First-year Whitehall-Yearling High School girls soccer coach Alex Setser has been impressed with his team's development.
Whitehall is 2-9 overall and finished 0-6 in the MSL-Ohio Division. The Rams close the regular season Thursday, Oct. 11, at home against Liberty Union.
"They have played fantastic the last couple of weeks," Setser said. "We have turned it up in practice. They've responded well to that. We have a good foundation set with them and we're looking forward to the (Division II) district tournament. We're going to go out and give somebody a fight."
The Rams learned their district draw Oct. 7. They are seeded 15th of 15 teams and visit fourth-seeded Bloom-Carroll in the first round Monday, Oct. 15.
Freshman Brooklynn Greer has four goals and has emerged as the Rams' top scoring threat. She began playing soccer at the recreational level at a young age before leaving the sport and returning to it at the prep level.
"I'm happy because there's been a lot of improvement since the season started," Greer said. "Coach Setser is great as a coach. All of us have connected with him and do what we're told. We've started winning."
Greer scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Cristo Rey on Sept. 29 as the Rams erased a 1-0 deficit in the second half.
"She is a heck of an athlete," Setser said. "I was pretty confident that we could turn her into being a pretty good soccer player. She's probably been my best developed player this season as far as learning and getting better."
Setser was pleased with his team's effort against Columbus Academy in a 5-0 loss Oct. 4.
"It was a hard-fought match compared to last year (when) we lost 11-0," Setser said.
Setser said senior Illeen Aguirre continues to play well in goal, including making nine saves against Academy.
"Illeen has been absolutely phenomenal," Setser said. "She may have had her best game of the season (against Academy), which helps her being a league game. We're hoping to get her some all-league honors this season being it's her last one."
Whitehall lost at Westland 3-1 on Oct. 6 as the Rams played without Greer, who had another sports commitment.
Football team to visit Bexley
The football team will try to extend its winning streak to seven games when it plays at Bexley on Friday, Oct. 12.
The Rams improved to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the MSL-Ohio with a 46-6 win over visiting Liberty Union on Oct. 5.
Bexley fell to 1-6 overall with a 49-0 loss at Teays Valley on Oct. 5. The Lions are 0-3 in the league.
Despite the Rams' success since losing to Westerville Central 19-6 in the opener Aug. 24, coach Rod Lightfoot believes his team will need to win out if it hopes to qualify for the Division II, Region 7 playoffs.
The Rams were projected to be ninth in the region this week. The top eight teams qualify for the postseason.
"Every time we play in the MSL we have to be on point," Lightfoot said. "It's a matter of execution. We've told them this is a four-game stretch and we have to build on each game and try to peak by Week 10 as we hopefully move into the playoffs. Our region is so strong, I think we have to win out to give us a chance."
Raymell Byrd rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 121 yards as the Rams amassed 518 total yards against Liberty Union.
Wayne Blackshear ran for 97 yards and three touchdown and Christian Gordon had five catches for 96 yards.
For the season, Byrd has rushed for 1,041 yards and 16 touchdowns on 138 carries and completed 43 of 101 passes for 800 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Blackshear has rushed for 408 yards on 82 carries and Gordon has 24 receptions for 454 yards.
Lightfoot said Bexley, which finished 0-10 last year and was limited to 91 yards against Teays Valley, will be ready to compete in the annual rivalry matchup.
"They don't quit," Lightfoot said. "They're obviously struggling right now, but I saw them on film and I didn't see any quit in any of those kids as you would expect. They're going to give us their best game, as I would expect they would. After all, they are our rival."
Girls tennis team competes at sectional
The girls tennis team closed its season in a Division I sectional Oct. 5 at Pickerington Central as the Rams lost in the first round on all five courts.
Izzy Simmons, Shawntavia Craine and Jennifer Duarte-Gonzalez competed in singles. The doubles teams were Leslie Gonzalez and Shaye Parsley and Ingrid Martinez-Gonzalez and Anna von Dolln.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling cross country, boys soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 13 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Camp Bobcat in Chillicothe
Oct. 11 -- At Westerville Central
Oct. 17 -- At 22nd-seeded Hilliard Davidson in first round of Division I district tournament. The Rams are seeded 38th.
*Oct 11 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy. The Rams lost to the Vikings 25-19, 25-13, 25-12 on Sept. 26.
Oct. 15 -- At sixth-seeded Bloom-Carroll in first round of Division II district tournament. Winner plays seventh-seeded Caledonia River Valley in second round Oct. 17 at home of better seed. The Rams are seeded 23rd.