Although his team was ranked sixth in last week's Division III state poll, Columbus Academy girls soccer coach Matt Thompson believes the Vikings still can play better.
With the district tournament set to begin Oct. 14, Thompson hopes Academy will reach its peak at the perfect time.
The Vikings were 8-2-2 overall and 5-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Worthington Christian on Oct. 2. They defeated Bexley 1-0 on Sept. 28 as Olivia Archibald scored and goalkeeper Sophie Spolter had eight saves.
"We can play with anyone in the state," Thompson said. "When we're playing to our potential, we're very good. There are a lot of good teams in central Ohio and we have been very competitive with all of them. We've given a couple (games) away late, but hopefully come the postseason we can put 80 minutes together. I'm hoping we will be peaking at the right time and be prepared for whatever we see."
The Vikings entered the week in control of their destiny in the league race with games remaining against Worthington Christian and Buckeye Valley on Oct. 10.
"This is a very competitive league," Thompson said. "From top to bottom, there are no gimmes."
Academy was the highest-ranked team in central Ohio last week. Cincinnati Country Day was ranked first.
The Vikings lost to Fairbanks 1-0 in their opener Aug. 16 and Division I Grove City 2-1 on Aug. 29. They tied Hartley at 2 on Sept. 10 and played West Liberty-Salem to a scoreless tie Sept. 21.
Academy turned in a solid effort in a 6-0 home win over Columbus School for Girls on Sept. 25.
"We put some goals in the back of the net, which is good," Thompson said. "We need to be more consistent with our finishing. We've created a lot of great chances all season. We just haven't capitalized."
Katie Schiano scored three goals, Archibald had two and Sarah Neltner added one.
"I really think the sky is the limit for this team," Neltner said. "We have a lot of potential and we're really showing it recently. As long as we step out on the field and we do what we're trained to do then we'll be fine."
Spolter had one save in goal. Noel Sedlock saw time in the second half and also had one save.
"Sophie is having a nice year," Thompson said. "She continues to get better. She works really hard and as her confidence grows and her technical abilities continue to get better, she's going to be a very good goalie."
Through 12 games, Schiano had seven goals and two assists, Archibald had six goals and two assists, Annalise Grammel had one goal and six assists, Emma Belford had two goals and two assists and Neltner had a goal and three assists.
Spolter had 48 saves and had allowed seven goals.
Freshman girls golfer competes at district
In its first season as a program, the girls golf team had a player qualify for the Division II district tournament Sept. 30 at Darby Creek.
Freshman Grace Luo earned the final individual district berth after finishing third at sectional Sept. 23 at Blacklick Woods. She and London's Kayla Clinger tied with a 95, and Luo advanced with a bogey on the second playoff hole.
"I was a bit surprised because it was a rough day, but I was lucky enough to qualify," Luo said. "I definitely feel proud of myself, but I'm also really grateful for my teammates. Since we're the first girls golf team at Columbus Academy, we're really supportive of each other and we have great potential as a team, especially since we're all freshmen."
Coach Maggie Freytag was impressed with Luo's effort.
"Grace is a very strong player," Freytag said. "She's very consistent. I thought they all had a shot that day. She was great. She didn't know she was going to be a part of a playoff. She got nervous. She calmed herself, she was very competitive and she was able to play her own game. She played really well and was able to pull out the win on the second playoff hole."
The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced from sectional to district. At district, the top team and top individual not on the qualifying team advanced to state Oct. 11 and 12 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
The Vikings finished fourth (402) at sectional behind Newark Catholic (359), CSG (370) and Lakewood (388). Also competing were Eva Baker (101), Eliza Freytag (101), Morgan Crain (105) and Quinn Black (142).
"I was thrilled when we came in fourth," coach Freytag said. "We were one spot away (from district). The girls really played hard. This was their first experience playing in a competitive environment. They really stepped it up. We had a shot and they all put forth their best effort, which is all I can ask for. I was really proud of them."
Fisher Catholic's Meg Saffell (85) and Ready's Clarissa Bachelder (92) also qualified for district as individuals.
Field hockey team remains unscored upon
The field team hockey team bounced back from its first blemish of the season to defeat Hartley 9-0 on Sept. 25.
The Vikings and host Thomas Worthington played to a scoreless tie Sept. 23.
Academy had yet to allow a goal and was 11-0-1 overall and 6-0 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East before playing Granville on Oct. 1.
"Every game you're going in with the intention of winning it," coach Anne Horton said. "When things don't go the way you want them to, you have to go back and take a look and figure out what you need to do to right the direction of where you want the team to be."
Academy and Thomas have developed a rivalry, which has included meeting in the postseason.
The teams last met during the postseason in the 2017 state final, with Thomas winning 1-0.
Sarah Klingerman scored three goals and Avery Mitchell had two against Hartley. Maren Lawrence, Kiersten Thomassey, Annie Wimsatt and Abby Yakam each added a goal.
"It's always nice to take care of business when you're supposed to," Horton said.
Before playing Granville, the Vikings had outscored opponents 58-0.
"That's definitely one of the big strengths of the program this year," Horton said. "With our middies, our backs and our goalie, we are solid."
Below are the coming schedules for the Academy cross country, field hockey, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 5 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
Oct. 2 -- Competed in Division II district tournament at Denison Golf Club. The top team and top individual not on qualifying team advanced to state Oct. 11 and 12 at NorthStar.
*Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
Oct. 7 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township
Oct. 5 -- At Bloom-Carroll
Oct. 7 -- At DeSales
Oct. 3, 5 -- Division II sectional at home. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 10 at Columbus School for Girls and Oct. 12 at Reynoldsburg.
*Oct. 7 -- At Buckeye Valley. The Vikings defeated the Barons 23-25, 25-13, 25-18, 27-25 on Sept. 12.