Ethan Love is quiet and reserved, except when he steps onto the field with the Hilliard Bradley High School boys soccer team.
That's where the senior midfielder is more vocal and assertive, and his play has helped fuel the Jaguars, who were 6-3-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Dublin Jerome on Sept. 25.
"I'm confident and more comfortable when I'm on the soccer field," Love said. "I don't do that much on the outside world. I like being around my teammates and that's what I like most about the sport. It's nice when we come together as a team."
Love had six goals through 10 games, but three came in the two games prior to playing Jerome. He scored twice in a 3-0 league win over Delaware on Sept. 18 and had the game-winner in a 2-1 win over previously unbeaten DeSales on Sept. 20. Entering the game, the Stallions were 8-0, had not allowed any goals and were ranked first in the Division II state poll.
"Ethan can do anything you ask of him on the field," coach Chad Snider said. "He has the ability to create off the dribble and he's really unselfish out there. He could have had four or five more goals, but he is unselfish and he just has been unlucky on some of his finishes."
Love, who started playing soccer at age 5, loves the freedom the sport gives him.
"I have met some great people in the sport and I really don't like sports where you have a designated place you have to be," he said. "In soccer, you can be creative and do different things. I like being able to express myself on the field."
Love was second-team all-league last season but has stepped up his game this fall in order to be a leader for the Jaguars.
"I have been a leader before, but I've really stepped things up a level," he said. "As a senior, you need to be more of a leader. I have to hold people accountable for what they do on the field."
Love plays club soccer in the offseason, but he said it doesn't compare to the high school experience.
"In club, you can pick who you need, but in high school, you have to go with the players that you have," Love said. "You can't go looking for other players. There is more team chemistry in high school, and I really like that teamwork aspect. In club, there are egos all over the place."
Love wants to play at the collegiate level but has yet to make a college decision.
"Creativity and vision are probably the best parts of my game," he said. "I can see the timing of the pass and things other people can't see.
"Before going to college, I need to work on shooting. I can create for other people and myself. I just need to be better at finishing."
The Jaguars remain in the hunt for the OCC-Cardinal title. Entering play Sept. 25, they trailed Dublin Scioto, Jerome and Worthington Kilbourne, all of which were 3-1.
Cross country teams prepare for home meet
The boys and girls cross country teams will be host to the Midwest Meet of Champions on Saturday, Sept. 29.
In last year's event, the girls team finished 18th (411 points) of 26 teams, behind champion Beavercreek (134), as Isabella Brooks (63rd, 19 minutes, 44.29 seconds) led the Jaguars.
Haydon Spaulding (107th, 17:10.17) paced the boys team, which finished 26th (773) of 28 teams, behind champion Perrysburg (153).
The boys team had a strong effort in its tuneup for the Midwest of Champions, as it finished fourth (122) of 17 teams in the Bill Brown Classic on Sept. 22 at Ontario, behind champion Shelby (39).
Eli Schneider (12th, 17:33.87) led the Jaguars, followed by Spaulding (17th, 17:45.62), Dryden Sawchuk (29th, 18:14.53), Max Lanum (31st, 18:16.76), Joshua George (33rd, 18:17.17), Caden Burkhart (38th, 18:25.53) and Zeke Bennett (46th, 18:39.7).
The girls team finished 16th (565) of 47 teams in the Varsity A race of Saturday Night Lights on Sept. 22 at Centerville, behind champion Wheaten (Illinois) Warrensville South (140).
Grace Michel (20th, 20:11.1) led Bradley, followed by Brooks (88th, 21:15.3) and Amber Figueroa (129th, 21:49.4).
Girls soccer team hitting its stride
The girls soccer team was 5-3-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Jerome on Sept. 25 and had lost only once in its previous seven games.
The Jaguars defeated Delaware 2-1 on Sept. 18 in league play as Macy Enneking and Avery Jantonio scored and goalkeeper Emily Keck had three saves.
Lauren Cerda and Enneking both scored two goals in a 6-0 win over Zanesville on Sept. 20.
Through 10 games, Enneking led the team with five goals, followed by Jantonio and Andrea Decker with four apiece.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 29 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at home
Sept. 27 -- Marysville at Darby Creek
Sept. 29 -- Pickerington Central Fall Invitational at Turnberry
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Darby Creek. Top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
Sept. 27 -- Superintendents Cup at Thorn Apple
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial. Top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Big Walnut
*Oct. 2 -- At Dublin Scioto
Sept. 27 -- At Marysville
Sept. 29 -- At Dublin Coffman
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Scioto
Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Davidson
Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne. The Jaguars lost to the Wolves 25-18, 25-15, 25-20 on Aug. 28.
*Oct. 2 -- At Delaware. The Jaguars defeated the Pacers 25-20, 23-25, 26-24, 25-17 on Aug. 30.