Something had to change.
The Worthington Kilbourne girls soccer team was mired in a three-game losing streak after a 4-0 loss to Hilliard Bradley in an OCC-Cardinal Division contest Sept. 10, so the captains called a team meeting.
"We had a conversation," junior defender and co-captain Abby English said. "We said we needed to start over. We need to start from the beginning and gain our confidence back because we're a good team."
"The conversation I had with them was about the difference between criticism and constructive criticism and how to really be positive in what we're saying to one another," coach Meghann Moore said. "Everybody was focused on someone else's job instead of doing their job well."
Kilbourne responded with a 3-1 win over Grove City on Sept. 12.
The Greyhounds, who fell to 7-2 with the loss, took a 1-0 lead in the first minute and a half, but that's all the Wolves' defense would allow.
"Right after (Grove City scored), we pulled our back line together and we talked about it," English said. "We changed our formation and then we started working together as a unit. Then we started playing together as a team and that really worked out for us."
Brooke Taylor tied the game later in the first half and English scored the go-ahead goal with 15:44 remaining in the game. Ashten Morris provided an insurance goal just over two minutes later.
"The difference between (Grove City) and (Bradley) was the way (the players) lifted each other up," Moore said. "The vibes that they had out on the field were echoed on the bench. We were really playing as one unit rather than individual players. Abby organized that conversation about doing the little things well."
The Wolves were 3-6 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Scioto on Sept. 17.
Moore pointed out that Kilbourne typically has three captains and they're usually seniors. The Wolves have four this season in English and seniors Sasha Estice, Taylor Leachman and Lauren Lickman.
"I support them 100 percent," English said. "I'm always out there working my hardest and I want to work for them."
Moore considers Kilbourne's strength to be its defense, led by goalkeeper Celeste Soma. Joining English on the back line are Lickman, Morris and Ella Bally.
The Wolves had scored 11 goals through nine games, with nine coming in their three wins.
"Defensively, as an entire team, our coverage is really good from the forwards back," Moore said. "But offensively, we have a really difficult time. We focused on pressing our back lines higher so that all over the field we have pressure."
On Sept. 14, Kilbourne lost 3-1 to Whitehouse Anthony Wayne, which was ranked third in the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association's Division I state poll released Sept. 9. Estice had the Wolves' lone goal against the Generals, who entered the week 9-0 and had outscored their opponents 35-3.
Boys golfers finish league play
The boys golf team shot a 339 in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Sept. 11 at Denison Golf Club to finish fifth behind first-place Dublin Jerome (299).
Garret Meeks led the Wolves with an 84, while Owen Cotterman, Isaac Henry and Mark Towns each carded an 85.
Kilbourne finished 8-20 in the overall league standings, sixth behind Jerome (27-1), Olentangy Berlin (22-6), Bradley (20-8), Delaware (19-9) and Hilliard Darby (11-17) and ahead of Thomas (4-24) and Scioto (1-27).
Henry played three rounds in the league tournament, posting an 83.3 average. Over four rounds, Cotterman and Towns both had an 86 average and Meeks averaged 87.5.
The Wolves turned in similar scores in other recent events, as they shot a 341 in the St. Charles Invitational on Sept. 7 at Brookside, a 342 in the Gdovin Memorial Invitational on Sept. 9 at Zanesville Country Club and a 336 in the Rodney Butt Classic on Sept. 14 at Denison.
"We shoot an 80 to an 85," coach Gavin Meeks said. "We're a short game away from being 75 to 80. It's a few putts or a few chips here or there each round."
In the Rodney Butt Classic, Henry shot an 80, Towns carded an 81, Cotterman shot an 87, Jack Hale shot an 88 and Sam Marano carded an 89.
"We were 336 and we very easily could have been 320," coach Meeks said.
Boys soccer team keeps rolling
The boys soccer team had only one glitch through nine games, a 1-all tie against Jerome in its OCC-Cardinal opener Aug. 27.
Kilbourne was 8-0-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the league before facing Scioto on Sept. 17.
Through nine games, the Wolves had outscored their opponents 26-8. Their defense had not given up more than two goals in a game and had posted four shutouts. Offensively, they had not been shut out and had scored multiple goals in all but two games.
Last week, Kilbourne beat Darby 3-0 in a league contest Sept. 10 and edged Upper Arlington 1-0 on Sept. 12.
"We're a very balanced team," coach Jon Sprunger said. "Some teams defend well and some teams score well ... we do both. We have yet to be shut out."
Brandon Kim had a team-high seven goals through nine games. Keegan Smith and Chris Guerra both had five goals and Ethan Nessington had three assists.
Goalie Tyler Katz had 31 saves to headline a defense that includes Braydon Biehn and Jimmy Sauder.
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis, girls volleyball and water polo teams:
Sept. 21 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 21 -- At Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame
Sept. 21 -- At Cincinnati St. Ursula
Sept. 21 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 23 -- OCC Shootout at Little Turtle
Sept. 19 -- Westerville North at Royal American
Sept. 23 -- Marysville, Delaware and Westerville South at Worthington Hills
Sept. 21 -- At Mount Vernon
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Delaware
*Sept. 24 -- At Delaware
Sept. 23 -- Home vs. Mount Vernon
Sept. 24 -- At Ready
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 24 -- At Dublin Scioto
Sept. 20-21 -- Boys: Packer Classic at Cincinnati Princeton