Worthington News

Soccer

Defense leading Wolves boys

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Defense has been the key to the success of the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys soccer team this season.

The Wolves had allowed nine goals through 15 games and were 8-3-4 overall before facing Olentangy Orange in their regular-season finale Oct. 8. They needed a win over the Pioneers to guarantee at least a share of the OCC-Capital Division championship.

Entering play Oct. 8, Kilbourne and New Albany were tied for first in the league at 5-0-1 and Orange was next at 5-1. New Albany played Mount Vernon on Oct. 8.

"Our defense has been outstanding," coach Jon Sprunger said. "We've got nine shutouts and I don't think (senior goalkeeper) Joey Cipicchio has had to make more than five or six saves in any game. We've used a few different schemes, but mostly we've had four guys back there working in unison."

The leader of the Wolves' defense is center back Carter Grimm, who played for Crew Academy last year but returned to play his senior season with Kilbourne. Sophomore Clark Moats also plays center back but sometimes moves to the midfield depending on the defensive formation Sprunger chooses to utilize. The outside backs are senior Sam Shaffer and sophomore Alex Cash.

Moats and Shaffer were starters last season.

"Those guys go in at the start of the game and rarely come out," Sprunger said. "They're solid and we don't change much in the back. They're very instinctive with what the others will do and they move smoothly to maintain the shape."

Sprunger said Grimm brought confidence and communication back from the Crew Academy and has helped solidify the defense.

"I like our 3-5-2 because we're dominating possession in the midfield," Grimm said. "We've had a good season so far, but it could be better. We've been hurt on set pieces, where we've had mental lapses for 10 seconds that have been costly. I try to remind everyone of our battle cry on corners. I'm yelling out '10 seconds' to everyone and hoping we can focus as a team for those corners and free kicks and those situations."

Sprunger was disappointed with the Wolves' results last week. Kilbourne played host New Albany to a scoreless tie Oct. 1 and lost to Westerville Central 2-1 on Oct. 3. Grimm hopes those games serve as a wake-up call.

"I think we have the potential to win the district title, but we have to play well because there won't be any easy games," Grimm said. "We would have to play Olentangy Liberty in the final and they're the defending state champion, but I'm confident in our ability. If we can play to our ability, we can do this."

Kilbourne is seeded eighth in the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye. It plays host to 43rd-seeded Columbus West in the second round Oct. 19, with the winner advancing to a district semifinal Oct. 23. If the Wolves reach a district final Oct. 26, they likely would face top-seeded Liberty.

Indians end Thomas boys' winning streak

The Thomas boys team had a seven-game winning streak snapped with a 3-0 loss to Canal Winchester on Oct. 5.

The Cardinals, who beat Hilliard Davidson 3-2 in OCC-Central play Oct. 1, were 9-5-1 overall and 4-2 in the league before concluding the regular season Oct. 8 against Liberty.

Thomas is seeded 10th for the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye. It will play host to 45th-seeded Groveport in the second round Oct. 19, with the winner advancing to a district semifinal Oct. 23.

If the Cardinals reach a district final Oct. 26, they likely would play second-seeded Dublin Coffman. They lost to the Shamrocks 7-2 in league play Sept. 10.

Thomas girls seeded ninth in district

The Thomas girls team was 8-5-2 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Central before concluding the regular season Oct. 8 against Liberty.

The Cardinals are seeded ninth in the Division I district tournament and play host to 30th-seeded Delaware in the first round Tuesday, Oct. 15. The winner will play 29th-seeded Reynoldsburg in the second round Oct. 17 at the site of the higher seed.

The second-round winner will advance to a district semifinal Oct. 22.

If Thomas reaches a district final Oct. 26, it likely would face second-seeded Pickerington North, which defeated the Cardinals 2-1 on Aug. 24.

Kilbourne girls draw 14th seed in district

The Kilbourne girls team were 8-5-2 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Capital before facing Orange in its regular-season finale Oct. 8.

The Wolves, who were 1-3-1 in their five games prior to facing Orange, needed to beat the Pioneers to earn a share of the OCC-Capital title. Entering play Oct. 8, Orange was 5-0 in the league and Olentangy and New Albany were 3-2.

Kilbourne is seeded 14th in the Division I district tournament and will play host to 34th-seeded Teays Valley in the first round Tuesday, Oct. 15. The winner will play 18th-seeded Gahanna in the second round Oct. 17 at the site of the higher seed.

The second-round winner will advance to a district semifinal Oct. 22.

If Kilbourne reaches a district final Oct. 26, it likely would play fourth-seeded Davidson.

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