After losing two games and tying another in three of its first four contests, the Westerville South High School boys soccer team started to hit a stride similar to a year ago when it earned the program's first district title since 1993.
However, after losing a strong nucleus to graduation, coach Wynleux Henderson stressed the Wildcats still must establish their own identity.
"I don't think we could ever replace what we had last year," Henderson said. "Our goal is to find our own identity and run with that. It's all about the players that are here right now. If we can focus on this year and keep rolling in the direction that we're rolling then good things will happen."
The Wildcats had won three consecutive games and were 4-2-1 before playing Marysville on Sept. 11. They begin OCC-Buckeye Division play Thursday, Sept. 13, at Olentangy.
South outscored its opponents 8-1 in the three consecutive victories, defeating Columbus Academy 2-0 on Aug. 30, Upper Arlington 1-0 on Sept. 4 and Pickerington Central 5-1 on Sept. 6.
Five players scored against Central, and goalkeepers Russell Montemarano and Asher Rose each made two saves.
Desmond Korenteng scored and Montemarano had eight saves against UA. Chip McGrew and Reece Marcelain scored against Academy, and Montemarano had three saves.
"(That was) a nice little stretch of games before we go into our OCC," Henderson said. "The guys are playing as a team. That's something that we were missing early on, and now the guys are really starting to play more as a team. We're not doing individual things. Now they're playing more as 11 players on the field."
Last season, South went 2-2-1 in the league to finish third behind champion Olentangy Liberty (4-0-1), but the Wildcats beat the Patriots 2-1 in a shootout in the district final. They visit Liberty on Sept. 20.
"Every game in our OCC is tough," Henderson said. "All of them are doing well. Every game is a big battle when it's the OCC-Buckeye, which makes it fun. That's why I love our OCC."
Girls soccer team earns first victory
The girls soccer team earned its first win, defeating Canal Winchester 1-0 on Aug. 30 as Deja Edwards scored and goalie Jenna Villacres had 11 saves.
Edwards scored in a 4-1 loss to UA on Sept. 4.
The Wildcats were 1-4-1 overall before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 11. They open OCC-Buckeye play Thursday, Sept. 13, against visiting Olentangy.
Last season, the Wildcats went 1-3-1 in the league to tie Westerville Central for fourth behind champion Olentangy Orange (4-1).
Girls volleyball team seeks first league win
The girls volleyball team was 2-6 overall before playing Academy on Sept. 11.
The Wildcats are 0-2 in the OCC-Buckeye, losing to Olentangy 25-7, 25-9, 25-11 on Sept. 4 and Liberty 25-11, 25-5, 25-17 on Sept. 6.
Through eight matches, Alyssa Jones led South with 58 kills, followed by Maria Hays with 50. Peyton Guice had 128 assists.
"The team is playing well," coach Veronica Brownlee said. "The challenge of such a tough conference is sometimes difficult for them to handle. I am trying to keep them encouraged."
Below are the coming schedules for the South cross country, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 15 -- Bobcat Invitational at Grandview
Sept. 18 -- Big Walnut at Bent Tree
*Sept. 13 -- At Olentangy
*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Sept. 13 -- At Westland
Sept. 18 -- At Centennial
Sept. 19 -- At Franklin Heights
*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 18 -- At Dublin Jerome