After a Thursday, Sept. 20, rivalry home game against Watterson, the DeSales High School girls soccer team does not play again for a week.
Considering the Stallions' arduous start to the season, coach Sarah Gantz plans to treat the next week like a second preseason. Playing a schedule intentionally loaded with Division I opponents the Stallions potentially could see in the district tournament, DeSales was 1-7-1 overall before playing Watkins Memorial on Sept. 18.
"We're going to treat (this next week) like a training camp all over again. We'll condition, review some things and work on our pace of play," Gantz said. "I'm proud of the girls. It's hard to compete and not get wins, but they're tough and resilient. I'm willing to sacrifice some wins in the regular season if we're a little tougher by tournament time. Even when we've lost, I think those experiences have helped make us a better program."
The Stallions' first victory came in CCL play, 4-1 over Ready on Sept. 6.
After an 0-5 start, DeSales played Thomas Worthington to a scoreless tie Sept. 1 in a game called with 39 minutes left because of bad weather. The Stallions' next game was the win over Ready, and on Sept. 11 they led Upper Arlington 2-0 in the first half before losing 4-3.
DeSales also lost 3-0 at Olentangy, a Division I district runner-up last year, on Sept. 15.
Injuries hampered the Stallions early in the season, as senior defender Domenica Cua missed several games because of a high ankle sprain and freshman midfielder Kylie Hast sat out because of hamstring issues.
"We're healing up and starting to hit our stride," Gantz said. "The biggest thing for us will be trying to keep possession more and control games with our style of play. We're going up against a lot of teams with strong athletes. We have to be prepared to step up and be mentally strong for 80 minutes."
Lindsey Plymale had a team-leading five goals through nine games and Madison Rennie had three.
Girls golf team neared MOGGL title
The girls golf team sought to close out the Mid-Ohio Girls Golf League championship in the fourth and final round of the league tournament Sept. 18 at Village View.
DeSales was 12-0 in the league before the final round. The Stallions shot a 179 in the third round Sept. 11 at Village View to finish ahead of Licking Valley (206), Centerburg (217), Fredericktown (238) and DeSales B (254).
Faith Corn and Amanda Pancake each shot a 42 to share medalist honors. Also scoring for the Stallions were Paige Verfurth (46) and Stephanie Circelli (49).
"I've talked all year with the girls about the fact that you can't be a good golfer until you are a smart golfer, and those lessons have really sunk in," coach Charlie Mitchell said. "They've become better almost automatically considering all the rounds they have played. We haven't seen a lot of super low scores, but we haven't counted any scores in the 50s. We've mostly been shooting in the 170s to maybe 182 or 185 for nine holes, and that's pretty good.
"Our lineup has been pretty consistent. The girls are eager to improve even more."
Girls tennis team falls to Eagles
The girls tennis team entered the week closing in fast on equaling last season's win total, although its hopes for a CCL championship took a hit.
DeSales was 9-2 overall before playing Grove City on Aug. 18 and fell to 2-1 in the league with a 5-0 loss to Watterson on Sept. 13. That loss ended the Stallions' seven-match winning streak.
Their other loss entering the week was to Granville, 3-1 on Aug. 21.
DeSales will visit Hilliard Bradley on Thursday, Sept. 20, before finishing CCL play Tuesday, Sept. 25, at defending league champion Columbus School for Girls. The Unicorns were 1-1 in the CCL before playing Ready on Sept. 18, and Watterson was 2-0 before playing Hartley that same day.
The Stallions, who went 12-7 last year, have not won a league title since 2008. That was the third in program history, with the others coming in 2006 and 1996.
Boys golfers prep for big tourneys
The boys golf team will play its two biggest tournaments of the season to date within the next week, as it participates in the CCL postseason tournament Sunday, Sept. 23, at Apple Valley before a Division II sectional Tuesday, Sept. 25, at The Players Club at Foxfire or Oakhaven.
DeSales finished fourth in the league's preseason tournament Aug. 15 at Darby Creek, shooting a 339 to finish behind St. Charles (293), Hartley (311) and Watterson (316) and ahead of Ready (540).
At sectional, the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 3 at Denison Golf Club.
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 22 -- Tiger Invitational at Pickerington Central
Sept. 20 -- Hartley at Champions
Sept. 22 -- Watterson Invitational at Clover Valley
Sept. 23 -- CCL postseason at Apple Valley
Sept. 25 -- Division II sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire or Oakhaven
Sept. 20 -- Pickerington North at NorthStar
Sept. 25 -- Westerville North at Royal American
Sept. 20 -- At Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 25 -- At St. Charles
*Sept. 20 -- Home vs. Watterson
Sept. 20 -- At Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 25 -- At Columbus School for Girls
*Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Hartley. The Stallions lost to the Hawks 16-25, 25-14, 25-15, 21-25, 15-10 on Sept. 6.