Westerville South High School boys soccer coach Wynleux Henderson has made a hard hat the symbol of his team's workmanlike attitude.
After each practice and game, the red hat is presented to the player who best demonstrates that trait.
"Those are the little things that get us going," junior defender/midfielder Brandon Garcia said.
"Last year we didn't have any of that. We didn't think that we had to work hard. It was just high school, but now we work hard just to get that hard hat."
The hat, which is displayed in the bench area during each game, features the team's schedule and results along with team goals.
Henderson vowed to improve the team's work ethic when he took over before last season.
"You watch us play and the culture is changing in a positive direction. I love it," Henderson said.
"The biggest thing this year is changing the culture and making it a little bit more mentally tough to be able to fight out those games we couldn't get to last year. It's a process, but it's one that seems to be going in the right direction."
South opened OCC-Buckeye Division play by rallying for a 1-all tie against Olentangy on Sept. 13. Mohamed Abusaiid scored the tying goal in the second half and goalkeeper Russell Montemarano had eight saves.
"(Montemarano) played an outstanding game against Olentangy," Henderson said. "He really kept us in the game. He's played great. He's played the way I would expect him to play with having sat behind some great goalkeepers and the work that he puts in at practice and the training, but he has to keep playing that way to keep his position and he knows it."
On Sept. 14, Abusaiid scored his second goal of the game in the final two minutes to give the Wildcats a 3-2 victory over Hilliard Bradley. Malani Lungu also scored and Montemarano had 10 saves.
"I'm really happy with the past week," Garcia said. "We've been playing really well. The other teams have been playing really well, too, but I like the style that we're playing. The positivity that's coming from our coaches and our players is good right now."
South was 5-1-2 overall and 0-0-1 in the league before playing Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 19. The Patriots are ranked first in the Division I state poll.
"We have the toughest OCC (division), but there's not much you can do about it other than hope that what we're teaching them is better that night than the other team," Henderson said.
Troy Taylor earned medalist honors in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Buckeye tournament Sept. 13 at Darby Creek, shooting a 69 as the boys golf team finished sixth (397) behind first-place Liberty (302).
South went 0-20 in league play to finish sixth behind Liberty (20-0), Olentangy (14-6), Westerville Central (12-8), Olentangy Orange (10-10) and Westerville North (4-16).
Girls golfers finish
sixth in league
The girls golf team also finished sixth (0-20) in the OCC-Buckeye behind Orange (19-1), Liberty (17-3), Central (12-8), Olentangy (8-12) and North (4-16).
The Wildcats finished sixth (464) behind first-place Orange (290) in the fourth and final round of the league tournament Sept. 12 at Westchester.
Emma Davidson had a 104.
Girls soccer team
drops league opener
The girls soccer team was 2-2-3 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Liberty on Sept. 19.
The Wildcats lost their league opener at Olentangy 5-0 on Sept. 12.
Deja Edwards scored in a 1-all tie against Central Crossing on Sept. 7 and had two goals in a 3-0 win over Pickerington Central on Sept. 5. Payton Jo Glassco also scored against Central.
Below are the coming schedules for the South cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 23 -- Pickerington Central Invitational
Sept. 23 -- Wedgewood Showcase at Wedgewood
Sept. 25 -- Westerville North at Blackhawk
Sept. 26 -- Westerville Central at Medallion
Sept. 26 -- Westerville North at Royal American
Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Pickerington North
*Sept. 26 -- At Olentangy Orange
Sept. 21 -- At Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Orange
Sept. 26 -- At Gahanna
*Sept. 26- At Olentangy. The Wildcats lost to the Braves 26-24, 25-14, 25-10 on Sept. 5.