Last Tuesday, the Westerville South High School boys soccer team played Westerville North for bragging rights in a season in which there has been little for South to brag about.

Last Tuesday, the Westerville South High School boys soccer team played Westerville North for bragging rights in a season in which there has been little for South to brag about.

South had a one-week layoff between a 3-1 loss to Marysville and last Tuesday, but there were some good feelings in the days before the Marysville game. South had beaten Lexington 2-1 on Sept. 11 for its first win. In that game the Wildcats also proved they could handle adversity, and that was almost as pleasing as the win since it dealt with a season-long goal.

One of the main goals at the beginning of the season was to get a roster filled with mostly sophomores and juniors responding better than a year ago when things don't go well.

The Wildcats took a step in the right direction against Lexington, which entered that game at 6-2 overall. Lexington led 1-0 at halftime. The Wildcats regrouped during the break and then Milos Govedarica scored two goals to bring the team back.

"Teams would score against us, and you could definitely see a dropoff," senior midfielder Chris Laipple said. "Before (the Lexington game) for the first time all year we were ready to go. Their goal wasn't anything special and that just fired us up."

Despite the team's record, except for a 6-1 loss to Dublin Jerome on Sept. 9, South's games have been close. The Wildcats tied perennial Division II power Bexley at 2 in the opener Aug. 19 and played Clayton Northmont to a scoreless tie on Aug. 23. Northmont was 5-3-2 before last Tuesday.

The Wildcats led 2-0 in a 3-2 loss to Toledo St. Francis on Sept. 6, and their 1-0 loss to Reynoldsburg Aug. 28 was scoreless at halftime.

Those were frustrating outcomes, and coach Derek Hone said the coaches have continued to demand more from the team.

"The coaching staff has worked hard the last two weeks to challenge our leadership and challenge what we still wanted to get out of the season," Hone said. "I think that the past week, a couple of the kids wanted to show us they still wanted more out of the season."

South has struggled with numbers this year and Laipple sees that as one reason why the team has struggled. Hone puts the players through what Laipple called "intense" practices, but the competitions for spots aren't as fierce as they might be in larger program.

"Obviously if you have more people, you have more depth," Laipple said. "With less people, if someone is doing bad, they can just call up players from the junior varsity. With less people, I think people know they're going to play."

After playing North last Tuesday, South is off for another week until it plays host to Olentangy. The Braves were just 2-6-1 overall and 1-2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before last Tuesday.

The Braves' struggles have come through their offensive production. They have been shut out three times and three other times held to one score before their game against Westerville Central last Tuesday.