Columbus Academy girls soccer coach Kelly Snead hopes it will continue to be a season of firsts for her team.

Columbus Academy girls soccer coach Kelly Snead hopes it will continue to be a season of firsts for her team.

The Vikings earned their first win over rival Bexley on Sept. 8, beating the Lions 3-1.

Academy now is seeking its first MSL-Cardinal/Ohio Division title and the program's first state championship.

Academy, which was 9-0-1 overall before playing Granville on Sept. 27, was No. 1 in last week's Division III state poll, the first time it had topped the rankings. The Vikings and Blue Aces entered their matchup tied for first in the league at 4-0.

Snead believes her team has the potential to reach its goals.

"We're telling the girls this is the year of our firsts: First in the state for the first time ever, first time possibly winning the league, first time we've beaten Bexley, first time we've scored on Bexley. It's just one thing after another. It feels pretty good right now," Snead said.

The Vikings should be tested when they visit Division I Olentangy Liberty on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Academy resumes league play Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Fisher Catholic. It also plays league games against Grandview on Oct. 11 and West Jefferson on Oct. 13.

Before Sept. 27, the Vikings' lone blemish was a 2-all tie against Division II Bloom-Carroll on Aug. 30.

"It's going really well," senior captain Erin Simmons said. "I'm really happy this is happening. Everything seems to be going well and we're working as a team. We're definitely not there yet. We have a lot of work to do. Although we are playing well against the teams that we have played, we have a few bigger games coming up against some bigger schools."

The Vikings competed at the Division II level since the team's inception in 2003, but moved to Division III when it was added by the OHSAA before this season.

Despite the drop in divisions, the Vikings' schedule has remained challenging with games against Liberty and several Division II programs.

Academy has received a balanced attack this season led by Simmons, who had 14 goals before Sept. 27. Senior midfielder Alisho Ho had 12 goals and senior midfielder Logan Berlet and sophomore midfielder Kat Weikert each had 10 assists.

Senior goalkeeper Maggie McGuire had 43 saves.

"They're playing exactly like how I felt that they would," Snead said. "We have (nine) returning starters and we had a couple holes to fill, and the freshmen have come in and really stepped up this year, so it's been nice to have freshmen that can fit right in with the girls."

Freshmen Jenna Berlet (midfielder), Kelly Brown (defender) and Annie Meachum (midfielder) have been key contributors, according to Snead.

•The football team helped celebrate the school's 100th anniversary by beating Newark Catholic 20-10 on Sept. 23 to improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio.

Fireworks capped the evening.

"It was quite a celebration," coach Jim Collis said. "There were all kinds of things going on all night. It was wild. There were close to 5,000 people there. The kids had fun and they found a way to pull it out. It was a good win. It was a great community thing, so it worked out well."

The Vikings continue their pursuit of a league title when they visit Heath on Friday, Sept 30.

The Bulldogs are 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the league, including a 15-13 loss to Newark Catholic on Sept. 16. Heath lost to Whitehall 15-8 on Sept. 23.

Last season, Academy lost to Heath 43-14. The Bulldogs finished 10-2 after losing to eventual state champion Hartley 39-26 in a Division IV regional semifinal.

Against Newark Catholic, quarterback Jacob Wilson led the Vikings by passing for 206 yards and three touchdowns. His 3-yard touchdown pass to running back R.J. Watters gave Academy a 20-3 lead with 4 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the game.

"We stepped up, but we didn't play as well as I would have liked to have seen us play," Collis said. "We have the ability to play better, but we played well enough to win."

For the season, Wilson has completed 39 of 67 passes for 741 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

Jared Harris has rushed for 518 yards and five touchdowns on 76 carries, and Watters has 440 yards and five touchdowns on 54 carries. Watters leads the team in receiving with 12 catches for 269 yards and four touchdowns.

Academy and Granville are tied for first in the league at 2-0. The teams meet in the regular-season finale Oct. 28 at Granville.

Granville defeated defending league champion Licking Valley 28-21 on Sept. 23.

"We still have room for improvement," Collis said. "I thought we had a chance to be a pretty good football team going in and we're a little banged up with some injuries now, but hopefully we'll start to get some people back and be able to find ways to get the other guys who need to step up and play to play, and continue to win."