Although his team entered the week undefeated, Dublin Scioto boys soccer coach Erik Ekis realizes the Irish will face some stern challenges in the coming weeks.
Scioto was 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 17. The Wolves entered the game 8-0-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the league and were ranked fifth in the Division I state poll released Sept. 9.
"We have quite a bit of work to do," Ekis said. "Nobody is going to play the perfect game night in and night out. We have to continue the things that we're doing well and try and clean up the things that we need to be better with."
Among the Irish's remaining games are league contests Oct. 3 at Hilliard Bradley and Oct. 10 at home against Jerome. Bradley was 14th in the Sept. 9 state poll.
"We have some very talented teams coming up," said Ekis, whose team outscored its first eight opponents 37-5. "We know that every single night it's going to be a battle. We're trying to do the best we can to get our team prepared, but at the end of the day, the players have to be excited to play and I know we are. They respect our opponents, but are ready to give it a battle."
Ekis pointed to the strong play of goalkeeper Declan Farrell as a key to the team's defensive effort.
"Declan has really settled in nicely in goal," Ekis said. "He's doing a fantastic job. He's keeping his job simple. He's exhibiting good leadership, his communication is very good. We can't complain. We love the way he is playing."
Farrell had four saves in a 1-0 league win over Hilliard Darby on Sept. 10.
"It's been a real fun journey so far and we've played fairly well," Farrell said. "I'm not really surprised. The work we were putting in in the offseason was more than I've ever seen. Coach Ekis has really inspired us to do so much this year."
Zack McQuade scored the lone goal against Darby and was tied with Brayden Cunningham for the team lead in goals with seven through eight games. Marshall Smilonich was next with five goals.
"We can always getter better," senior defender/forward Gavin Wigg said. "Coach tells us that every practice. We just have so much to work on. There's always room to improve. We have a ton of potential. We still have a lot of young players. We have 10 seniors, but we still have a lot of good players coming up through the system."
Girls volleyball team vying for league title
The girls volleyball team remains in contention for the OCC-Cardinal title as it was 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the league before playing Delaware on Sept. 17.
Scioto lost to Bradley 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 on Sept. 5. The Jaguars, who visit Scioto on Oct. 3, are 8-0 in the league.
"One of our early season goals was to win the battle of serve and serve-receive and we feel like we are accomplishing that goal," coach Jackie Wilson said. "Our primary passers on serve-receive are putting us in great position to score. The pressure we create from the service line has really caused some problems for other teams.
"To beat the really good teams, we need to get better at winning long rallies and our hitters need to improve their efficiency. If we can improve our scoring offensively and maintain our success on serve and serve-receive, we'll be a tough team to beat."
Through 10 matches, Karleigh Rothe led the team in kills (93) and aces (25) and had 78 digs, Ashleigh Rothe led in assists (158) and had 66 digs, 47 kills, 21 aces and 19 blocks, Lauren Erickson had 99 digs, 81 kills and 19 blocks, Ayva Leon led in digs (107) and Lena Beasley led in blocks (25).
Girls soccer team seeks winning mark
The girls soccer team was 4-4 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Cardinal and looked to end a two-game losing streak when it played Kilbourne on Sept. 17.
Kiarah Richardson scored in a 4-1 loss to Darby on Sept. 10 while goalies Abbey Topetzes (6) and Amara McCullough (1) combined for seven saves.
Rachel Fullerton scored in a 4-1 loss to Olentangy on Sept. 7 and Topetzes had six saves.
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 21 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 19 -- Hilliard Bradley at Darby Creek
Sept. 23 -- OCC Shootout at Little Turtle
Sept. 25 -- Hilliard Darby at Glen Ross
Sept. 24 -- Delaware at Ridge Golf & Gardens
Sept. 25 -- Buckeye Valley at Oakhaven
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Whetstone
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 19 -- At Westerville North
*Sept. 24 -- At Thomas
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Pickerington North
Sept. 23 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central
Sept. 24 -- At Upper Arlington
*Sept. 19 -- At Darby. The Irish defeated the Panthers 25-15, 25-18, 25-22 on Aug. 27.
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne. The Irish defeated the Wolves 28-26, 25-16, 25-22 on Aug. 29.