With the loss of six key players to graduation and with senior midfielder Zeke Cajigal lost to an injury early this season, the Grove City High School boys soccer team was in search of a scoring threat.
Junior Will Isaac has stepped up for the Greyhounds, who were 5-1-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Reynoldsburg on Sept. 19.
Isaac had a team-high 13 goals through seven games after finishing last season with eight goals and eight assists.
"A big part of my personal skills is I'm pretty quick and just have good dribbling skills," he said. "We have good movement off the ball with me and Bryce Hull up top and also the midfield."
The Greyhounds opened league play by defeating Lancaster 5-0 on Sept. 12 as Hull scored three goals and Isaac added two.
Delaware handed Grove City its first loss 1-0 on Sept. 14.
Isaac has played an even larger role with the loss of Cajigal, who was expected to miss two to three weeks after sustaining a broken nose and septum when he collided with a Westland player while attempting a header in the Greyhounds' 1-0 win Sept. 7. Isaac scored the game's lone goal.
Cajigal, who was special mention all-league last season, has been fitted for a protective mask.
"It's nice to see that we're playing well, but Zeke is a big part of the team," Isaac said. "We still have to manage without him and he's still a good captain."
Grove City entered the season looking to replace the scoring provided last year by 2017 graduates Demree Zinn (16 goals), Michael Rosta (12 goals), Andy Beatty (11 goals) and Zach Sammeth (12 assists).
Isaac has filled that role nicely.
"We knew he was going to be special," coach Bryan Mulvany said. "His freshman year he did this to a lot of the j.v. opponents that we faced and he just continues to work and work and work. The best way to describe the way he approaches soccer is very mature. He treats it as if he's a pro. He takes his training very seriously. He takes his nutrition very seriously."
Hoping to contend for the OCC-Ohio title, Grove City has a key contest Tuesday, Sept. 26, at Gahanna, which was 4-4-1 overall and 1-0 in the league before playing Pickerington North on Sept. 19.
Last season, Grove City went 3-1-1 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Pickerington Central for second behind North (4-1) and ahead of Gahanna (3-2).
The Greyhounds play host to Central on Oct. 3 and visit North on Oct. 10.
Isaac said there are a few keys to Grove City's strong start.
"We come to the game really focused and we take our warmups really seriously, so that's a big part of it, too," said Isaac, whose brother, Nick, is a freshman forward on the team. "The teamwork that we do is a big part."
Mulvany said another key to the success has been the defensive play of goalkeepers Braydon McCloskey and Oaklund Smith and defenders Randy Ith, Tyler Lantzy, Jared Lepard, Austin Rector and Derek White.
Mulvany said White is the most improved player in the program.
Girls golf team
closes league play
The girls golf team finished third in the OCC-Ohio at 11-9, behind co-champions Gahanna and North (18-2) and ahead of Central (7-13), Big Walnut (5-15) and Lancaster (1-19).
The Greyhounds finished third (392) behind first-place Gahanna (336) in the fourth and final round of the league tournament Sept. 12 at Westchester. Lizzie Suer shot a 91 to lead Grove City.
"We have improved so much as a team this year," coach Megan Blaney said. "We will continue to work hard the next several weeks to prepare for sectional."
Boys golf team
The boys golf team closed OCC-Ohio play by finishing third overall at 13-7, behind Gahanna (17-3) and North (14-6) and ahead of Central (12-8), Lancaster (4-16) and Reynoldsburg (0-20).
Grove City finished fourth (338) behind first-place Gahanna (313) in the fourth and final round of the league tournament Sept. 13 at Turnberry. Jeremiah Bane led the Greyhounds with a 75.
Girls soccer team
out to good start
After losing its opener against Westerville North 2-0 on Aug. 26, the girls soccer team had won five consecutive games entering the week.
The Greyhounds were 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Reynoldsburg on Sept. 19.
Grove City opened league play by defeating Lancaster 4-1 on Sept. 12. Anjuli Anderson scored two goals, and Sofie Galiffo and Taryn Martin each had one.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 23 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 26 -- Dublin Coffman, Dublin Scioto and St. Charles at Pinnacle
Sept. 27 -- Olentangy Orange at The Lakes
Sept. 21 -- Westerville North at Royal American
Sept. 26 -- Lancaster at Valley View
Sept. 27 -- Westerville Central at Oakhurst
Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
Sept. 23 -- Home vs. Groveport
*Sept. 26 -- At Gahanna
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Davidson
Sept. 25- Home vs. Marysville
Sept. 26 -- At Hartley
*Sept. 26 -- At Lancaster. The Greyhounds defeated the Gales 10-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 on Sept. 5.