Worthington Kilbourne High School boys soccer coach Jon Sprunger was blissfully unaware Paul Hendricks made his first tackle for the football team in a 28-21 victory over Hilliard Darby on Sept. 12.

Worthington Kilbourne High School boys soccer coach Jon Sprunger was blissfully unaware Paul Hendricks made his first tackle for the football team in a 28-21 victory over Hilliard Darby on Sept. 12.

Hendricks, a goalie in soccer and a kicker in football, was part of a tackle on the opening kickoff.

"We made an agreement he could kick for the football team but he couldn't make any tackles," Sprunger said with a laugh. "I was walking by one of the football coaches (Sept. 13) and he goes, 'Sorry about that last night.' I went, 'I didn't see the game. What happened?' He quickly said, 'Oh, nothing,' and walked away."

"I just came in for the kill," Hendricks said. "I don't want to end up getting hurt, but I really didn't think about it. Being aggressive is part of my nature."

Sprunger can't afford to have Hendricks get injured. Through nine games, he had seven shutouts as the Wolves were 7-1-1. One of those victories was 2-0 on Sept. 18 over DeSales, which was first in the Division II state poll and had been averaging 3.6 goals.

Sprunger said he knows that making the tackle is part of who Hendricks is and why he's successful as a goalie.

Sprunger has been able to harness Hendricks' aggressiveness. Through nine games, Kilbourne was giving up an average of 0.4 goals per game. Although he used four defenders against DeSales, Sprunger generally uses three.

"When you have a very good keeper like Paul, you can use a three-back system," he said. "Paul is a very aggressive keeper. A lot of keepers will sit back and try to make the save. Paul often comes out and gets to the ball before he has to make a save."

"I see myself as sort of a sweeper/keeper," Hendricks said. "Anything that goes over the defenders' heads, I have to clear. My range has to extend beyond the box."

Joining Hendricks in the back are Sage Gardner at center and Brett Hanna and Andrew Taylor on the outside. Gardner and Hendricks are the only two returning starters from last year's defense, which allowed 0.6 goals a game and had 12 shutouts.

Goalie coach Chad Boyd said the play of those three has made Hendricks' job easier.

"This is the kind of year we knew he could be having. He's definitely improved his leader skills," Boyd said. "He's taking his game to the next level."

"We've grown as a unit and we've been able to handle just about anything other teams throw at us," Hendricks said. "Sage has always been strong in the back. The nice thing about Sage is he wins a lot of headers for a guy his size. Brett is incredibly quick. If he ever gets beat, he's able to catch the guy. Andrew's a strong defender and he doesn't beat very much, either."

At a glance

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

KILBOURNE BOYS

*Sept. 16 -- Game at Hilliard Davidson postponed. No makeup date has been set

Sept. 18 -- Defeated DeSales 2-0. Dan Colegrove and Ben Gentry scored.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Central Crossing

Saturday -- At Solon. The Comets were 3-2-1 after losing to Hudson 4-2 on Sept. 15.

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman. The Shamrocks were 5-2-1 after defeating Westerville North 3-0 on Sept. 18.

Oct. 2 -- At Dublin Jerome. The Celtics were 6-1-3 after tying Gahanna at 1 on Sept. 18. The Wolves won 5-0 last year.

Of note: The Wolves were 7-1-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

THOMAS BOYS

*Sept. 16 -- Game at Westland postponed. No makeup date has been set.

Sept. 18 -- Lost to Olentangy Liberty 4-1. Eric Erb scored.

Last Saturday -- Tied Centerville at 1. Brice Sheldon scored.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Hilliard Darby

Today -- At New Albany. The Eagles were 4-5-2 after losing to Westerville North 2-0 last Saturday.

*Tuesday -- At Central Crossing. The Comets were 0-8-1 after tying Teays Valley at 0 last Saturday. The Cardinals won 10-0 last year.

Of note: The Cardinals were 2-5-2 overall and 1-1-1 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

KILBOURNE GIRLS

Sept. 18 -- Def. Westerville Central 2-0. Kendyl Reed and Emily Smith scored.

*Last Saturday -- Tied Davidson at 1. Smith scored.

Last Tuesday -- Played Central Crossing

Today -- At Grove City. The Greyhounds were 6-4-1 after defeating Reynoldsburg 2-1 on Sept. 18. The Wolves won 5-4 in the regular season and 3-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament last year.

*Tuesday -- At Coffman

Oct. 2 -- Home vs. New Albany. The Eagles were 1-8-1 after losing to Watterson 3-0 on Sept. 18.

Of note: The Wolves were 7-0-2 overall and 2-0-2 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

THOMAS GIRLS

*Sept. 16 -- Game vs. Westland postponed. No makeup date has been set.

Sept. 18 -- Def. Olentangy 4-1. Haley Reeb, Ashlee Regenhart, Lily Yednock and Rebecca Sheldon scored.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Hilliard Darby

Today -- At Westerville North. The Warriors were 5-3-2 after losing to Medina 2-1 last Saturday. The Cardinals lost 2-1 last year.

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Central Crossing. The Cardinals won 4-0 last year.

Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Liberty. The Patriots were 2-6-1 after losing to Hilliard Darby 1-0 last Saturday. The Cardinals lost 2-1 last year.

Of note: The Cardinals were 2-8 overall and 0-3 overall in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game