After the Westerville Central High School girls soccer team suffered its first loss of the season 2-1 at Canal Winchester on Sept. 3, senior captain Alex MacLeod said it was important for the Warhawks to quickly regain their "mojo."
They responded by defeating host Gahanna 3-0 on Sept. 5.
"This game was really important to get our mojo back," MacLeod said. "Everybody played really well. We came out way harder, way better. Coach (Devon Cannon) got our minds right in practice (Sept. 4) and we came out and played really well. I was proud of everybody."
Taylor Howell and Taylor Hosey scored first-half goals and Mariah Moarefdoust scored in the second half. Goalkeeper Trisha Hogue had eight saves.
The two goals allowed against Canal Winchester, which is in its first season in the OCC-Cardinal Division, was a season high.
Allie Ubry scored for Central.
"The defense is letting in minimal goals, but in saying that, we'd like it to be zeros like it was (Sept. 5) all the time," Cannon said.
Central defeated Hilliard Bradley 1-0 on Sept. 9 to improve to 6-1-2 overall and 1-1-1 in the league. Moarefdoust scored and Hogue had four saves.
The Warhawks visit Westerville North on Monday, Sept. 16, and play host to Westerville South on Sept. 23.
"North and South are so much fun to play," MacLeod said. "Those are games we definitely want to win. We're definitely going to come out hard for those games. Those games get intense. There will be bragging rights."
Last season, Central defeated North 3-2 and South 2-0 en route to a 12-4-3 finish.
"We're looking for consistency," Cannon said. "That's the biggest thing. We got a good display of what the girls can play like, but can we do that game to game and just keep improving until it's the end of the year?"
Central's early success included a 1-0 win over Dublin Coffman on Aug. 20. MacLeod scored in the first minute and Hogue had eight saves.
Coffman has won four consecutive Division I district titles and back-to-back OCC-Central championships.
"There are some results that (we) felt like we left out there, but I'm definitely proud of where we're at and where we're going more importantly," Cannon said.
South coach likes team's progress
South girls coach Brandi Tanler was hoping her team could find some consistency, but she has been pleased with its progress nearing the midway point of the season.
Before playing Dublin Scioto on Sept. 10, the Wildcats had yet to win or lose consecutive games. They were 2-2-1 overall and 0-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
"I'm pretty happy with the progress we're making," Tanler said. "We've had to battle some injuries here and there. Aside from that, we're doing pretty well. ... We're just trying to get ourselves healthy so we can be ready towards the end of the season."
After defeating Oregon Clay 2-1 on Aug. 31, the Wildcats lost to Bradley 2-0 on Sept. 3.
Mikaela Couch and Domi-nique Dosky scored against Clay, and senior goalkeeper Cara Calland had 11 saves.
Calland missed the season-opening 3-2 win over New Albany on Aug. 22 after suffering a concussion in the preseason. Sophomore Samantha Ricker had six saves in place of Calland.
"Cara is a big part of our team," Tanler said. "She helps us not only on the field, but with leadership. The girls really listen to what she has to say."
The Wildcats visit Worthington Kilbourne on Saturday, Sept. 14.
The Wolves defeated South 4-0 in an OCC-Cardinal game last season. Kilbourne now is in the OCC-Capital, but Tanler said her team still looks forward to the challenge.
"Kilbourne is always a good rival for us," Tanler said. "They're always a good team and it lets me gauge where we're at based on other teams other than just our league."
Warriors earn 1st win under first-year coach
After beginning the season 0-3-2, the North girls won their first game under first-year coach Brett Weiss, defeating Scioto 3-0 on Sept. 3.
Riley Hammond, Emily Siemer and Peri Wiley scored and goalie Taylor Johnson had two saves.
"I hope the team is coming around," Weiss said. "This is all part of it. They have to get used to what I emphasize and what I pay attention to and what I ask. It's all part of the highs and the lows. We haven't stopped working. We haven't stopped coaching. We haven't stopped trying to get better."
Weiss said the improved defense displayed against Scioto was good to see.
"No title has ever been won by merely outscoring people," he said. "You have to be able to stop them, too. We made a couple personnel changes and did a couple things a little bit different and it certainly paid off for us."
North also defeated host Olentangy 4-3 on Sept. 5, as Wiley, Jennifer Markley, Ronnie Royer and Ashley Walden scored for the Warriors.
"We weren't at our best and there were also some other variables stacked against us, but we kept at it and found a way," Weiss said.
North, which lost to Beavercreek 4-0 on Sept. 7, was 2-4-2 overall and 1-0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Jerome on Sept. 10.
"The more games you play without a loss in the league the better," Weiss said. "We're reminded of it every time we walk through the gym with the banners hanging up. We pay attention to it, yet at the same time, it's nice to get our first win under our belt. That always makes everybody feel a little bit better and, at this point, playing better and getting results league or not is good for us anyway we can get it."