For sixth-year Westerville South girls soccer coach Mark Wise, keeping his team's morale high has been a main objective this season.
The Wildcats were 0-7 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before playing Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 17. They had been outscored 34-0 entering the game.
"It's a rough time when you have quality kids working their butts off, doing a great job and not getting the results that they would like on the field," Wise said. "It is very difficult. I have been very proud and blessed to be able to be the coach of these young ladies, who are very resilient and pushing it to the last minute."
The Wildcats' most competitive games were 3-0 losses against Westerville North on Aug. 16, Hilliard Darby on Aug. 20 and Worthington Kilbourne on Aug. 22.
Wise has looked to his seniors to provide leadership during the team's struggles.
"We're all frustrated with how the season has started," senior midfielder Ruthie Curry said. "It's obviously not ideal, but me as well as the other captains have focused on making smaller goals to take it to where we need to be, whether that's getting a goal in the back of the net or making sure we defend a certain area of the field that we didn't do well in the last game.
"Making those small goals is going to affect us and hopefully it's going to make us better."
Sophomore Trinity Gonzalez entered the season as the starting goalkeeper, but has missed time with a dislocated finger suffered during warmups before a game against Rey-noldsburg on Aug. 27.
Freshman Allie Kotik replaced Gonzalez as the starter and has progressed, according to Wise. She had six saves in a 5-0 loss to Reynoldsburg and 10 in a 6-0 loss to Olentangy on Sept. 10.
"Allie is a great keeper -- she works hard, she has a great attitude, her mental perspective on the game is good -- but it's a tough thing to ask her to do," Wise said.
Curry saw time in goal in a 6-0 loss to Upper Arlington on Sept. 3 after Kotik left the game with an injury. Kotik has since returned.
"For that night, I had to step in for 30 minutes," said Curry, who allowed one goal and finished with three saves. "We don't have a third goalie and I'm willing to step in where a player needs to be and try my best in that role, whatever that role has to be."
South will look to break through with a win in games against Licking Heights on Saturday, Sept. 21, Whetstone on Sept. 26 and Newark on Oct. 1. Entering the week, Licking Heights was 4-4, Whetstone was 3-2-2 and Newark was 3-4-1.
South has league games against North on Oct. 3 and Westerville Central on Oct. 10.
"Soccer is definitely a big part of my life," said Curry, who also competes in track and field in the spring. "Our team chemistry has improved from last year."
Girls volleyball coach likes team's progress
First-year girls volleyball coach Haley Adams is pleased with her team's improvement.
The Wildcats were 5-9 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Central on Sept. 17.
"We have made great progress and we are getting better each week," Adams said. "We are working through staying mentally tough and keeping the momentum on our side when things don't go our way. It was a tough loss to North (on Sept. 12), but we are motivated to keep working hard in the gym and come back stronger."
South lost to the Warriors 21-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-13.
Boys golf team closes league play
The boys golf team finished sixth (1-19) in the OCC-Buckeye behind Liberty (19-1), Orange (17-3), Central (11-9), Olentangy (9-11) and North (3-17).
South finished sixth (437) in the final round of the four-round league tournament Sept. 11 at Darby Creek behind first-place Liberty (290). Logan Hunn led the Wildcats with a 104.
Below are the coming schedules for the South cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 21 -- Pickerington Central Invitational
Sept. 19 -- Columbus Academy at Royal American
Sept. 23 -- Reynoldsburg at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 23 -- Delaware, Marysville and Worthington Kilbourne at Worthington Hills
Sept. 25 -- Westerville North at Royal American
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Academy
Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Watterson
*Sept. 24 -- At Olentangy Orange
Sept. 21 -- At Licking Heights
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Orange
Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Central Crossing
Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Big Walnut
*Sept. 19 -- At Olentangy. The Wildcats lost to the Braves 25-16, 25-14, 25-15 on Sept. 3.
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty. The Wildcats lost to the Patriots 25-11, 25-18, 25-7 on Sept. 5.