The Olentangy Berlin High School boys soccer team is a prime example of a program being better than its record.
The Bears had only one win through 10 games, but had been outscored only 13-10. They were 1-5-4 overall and 0-3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Hilliard Darby on Sept. 25, with their biggest margin of defeat coming in a 2-0 loss to Westerville Central on Sept. 17.
"The game of soccer is unique because you can perform really well with cohesion and everything, and sometimes things just don't go your way," coach Josh Diehl said. "You have to give credit to our opponents because everyone we have been playing is a quality team. We have been so close so many times and the interesting thing about this group of guys is that they keep coming back hungrier. As a coach, that's all you can ask for because you know that we are going to progress and get better every week."
Berlin opened with three consecutive ties -- 2-all against Orange on Aug. 17, scoreless against Whitehall on Aug. 21 and 1-all against Watkins Memorial on Aug. 25. It also tied Hilliard Bradley at 1 on Sept. 4 in league play.
"The most important part is how we are handling ties," sophomore defender Kyle Rinehart said. "When we play to a tie, the guys are frustrated and that's a good thing because we want to win. The next day at training, we're there looking to get better."
The Bears were shut out four times in their first 10 games. Sophomore forward Brendan Greenhalge led the team with three goals and sophomore forward Austin Corley had two.
"We can acknowledge that we're good enough to get the wins and (ties) can be frustrating," Diehl said. "If you keep looking toward the future, you know guys are going to get better and learn how to win those games."
Rinehart said the team was playing well despite not having a senior class as a first-year program. The leadership roles normally held by seniors have fallen to underclassmen.
"One of my biggest roles is to lead the team," Rinehart said. "We don't have seniors so it's important for me to do that (as a captain) even though I'm a sophomore. Dominic Antronica, our other captain, is a junior. I think it's important to be a role model, and I have to be that both on and off the field."
Rinehart said the players are getting used to being part of a new program with different coaches and philosophies.
"All of us are coming in from different schools and programs, and we have been learning about each other, the coaches and how we can fit in," he said. We're doing a good job not just on the back line, but we're playing together well as a unit. We're not giving up a lot of goals."
The Bears will play in the Division II postseason, with the district draw being held Oct. 7.
Diehl said no matter the division, his team would continue to improve as the postseason approaches.
"We're finding a ton of teachable and coachable moments," he said. "To say that the players are young kind of diminishes how much talent that they have. They are really smart and their soccer IQ for their age is exceptional. They are learning hard lessons and they are learning the way we want them to play."
Girls cross country team excels at Jerome
Meghan Boggess led the girls cross country team to a runner-up finish in the Celtic Clash on Sept. 22 at Dublin Jerome.
Boggess finished fourth (19 minutes, 32.4 seconds) as the Bears were second (63 points) of nine teams behind Jonathan Alder (49).
Rebecca Koppelman (seventh, 20:00.0), Katie Balthaser (10th, 20:04.9), Megan Schlabig (18th, 20:44.3), Rachel Fillman (24th, 20:58.7), Maison Lapid (29th, 21:07.0) and Taylor Stark (33rd, 21:29.9) also competed.
The boys were fourth (103) of 11 teams behind champion Jonathan Alder (53). Corey Rinehart (13th, 17:06.0) led the way, followed by Grant Schrieber (17th, 17:10.8), Jack Dunlop (23rd, 17:21.7), Pietro Pozzi (24th, 17:22.0), Jacob Reitz (26th, 17:27.7), Ethan Harsh (39th, 17:49.8) and Ryan Slyh (52nd, 18:11.1).
Brown, Higgins lead girls volleyball team
Elise Brown and Heather Higgins were leading the girls volleyball team through 16 matches.
Higgins, a sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter, had team highs in kills (100) and blocks (18) and had 82 digs and 15 aces. Brown, a freshman setter, led in assists (150) and aces (24).
The Bears were 5-11 overall and 1-8 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Bradley on Sept. 25.
Junior setter Morgan Lenix had 109 assists, 66 kills, 65 digs and 19 aces, and freshman right-side hitter/middle blocker Lauren Young had 66 kills and 13 blocks. Sophomore defensive specialist Jenna Boucher led with 99 digs and junior defensive specialist Shelby Buck had 86 digs.
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 29 -- Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club
Sept. 28 -- At Granville
*Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
*Oct. 3 -- At Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 27 -- Olentangy Orange at Bent Tree
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Denison Golf Club. The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
Sept. 27 -- Liberty, Orange and Olentangy at Bent Tree
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Granville
*Oct. 2 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 27 -- At Westerville North
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
*Oct. 1 -- At Dublin Scioto
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome. The Bears lost to the Celtics 25-18, 20-25, 25-14, 25-10 on Aug. 28.
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington. The Bears lost to the Cardinals 9-25, 25-14, 25-22, 25-22 on Aug. 30.