The pieces are coming together for the Thomas Worthington High School girls soccer team, according to coach Tim Barton.

The pieces are coming together for the Thomas Worthington High School girls soccer team, according to coach Tim Barton.

After starting 2-2, the Cardinals lost just one of their next eight games.

"We're starting to develop some chemistry, we're getting healthy and our young defense is catching up with our offense," said Barton, whose team improved to 8-3-1 overall with a 4-1 win over Watkins Memorial on Sept. 22 and was 2-2 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Central Crossing on Sept. 23. "We had some injuries to deal with early, but things are clicking now and it's starting to look like it could be an exciting season for us."

The Cardinals tied Gahanna at 1 on Sept. 18. The only other contest they didn't win during the eight-game stretch was a 2-0 loss to Dublin Coffman on Sept. 9.

"Gahanna was 10-0 going into the game and our defense was outstanding," Barton said. "The girls are playing much better defense as a group and it's starting to show."

The defense in front of goalkeeper Rachel McPherson includes center backs Jessica Schweickart and Madelyn Snyder and outside backs Tara Banks and Jordan Fischbach. Brianna Nauman has been coming off the bench to add physical play in the back, Barton said.

McPherson had five saves against Gahanna. She faced only two shots on goal in the second half after neither team scored in the first half.

"McPherson had two tremendous stops in the first half and Gahanna is one of the best offensive teams we've seen this year," Barton said.

"Their goal came when we got caught in a counter and then had a miscommunication. We were down 1-0 15 minutes into the second half, but kept fighting and finally tied it with three-and-a-half minutes left."

Sophomore forward Rian Reid scored off of a scrum in front of the net, as all-state senior forward Jenna Szabo and sophomore forward Grace DeLuca were marked closely. Through 11 games, Szabo and DeLuca both had 10 goals and five assists.

"Everyone is stepping up and our defense has come together with a lot of help from our coaches," Szabo said. "I don't feel like I have to score all of the time because Grace has been a real asset and others are there to help, too. Grace is also a great friend and we have chemistry and work well together because we have similar (playing) styles."

Barton is excited to see his players beginning to jell.

"Our offense has carried us for the better part of the season," he said. "While (Szabo and DeLuca) have been our workhorses, we've gotten great play in the center (midfield) from Grace Smith and in the outside (midfield) from Rian Reid, Brea Weber and Marissa Weiner."

The Cardinals are looking to continue to move forward with the start of the Division I district tournament less than three weeks away.

"If we play to our potential, we have the ability to win a district championship and, if things go well, maybe reach state," Szabo said. "That would be exciting, but a lot of teams can say that. It's up to us to play to our potential."

Winning streak endsfor Kilbourne girls

The Kilbourne girls team had its three-game winning streak snapped Sept. 18 with a 4-0 loss to Olentangy Liberty, which is ranked second in the Division I state poll behind Hudson and was first in the area coaches poll last week.

The Wolves, who were 5-4-2 overall and 2-0-1 in the OCC-Capital before playing Olentangy on Sept. 23, posted three consecutive shutouts before falling to Liberty. The shutouts came against Big Walnut (1-0 on Sept. 9 in an OCC-Capital game), Westerville South (3-0 on Sept. 11) and Columbus Academy (3-0 on Sept. 16).

Kilbourne also recorded a shutout against Mount Vernon in a league game Sept. 2, winning 6-0.

Erin Wesolowski scored and Sarah Johnson had eight saves against Big Walnut. Claire Chilcoat had two goals, Kelsey Nadolson scored one and Johnson had nine saves against South, and Cassidy Crouch had two goals, Nadolson scored one and Johnson made seven saves against Academy.