As the Westerville South High School girls soccer team recovers from some injuries and illnesses, the Wildcats appear to be coming together.
South's offense stood out in wins over Centennial (10-0 on Sept. 6) and Mansfield Madison (7-2 on Sept. 8).
"We're getting there," coach Brandi Tanler said. "We've had some ups and downs this year, but we're improving and we have our kids healthy. Our girls are getting more comfortable with each other. We've tried a couple different formations, so we're finally finding some that work. Offensively, this is by far the most goals (25 through eight games) we've had this early. As far as creating opportunities and putting them in the back of the net, it's much better this year."
Against Centennial, Jenna Applegett and Kambra Crist each scored two goals.
"We're doing better," Applegett said. "I feel like our record doesn't show our true potential. We could be doing a lot better. We could have more wins and (fewer) losses."
Applegett and Stephanie Redd are the only seniors for the Wildcats, who were 3-4-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Hilliard Darby on Sept. 18.
Redd has been impressed with the program's improvement.
"I know that we've grown every year," she said. "This year we have such chemistry between all of us. We're all such good friends and it creates chemistry on the field."
South lost to Dublin Scioto 3-1 on Sept. 11 in an OCC-Cardinal game. Tanler said her team played well and had opportunities to win.
Freshman Toni Lytus, who returned to the lineup from a left knee injury sustained early this season, scored for South. Junior goalkeeper Cara Calland, who missed time because of a right knee injury, made five saves.
"That game helped show us what we need to work on," Redd said. "When we practice it we build from it and learn from it, and the next game we're going to come back better and stronger."
South lost Casey Kusan for the season when the junior forward suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury to her right knee in a 4-0 loss to Worthington Kilbourne on Aug. 28.
Tanler said sophomore Tricia Roederer has moved from defender to outside midfielder to help compensate for the loss of Kusan.
Tanler also said several players are recovering from flu-like symptoms.
South visits Olentangy Orange on Thursday, Sept. 20, and plays host to Westerville Central on Monday, Sept. 24, in a league game.
Central is coached by Devon Cannon, who was an assistant at South last season.
Last season, Central defeated South 4-1.
"Central is always a rivalry just naturally being in Westerville," Tanler said. "It will be a fun game. I know our girls are excited and I'm looking forward to it."
North coach seeing progress
North coach Steve Lesmes was hoping the Warriors could build on their 3-0 league loss to Dublin Jerome on Sept. 11.
The Celtics reached the Division I state final season, losing to Strongsville 1-0.
North goalie Maureen Kelly made six saves.
"Coming off the field at halftime it was 1-0 and I felt like we came out strong," Lesmes said. "When they got that goal we got a little discouraged, but we finished the half strong and I was hoping to come out with a little bit more energy for the start of the second half. If we would have come out with a little more energy, we might have been able to get something going in the final third, which has been a little bit of a struggle for us."
The Warriors play host to Reynoldsburg on Thursday, Sept. 20, and resume league play Tuesday, Sept. 25, at Hilliard Bradley.
"We have a tough schedule and feel like every game -- even though the results aren't coming yet -- we're learning something every game and continuing to get better," Lesmes said.
Central coach happy with results
Central continues to play well under its first-year coach.
"We're getting better," Cannon said. "I'm happier than I was (three) weeks ago. We're definitely getting better, but we aren't completely satisfied."
Junior Alex MacLeod scored three goals in a 6-0 win over Mount Vernon on Sept. 13 and sophomore Marissa Conkins scored in a 1-0 league win over Bradley on Sept. 11.
"Coach's philosophy is always to win and we're here to win and nothing else," senior Morgan Johnson said. "We can't lose, we can't tie. We're here to win."
Cannon said his team is looking forward to its games against Dublin Coffman on Thursday, Sept. 20, and Westerville South on Monday, Sept. 24.
The Warhawks also visit Jerome on Oct. 9.
Coffman is first and Jerome is third in the ThisWeek Super 7 poll.
"It's definitely going to be a couple challenging weeks coming up," Cannon said. "The girls are up to the task against anybody that we might face this year. It's just all about how we come out and play."