As either the right or left winger for the Watterson High School girls soccer team's midfield corps, Elizabeth D'sa often uses her vision on the field to get things started for the offense.
The senior tries to use a similar approach when serving as the school's student body president.
D'sa, who also was class president each of the past three years, considers both her role on the pitch and in student government to be more about service than a means to gaining glory.
She scored a goal in one of Watterson's tournament games last season but is much more likely to assist on goals for a program that has emerged as one of central Ohio's best.
"Something I wanted to do was definitely lead the school because I had so many ideas of what I could do to benefit the school," D'sa said. "It's mainly helping people understand that I would be a servant to them as a leader and that I'd be there to serve them in everything they wanted to achieve to create a school they enjoy going to. I feel like I lead by example (in soccer) and both of them kind of work together."
Watterson was 9-0-1 overall and 2-0 in the CCL after beating DeSales 4-0 on Sept. 20.
Among its victories was a 2-1 win over the state's fourth-ranked team in Division I, Pickerington North, on Sept. 15 at Otterbein.
The Eagles rallied to forge a 1-all tie with Hilliard Darby on Sept. 1.
Watterson continues league action Thursday, Sept. 27, against Ready at Otterbein and plays Saturday, Sept. 29, at Gahanna, which was a district runner-up last season and had allowed just five goals through nine games.
Senior midfielder Sammy Francis scored both goals against North.
The Eagles, who went 8-8-3 last season, also have gotten strong contributions from seniors Becca Marino (forward), Kelsey Gleason (defender), Lauren Lucki (defender), Emma Schossler (defender) and Audrey Shea (defender) and junior Isabella Ginocchi (midfielder), according to second-year coach Scott Dempsey.
Schossler scored three goals against DeSales.
"Composure is our greatest asset right now," Dempsey said. "We've got a great group of captains that are in tremendous leadership positions. Elizabeth D'sa is a captain, she's president of the student body and has done a great job in the midfield. She's a great kid. She's brilliant and is looking at all kinds of Ivy League schools. Megan Eberts is president of the junior class and we've got six others on student council on one level or another, so it's a fantastic group of well-rounded young ladies."
D'sa grew up in Cleveland before moving to the area as a fifth-grader.
She has one brother who played lacrosse and basketball and another who played football and lacrosse, and her father, Roy D'sa, grew up in India and taught Elizabeth the basics of cricket.
Soccer, though, became the sport she would grow to excel in.
D'sa is keeping her college options open athletically and has an eye on possibly studying medicine.
"I really want to go into neuroscience, especially vascular neuroscience," D'sa said. "I'm definitely considering (playing collegiately), but I want to make sure academics are first.
"I'm excited to see where (this season) goes. It feels like there's something special about it. We're off to a very good start and we all have a very good attitude with each other. We're all focused on the team rather than on our individual selves and that's made a really big difference."
Runners looking to get on track
Boys and girls cross country coach Matt McGowan is hoping things come together for his team after heat and postponements affected its early season preparation.
The Eagles compete Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Pickerington North Invitational and then are off until Oct. 13, when they compete in the CCL meet at Otterbein.
The postseason begins Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby with the Division I district meet for the girls team and the Division II district meet for the boys squad.
"With the hot weather we've had, it's hard to train, and we had a meet that got rained out because there was flooding, so we're still trying to see what kind of a team we have," McGowan said. "Hopefully in the next two weeks, we're going to determine if we're going to be as good as last year or better."
Sophomore Will Garey, the only returnee from last year's Division II state-qualifying team, and freshmen Cris Kubatko and Max Latshaw have been leading the boys squad.
Seniors Dominic Giacomin and Dylan Tucker, junior Jimmy Racher and freshman David Druhan have been other contributors for the boys team, which scored 39 points to win the 14-team Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 19 at Whetstone.
Senior Emily Latshaw, juniors Sarah Heink and Bridget Dougherty, sophomores Brooklyn Brush, Danielle Grim, Tessa Whittaker and Emily Vais and freshman Riley Connors have been leading the girls team.
Watterson scored 38 points to finish runner-up to Centerburg (17) in the six-team Arrowhead Invitational.
Girls golfers prep for postseason
The girls golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Westchester, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
New Albany, Pickerington North and Olentangy Liberty are the top teams at the sectional. New Albany won the OCC-Central Division title, North won the OCC-Ohio title and Liberty was runner-up in the OCC-Buckeye.
Watterson has been led by senior Lizzy Steffensmeier, who helped the Eagles advance to district last season at Cooks Creek, where she shot a 74 to tie for seventh.
Steffensmeier has a nine-hole average of 40 and junior Sammy Politz averages 47.
On Sept. 15 in the 12-team Bloom-Carroll Invitational at Pine Hill, the Eagles finished fourth (367) behind champion Hilliard Davidson (346).
Watterson then beat Canal Winchester 176-193 on Sept. 20 at Westchester.
"Hopefully we'll drop some strokes here at the end of the season," coach Debbie Weis said. "The girls all hit the ball well but lose strokes around the green. Except for Lizzy, we're just trying to get the others to bogie golf, which they are all capable of. (We) hope to make a run in sectionals and hopefully get Lizzy to districts and states."
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 29 -- Pickerington North Invitational
*Sept. 27 -- At Lancaster
*Oct. 2 -- At Columbus Academy
*Oct. 3 -- At New Albany
Sept. 29 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Denison Golf Club. Top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
Sept. 27 -- Pickerington Central at Airport
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Westchester. Top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
Sept. 29 -- Home vs. Tree of Life
Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
*Sept. 27 -- Ready at Otterbein
Sept. 29 -- At Gahanna
Sept. 27 -- At Dublin Coffman
*Sept. 27 -- At DeSales. The Eagles lost to the Stallions 25-15, 25-17, 25-16 on Sept. 11.
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Columbus School for Girls. The Eagles beat the Unicorns 25-9, 25-5, 25-10 on Sept. 4.
Oct. 3 -- At Worthington Kilbourne