The Olentangy Orange boys soccer team was unbeaten in its first six contests thanks in part to unselfish play.
First-year coach Brett Weiss said the early success was based on hard work and team unity with everyone playing their role.
"We haven't taken many days off, and we have put a lot of work into becoming a group that competes," said Weiss, whose team was 5-0-1 after defeating Perrysburg 3-1 on Sept. 7 and before opening OCC-Buckeye Division play Sept. 10 against defending champion Liberty. "We're trying to keep it simple for the guys and involve them in reaching their milestones as the season goes along.
"We're realizing what we can do as a group. If we work as a group, we can put ourselves into some successful positions. This is a team that really wants to work together and they want everyone to be a part of everything. That's lucky to have as a coach. They want everyone to contribute."
The Pioneers tied Berlin at 1 on Aug. 16 before winning their next four games. They defeated Pickerington Central 4-2 on Aug. 20 and then beat defending Division I district champion Dublin Coffman 1-0 on Aug. 27.
Senior forward Kyle Stringer scored three goals and senior forward Eddie Muller added two in an 11-0 win over Franklin Heights on Sept. 3. Senior midfielder Jack Kossoudji and junior forward Zach Blendick both scored and senior goalkeeper Kellen Sargent had three saves in a 3-0 win over Gahanna on Sept. 5.
"They are buying into what we are doing, and that's huge," Weiss said. "We're showing good gumption in spots when we're working into trouble and we have found our way out. I'm happy with where we're at.
"In my opinion, we're starting to understand how good we can be if we defend together (and) if we can move together."
Volleyball team to hold top-flight invite
The girls volleyball team will play host to the Columbus Invitational, which features teams from around the state, on Saturday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15.
Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph, Coffman, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, Mason, New Philadelphia, Sparta Highland, Strongsville, Toledo St. Ursula and Watterson will be in attendance.
"We wanted to have some of the top teams from the Northwest, Northeast and Southwest regions," said coach Katie Duy, whose team was 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Westerville South on Sept. 10.
Girls soccer team opens league play
The girls soccer team was 4-1-2 before opening OCC-Buckeye play Sept. 10 against Liberty.
The Pioneers had given up just five goals in their first seven games with four shutouts. Their lone loss was a 2-0 setback against Coffman on Aug. 27.
Payton Kaufman scored as Orange tied host Watterson at 1 on Sept. 7. Goalie Amanda Poorbaugh had six saves.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 14 -- Ohio Wesleyan Invitational at Liberty Park
Sept. 16 -- Home vs. Hartley
*Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Berlin
Sept. 14 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 16 -- Liberty Invitational at Kinsale
Sept. 12 -- Delaware at Blackhawk
Sept. 16 -- Thomas Worthington at Worthington Hills
*Sept. 17 -- At Westerville Central
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Marysville
*Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
Sept. 17 -- At Pickerington Central
*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Sept. 14-15 -- Columbus Invitational at home
*Sept. 17 -- At Westerville North