The Delaware Christian School girls volleyball team is off to a strong start in MOCAL play, but coach Jackie Boggs believes her team must play better if it wants to repeat as league champion.

The Delaware Christian School girls volleyball team is off to a strong start in MOCAL play, but coach Jackie Boggs believes her team must play better if it wants to repeat as league champion.

The Eagles were 9-3 overall and 5-0 in the MOCAL before playing Madison Christian on Sept. 22.

The team beat Gahanna Christian 25-27, 25-18, 25-21, 23-25, 15-13 on Sept. 20.

"We're still winning, but we're not playing very well," said Boggs, whose team is seeking its sixth league championship. "We're not playing up to our ability, even though we're playing well enough to win."

According to Boggs, the Eagles played their best matches in the Madison Plains Invitational on Sept. 1, when they defeated West Jefferson 25-20, 25-19 and Worthington Christian 18-25, 25-23, 25-23 before losing to Shekinah Christian 25-18, 25-18.

Delaware Christian didn't play again until Sept. 11 when it defeated Granville Christian 25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 25-17 in MOCAL play.

"I'm not even sure why we had the long break anyway," Boggs said. "We definitely were playing well before it and we came back and were real sluggish. We are working hard in practice to get back to where we were."

Among Delaware Christian's matches after its nine-day layoff was a 22-25, 25-13, 25-7, 19-25, 15-6 win over league-foe Fairfield Christian on Sept. 15.

"We lost seven players from last season and we don't have a lot of experience, so it was a good thing for the young girls to play in a fifth game against Fairfield Christian," Boggs said. "Sooner or later, we're going to have to play in some of those. It was good to get that chance now."

Senior outside hitters Lenora Boyer and Brenna McCullough -- the only returning starters from last season when Delaware Christian finished 21-3 overall and 12-0 in the MOCAL -- have led the Eagles.

"One of them has led us in kills and digs all season," Boggs said. "But even they've been a little inconsistent. We've been fortunate that one of them has played really well when the other hasn't played well. They've only played great together once this season and it was in our loss to Shekinah. I'd like to see Lenora swing a little more and Brenna swing a little less."

Another key player, sophomore setter Rachael Kirby, has been slowed by an ankle injury.

"I think that right-side hitter Sydney Manny has been our most consistent player," Boggs said. "We need our two middles, Bridget Cooper and Erin McCullough, to step up some and become strong hitters. Bridget is relying a little too much on tips right now, but we'll get that straightened out."

Boys soccer team falls to Tree of life

The boys soccer team knows it likely won't win the MOCAL championship this season after losing to Tree of Life 2-1 on Sept. 18.

"I think this was basically for the MOCAL championship," coach Levi Witt said. "I don't expect anybody else in the league will beat Tree. They're a very good team that has been tested by playing against some real good competition. This was our first real test."

Tree of Life, which is in Division III, improved to 4-3-1 overall and 2-0 in the MOCAL with the victory over Delaware Christian, which also is in Division III. The Trojans lost to two of the top Division II teams in the area in Bexley (4-0 on Aug. 21) and Watterson (2-1 on Sept. 15) and one of the top Division III teams in the area in Columbus Academy (5-0 on Aug. 25). Tree of Life tied Division III Grandview at 2 on Sept. 4.

Delaware Christian, which outscored its first eight opponents 46-8, is 1-1 in the MOCAL with the loss to Tree of Life.

Tree of Life took a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick by David Burton with nearly 16 minutes left in the first half. The Eagles tied the score at 1 on a goal by Adam Howser with around 7 minutes left in the first half, but the Trojans' Jordon Dun scored the decisive goal with less than a minute left in the half.

"We had the better of possession in the second half and we had opportunities throughout," Witt said. "I thought Jackson Quist played fantastic and they doubled him all game. He dribbled through the doubles and gave us enough opportunities. We just didn't finish our chances."

Luke McGrath had 17 saves for the Eagles.

Witt said there still is plenty to play for in the second half of the season.

"Sure, we need to remain focused to finish in second place in the league," he said. "If we can do that and win some of our bigger non-league games, that would help us in the district draw. Our focus now has to be on how to best position ourselves in the district tournament and how to prepare for success in the tournament.

"Our end reward might change, but we still have to go out and play our best in every game no matter who the opponent is. So in that respect, there's no change."