-3 in the CCL.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 9 - Lost to Hartley 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 Sept. 11 - Def. Amanda-Clearcreek 25-17, 25-19, 25-11 *Sept. 14 - Def. DeSales 25-17, 25-20, 25-20 *Sept. 16 - Def. CSG 25-10, 25-15, 25-15 Sept. 18 - Def. Hilliard Darby 25-11, 25-10, 25-23 *Last Tuesday - Lost to Watterson 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-14 Last Thursday - Played Jonathan Alder Last Saturday - Played Albany Alexander *Wednesday - Home vs. Hartley *Thursday - At DeSales Saturday - Home vs. Grove City

Of note: The Silver Knights were 7-2 overall and 2-2 in the CCL before last Thursday.

*CCL contest