Despite the Central Crossing boys soccer team needing eight games to earn its first victory, second-year coach Will Denney said it has been a season of steady improvement.

The Comets defeated Briggs 7-2 on Sept. 12 and followed that up with a 2-1 win over Grove City Christian on Sept. 14. They were 2-7 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Marysville on Sept. 17.

Denney said his players have been staying with the process and learning to play as a team.

"I have been preaching to my guys to take the next step, move forward, forget about the last game and focus on improving," he said. "Let's not focus on wins and losses, let's focus on maturing as a team and as people. I think that showed (against Briggs).

"We played great defense and worked together as a team. We finally put together the things we have been working on."

Senior midfielder Marcos Rios-Gutierrez and junior forward Tyler Terrell both scored three goals against the Bruins. Sophomore midfielder Isaiah Prophet also scored.

"We have great listeners on our team," Rios-Gutierrez said. "I don't think I've had the chance to play with a group of players that listens like we do. No matter what happens, they don't hang their heads. They keep their heads high."

Terrell said the Comets have been working as hard off the field as on the field.

"(Denney) wants us to work hard in school and bring that out on the field," Terrell said. "He tells us that we need to put in the effort and the results will come."

Central Crossing opened OCC-Central play with a 5-0 loss to Upper Arlington on Sept. 10, but the game was scoreless at halftime. Freshman goalkeeper Yuriy Gorobchuk had nine saves for the Comets.

"There have been several games on our schedule that when you look at the score, you would have thought they would have been blowouts but they really weren't," Denney said. "If you would talk to the opposing coaches they wouldn't feel that way. Reynoldsburg, (which beat us 5-0 on Sept. 3), said we were one of the toughest defensive teams they had faced this season."

Denney said his team has been at a disadvantage because of the number of freshmen and sophomores in the lineup.

"There are times when we have eight 14- and 15-year-olds on the field," he said. "To try to mature that fast against teams that are constantly reloading with juniors and seniors, that's a tough task."

The Comets have continued to improve, though, because Denney said the players have the appropriate mental makeup to succeed.

"This is the most mentally resilient team that I have ever coached," he said. "They're not quite there in terms of maturity, but that's expected because they are younger. In terms of resilience, they don't get fazed if they lose. They come back and play the next game just as hard and come out of the gate playing strong. It's fun to coach a team like that."

Taylor leads runners at Newark Invitational

Joey Taylor led the boys cross country team in the Newark Invitational on Sept. 14, finishing sixth in 17 minutes, 40.1 seconds.

The Comets finished eighth (166 points) of 10 teams behind champion Glouster Trimble (52).

Hunter Armstrong (26th, 18:47.1), Jake Archer (53rd, 20:27.4), Austin Vazquez (58th, 20:42.1) and Jon Carroll (59th, 20:46.7) also scored for Central Crossing.

The girls did not have enough runners for a team score. Jenny Zamora was 25th (24:23.7) and Rachel Sinyuk was 40th (25:44.3).

Girls soccer team wins two in a row

The girls soccer team was 3-5 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Marysville on Sept. 17.

The Comets had won two consecutive games, defeating Groveport 8-2 on Sept. 12 and Teays Valley 5-2 on Sept. 14. Georgia Lakso had seven goals in the two games, including four against Groveport.

Goalie Rachel Jaynes had eight saves against Groveport and nine against Teays Valley.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 21 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 23 -- OCC Shootout at Little Turtle

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Lancaster

*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 24 -- At Davidson

GIRLS TENNIS

Sept. 24 -- At Westerville South

Sept. 25 -- At Hartley

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 19 -- At Upper Arlington. The Comets lost to the Golden Bears 25-17, 20-25, 25-27, 25-19, 15-12 on Sept. 3.

Sept. 21 -- At Marion Harding

*Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Marysville. The Comets defeated the Monarchs 21-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-16, 15-9 on Sept. 5.

*League contest