This was the time last season when the Olentangy boys soccer team lost four consecutive games after a 9-0-2 start, only to regain its bearings in time to advance to a Division I district final.
This season, coach Kyle Hamrick sees signs that the Braves' rough patch is behind them and hopes they can take some momentum toward the postseason.
Olentangy snapped a three-game losing streak Sept. 10 when it tied Westerville South at 2 to open OCC-Buckeye Division play, and the Braves had not lost since entering a Sept. 24 game at Westerville Central. They won home games against Thomas Worthington (5-2 on Sept. 12) and Canal Winchester (3-1 on Sept. 14) and played Westerville North to a scoreless tie Sept. 17, and were 4-5-2 overall and 0-0-2 in the OCC-Buckeye before Sept. 24.
"The season has certainly begun to take a turn to the positive," Hamrick said. "Starting with the second half (of a 3-2 season-opening win over Hilliard) Darby (on Aug. 16) and up until our match against (Dublin) Scioto (a 3-1 loss on Sept. 5), we lacked focus on our mission. We had guys who had a tremendous desire to fix an issue of team play by themselves. With Scioto, we were very organized for 50 minutes. Scioto scored two goals very quickly as soon as we began to lose focus.
"When we play with a focus on our mission, when we focus on our style of play, we are one of the top five teams in central Ohio."
Drew Clement's six goals and four assists through 11 games both led the team. Christian Bowens and Colin McComb each had three goals and McComb had three assists.
Goalkeeper Grant Robinson had 53 saves through 11 games.
The Braves face three consecutive games against intra-district rivals beginning Tuesday, Oct. 1, when they play host to Berlin in the first meeting between the programs. Olentangy then finishes the regular season with OCC-Buckeye games Oct. 3 at Orange and Oct. 10 at home against Liberty.
Wilson, Worboy pacing runners
Mikey Worboy and Cara Wilson have been the boys and girls cross country team's top runners, respectively, in every race this season, a streak they look to continue Saturday, Sept. 28, during the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club.
Both recorded their best times of the season during the Ohio Wesleyan Invitational on Sept. 14. Worboy finished second in 16 minutes, 18.1 seconds, and Wilson was 16th in 20:42.2.
In the Celtic Clash on Sept. 21 at Jerome, Worboy paced ninth (16:43.3) to lead the boys to 121 points and fourth place out of 24 teams as Chillicothe Unioto won (44). Also scoring were Chandler Moyer (32nd, 17:24.8), Luke Galloway (35th, 17:31), Taye Gonzalez (41st, 17:34.9) and Jackson Shultz (64th, 17:55.3).
Led by Wilson's 30th-place finish in 20:46.7, the girls placed 12th (374) of 22 teams behind champion Buckeye Valley (98). Wilson was followed by Hannah Moore (59th, 21:45.2), Jessica Morris (102nd, 22:55.4), Aspen Carson (103rd, 22:55.8) and Grace Holt (118th, 23:14.6).
Golf teams prepare for sectional tourneys
The boys and girls golf teams will participate in Division I sectional tournaments Tuesday, Oct. 1.
The boys will play at Denison Golf Club. Other teams in the sectional include defending district champion Dublin Jerome, last year's district runner-up in St. Charles and perennial power Upper Arlington.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
The girls team is in a sectional at Royal American that also includes Jerome, which won six Division I state championships between 2005 and 2015 and is seeking its 10th state tournament appearance. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to district Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.
Below are the coming schedules for the Olentangy cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 28 -- Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Berlin
*Sept. 30 -- At Orange
*Oct. 2 -- At Dublin Jerome
Sept. 26 -- Delaware County Cup at Mill Creek
Sept. 28 -- Jerome Honorary Invitational at the Country Club at Muirfield Village
Oct. 1 -- Division I sectional at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 26 -- Olentangy Cup at Oakhaven
Oct. 1 -- Division I sectional at Royal American
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
Oct. 1 -- At Berlin
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Pickerington North
Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
Sept. 26 -- At Pickerington Central
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Westerville Central. The Braves defeated the Warhawks 25-17, 25-20, 26-24 on Sept. 10.
Sept. 28 -- Block and Gold Invitational at Perrysburg