With one of the nation's top goalkeepers and one of the state's top defenders on its roster, it's no wonder the Thomas Worthington High School field hockey team was undefeated entering this week despite having a challenging schedule.
While senior defender Paige Lampman and junior goalie Isabelle Perese have excelled together with the Cardinals the last three seasons, their relationship was forged in another sport.
"We played soccer together for years and I was the center back and she was the goalie," said Lampman, who was all-state last year. "She is just great in goal. Her field vision and instincts are second to none. Our goal is to keep her from having to make saves. Even when she doesn't touch the ball, she's our leader. She is the root of our communication.
"She anticipates who will get the ball on corners and directs us constantly. She keeps us in our mental zone."
Perese was a member of the U17 U.S. national team and has played in the National Futures tournament as well as the Junior Olympics.
"Paige is a year older than me and she switched from soccer to field hockey as a freshman and then kept encouraging me to make the switch," Perese said. "She was a big part of my decision. She came to me and said, 'Belle, I think we can have a lot of fun and do some big things in field hockey.' I came around and agreed with her. I think we made the right decision."
Coach Terri Simonetti Frost is thrilled with the play of her defense, which had allowed just three goals through 10 games.
"Last year when we won the state championship, we allowed 102 shots on cage," she said. "(Through nine games) we've allowed eight shots on cage. We've only allowed 11 corners, too.
"Paige and Isabelle have been phenomenal and (defenders) Izzy Flint-Gonzales and Reilly Ford have been outstanding, too. It's a group thing and they have the right mindset and great leadership back there."
The two-time defending state champion Cardinals defeated Shaker Heights 8-1 on Sept. 15 and Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown 5-0 the following day before beating Columbus Academy 2-1 on Sept. 19.
In Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division games, Thomas defeated Dublin Scioto 9-0 on Sept. 20 and Dublin Jerome 5-0 on Sept. 25 and was 10-0 overall and 5-0 in the league before playing Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 27.
Shaker Heights was state runner-up last season, losing to Thomas 3-0 in the final. Academy has won 10 state championships, while Shaker Heights and Hathaway Brown both have won two state titles.
"Shaker Heights was our best game of the year," Simonetti Frost said. "I was very pleased with the way we played. We communicated so well. We were a little sluggish against Academy, which always is one of the best teams in central Ohio."
Thomas trailed Academy 1-0 at halftime, but Julia Scharff scored off a corner play with 27 minutes, 12 seconds left and Sarah Charley scored the winning goal with 1:32 left. Perese made three saves.
"We thought we scored the first goal of the game, but it was waived off," Simonetti Frost said. "That changed the complexion of the game, but we battled and finished."
Against Scioto, Althea Chan scored three goals and Scharff and Charley each scored two. Rachel Rinaldi and Mollie Estepp also scored.
Boys golfers getting
set for sectional
The boys golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Turnberry, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.
The Cardinals are seeded second at the site behind Olentangy Liberty.
Thomas shot a 312 at Turnberry in the first round of the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament Aug. 8. Aaron Zeller led the Cardinals in that round with a 74. He was followed by Curran Gimeson (75), David LaLonde (79) and Bailey Utterback (84).
Last season, Thomas shot a 321 in the sectional at Turnberry to earn the fourth and final district-qualifying spot as Gimeson shot a 73 to tie two others for second.
"We have played Turnberry twice this year," coach Jay Addy said. "We shot 319 and 312. Our goal going in is to try to finish first or second. That would allow us to tee off on No. 1 at Apple Valley as opposed to starting on hole (No.) 10, which is a much more difficult starting hole, as well as a much more difficult finishing stretch of holes."
Entering this week, Zeller was averaging 73.4 for the season, followed by Gimeson (75.2), LaLonde (78.1), Utterback (84.9) and Jake Savage (87.5).
Girls golfers to
The girls golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Royal American, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.
The Cardinals shot a 505 at Royal American on Aug. 29 in the third round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament, led by Caitlin McWilliams (95) and Megan Burris (115).
Burris (109) and McWilliams (111) competed in a 10-team sectional last year at Mentel Memorial, where the Cardinals finished eighth (409).
Girls soccer team
posts first victory
Claire Sever and Mackenzie Peeke both scored and goalie Brooke Ackley made six saves as the girls soccer team beat Westerville South 2-1 on Sept. 21 for its first victory of the season.
The Cardinals were 1-6-4 overall and 0-2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Scioto on Sept. 26.
Ackley had 11 saves in a scoreless tie with DeSales on Sept. 19.
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis, girls volleyball and boys water polo teams:
Sept. 30 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at Hilliard Darby
Sept. 30 -- Home vs. Hudson
*Oct. 4 -- At Upper Arlington
Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional at Turnberry
Sept. 28 -- Lancaster at Valley View
Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional at Royal American
Sept. 30 -- Home vs. Briggs
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Westerville North
*Oct. 3 -- At Hilliard Darby
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Sept. 30 -- At Logan
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto. The Cardinals lost to the Irish 25-11, 25-15, 25-23 on Sept. 5.
BOYS WATER POLO
Sept. 30 -- Upper Arlington Invitational