The Olentangy Orange girls golf team has different expectations entering the Division I postseason.
The Pioneers won the state title in 2016 and 2017 and were state runners-up to New Albany last season. This year, however, they feature an inexperienced lineup led by Natalie Au, the lone holdover from last fall's state appearance.
Au, a junior, said the season has been fun even though the team is not at the same level.
"It was a weird transition period of having a bunch of new players and being the one needed to help lead them through the change," Au said. "Overall, it has been a fun season. We never really knew each other much before the season, but it's been great getting the chance to be able to build memories in a sport I love."
The Pioneers compete in a sectional Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Royal American. The top three teams and top three individuals not on those teams advance to district Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.
"We play Royal American for sectional and one thing I know about it is that it has a lot of power lines over it and that makes me nervous," said Au, whose team also competes in the Olentangy Cup on Thursday, Sept. 26, at Oakhaven. "There is always a small chance that I will hit the power lines and I don't want to do that. It does have nice fairways and greens, and it's always fun to play."
After winning three consecutive league championships, the Pioneers finished sixth (2-18) in the OCC-Buckeye Division behind champion Liberty (20-0).
Au averaged 83.0 in the four rounds of league play, second to medalist Grace Welty (80.3) of Westerville Central. Au shot 80 on Aug. 8 at New Albany Links, 84 on Aug. 14 at Mentel Memorial, 86 on Aug. 28 at Blacklick Woods and 82 on Sept. 4 at Royal American.
Lauren Muffley had the second-best average for Orange with a 108.5 in two rounds.
Girls soccer team playing solid defense
The girls soccer team has been relying on its strong defense.
The Pioneers were 7-2-3 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Westerville South on Sept. 24. They had posted seven shutouts and had allowed only seven goals.
Orange did not allow a goal in its first two league contests, including defeating Liberty 1-0 on Sept. 10 as Sophia Leonetti scored and goalkeeper Amanda Poorbaugh had six saves.
Poorbaugh had two saves in a 3-0 win over Central on Sept. 17.
Girls volleyball team playing well in league
The girls volleyball team was 13-2 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Central on Sept. 24.
The Pioneers defeated Liberty 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 on Sept. 19 to begin the second round of league play. London Davis had 14 kills and Madison Moll had eight kills and four blocks.
Through 15 matches, Davis had a team-high 165 kills, Hanna Borer led with 431 assists, Arianna Jackson had a team-high 26 blocks and Addie Evans led with 204 digs.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange cross country, field hockey, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 28 -- Bear Den Dash at Berlin
Sept. 26 -- At Granville
Sept. 26 -- Delaware County Cup at Mill Creek
Oct. 1 -- Division I sectional at Darby Creek. The top four teams and top four individuals not on those teams advance to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Sept. 26 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Marysville
Sept. 28 -- At New Albany
Sept. 30 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
*Sept. 26 -- At Westerville South. The Pioneers defeated the Wildcats 25-8, 25-13, 25-11 on Sept. 10.