Moments after a season-opening 4-1 loss at rival Bradley on Aug. 18, Hilliard Davidson High School girls soccer coach Heather Coonfare met with her disappointed players in an attempt to lift their spirits.
Coonfare stressed to her team that it was a long season and its main goals remained achievable.
The Wildcats have responded with several impressive wins and, entering the week, remained in contention for the OCC-Central Division title.
Davidson was 6-6-1 overall and 2-1 in the league before playing Westland on Oct. 3.
"Since the beginning of the season, we're getting progressively better," senior forward/midfielder Gillian Losey said. "We're a really young team. We lost eight seniors last year and most of them were starters. We have two freshmen (Megan Harper and Grace Royer), but we're mostly sophomores. Our team chemistry has gotten a lot better throughout the year."
The Wildcats close league play Tuesday, Oct. 10, at home against Marysville. The Monarchs and Dublin Coffman were tied for first in the OCC-Central at 2-0-1 entering the week. Coffman beat Davidson 1-0 on Sept. 12.
Coonfare lauded her team's performances in a 1-0 victory over Olentangy Orange on Sept. 5, a 5-2 win over Pickerington Central on Sept. 14 and a 3-2 league victory over Upper Arlington on Sept. 19.
Orange and UA are ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, in the Division I district poll.
"I don't feel like anybody we played is far and above out of our league," Coonfare said. "We've lost to some good teams, we've lost to some teams that I thought we were better than, but I believe we're going to do well in the OCC and make a good (Division I district) tournament run, which are our goals."
Coonfare likes the winning culture that has been established since she took over as coach before last season.
"The culture that we had last year and have this year is where we want to be," she said. "(The players are) starting to believe in themselves, even with difficult losses, and we lost a lot of seniors last year. It's really coming around. They're starting to push themselves and we've fought through a lot this year, so I'm very proud of them."
The Wildcats bounced back from a 1-0 loss to Canal Winchester on Sept. 21 to defeat Central Crossing 5-1 in a league contest Sept. 26.
Alivia Wile had three goals and Sonia Vargas scored two against the Comets while goalkeeper Lauren White had two saves.
Coonfare has been pleased with the play of White in goal, but she added that the defense needs to improve as the Wildcats gear up for the postseason.
"We score a fair amount of goals, but we give up too many," Coonfare said.
Through 13 games, Davidson had scored 26 goals and allowed 23.
The Wildcats are missing one of their starting defenders in Ellie Brorein, who is out for the season with a back injury.
"We're happy, but we expect more out of ourselves and I know that we can do better," Losey said. "Our goal is to win the OCC, depending on how Coffman does, and win the rest of our games. ...We're trying to make the most of it and play through every game our hardest."
Davidson closes the regular season Oct. 12 at DeSales and then will turn its attention to the district tournament, which begins Oct. 16.
Through 13 games, Vargas led the Wildcats with 10 goals, followed by Wile (6) and Sydney Brown (5). White had 79 saves.
Boys soccer team
entered week on roll
The boys soccer team rode a three-game winning streak into its contest against Westland on Oct. 3.
The Wildcats were 6-5-1 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Central before playing the Cougars.
Jackson Lightfoot, Daniel Waid and Daiki Matsuoka scored in a 3-0 league win at Central Crossing on Sept. 26.
Davidson closes league play Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Marysville.
Entering the week, the Wildcats were second in the OCC-Central behind Coffman (2-0-1). Davidson lost to Coffman 7-0 on Sept. 12.
for golf teams
The boys and girls golf teams competed in Division I sectionals Oct. 3.
The boys competed at Darby Creek, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to the district tournament Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Apple Valley.
Davidson finished 13th (342) in the 17-team Dublin Jerome Honorary Invitational on Sept. 30 at Tartan Fields, behind champion Jerome (311).
Caleb Stimmel led the Wildcats with a 77, followed by Cole Kazmerzak (87), Jacob Drees (88), Jack Brown (90) and Zach Welch (99).
The girls competed in a sectional at Mentel Memorial, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.
From both district tournaments, the top two teams and two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to their respective state tournaments Oct. 20 and 21 at Ohio State.
Below are the coming schedules for the Davidson cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 7 -- Boys: Portage (Mich.) Invitational; Girls: Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Olentangy
*Oct. 10 -- At Marysville
*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Marysville
Oct. 5, 7 -- Division I sectional at Bradley. Top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 12 at Bradley and Oct. 14 at Upper Arlington.
*Oct. 5 -- At Westland. The Wildcats defeated the Cougars 25-22, 25-14, 25-17 on Sept. 14.
*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Marysville. The Wildcats defeated the Monarchs 26-24, 25-22, 25-22 on Sept. 19.