Thomas Worthington field hockey coach Terri Simonetti Frost believes soccer has played a big role in her program's success.
"My best players are always soccer players because soccer is field hockey," Simonetti Frost said. "People think field hockey is lacrosse, but soccer is field hockey. That's why (graduates) Sarah Charley, Isabelle Perese and Paige Lampman, all my great soccer players were great field hockey players."
Simonetti Frost is getting production and leadership from another converted soccer player in junior Carmen Reis, who is one of few returning letterwinners from last year's squad.
"Carmen started field hockey as a sophomore in the summer before the season," Simonetti Frost said. "She did some really good things last year, but you're not going to play when you have eight starters (returning). She played in some games, but (has) really stepped up her game (this season). She's really performing for us right now."
Reis and classmate Mollie Estepp are captains on a team that continues to live up to past success despite a lack of experience. There are no seniors on the Cardinals' roster.
Thomas, which had a string of three consecutive state championships end with a 2-1 (3-2 in penalty strokes) loss to Hudson in a state semifinal last season, beat Watterson 4-0 on Sept. 30 and was 9-1-2 overall before playing New Albany on Oct. 2.
The Cardinals, who have a rematch against Hudson on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Watterson, are 7-0 in the COFHL-West Division. Their league finale is Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Upper Arlington.
"There are times when you have very difficult seasons and you ask, 'Should I go back (as coach)?' " Simonetti Frost said. "Of course, you're going to go back. (The state semifinal) was a very difficult loss last year ... but what kept me going was knowing what was coming in and what I had."
The Cardinals' lone loss through 12 games came against Shaker Heights, 2-0 on Sept. 20. They did not allow any goals in the other 11 games, including a pair of scoreless ties against Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown (Sept. 21) and defending state champion Columbus Academy (Sept. 23).
Also last week, Thomas beat Olentangy 5-0 on Sept. 25 and Cincinnati Ursuline 9-0 on Sept. 28.
"That feeling of losing is something that hurts," Reis said. "We definitely are motivated. That's something that we don't want to feel again. That's the driving force. When practice gets hard and runs get tough, that's what we always remember."
Through 12 games, Thomas had outscored its opponents 50-2.
"We have a really young team," Reis said. "It's our teamwork and the way we all come together that makes us good. Every single person has to come together in order for us to succeed, so it's not one person carrying the team with their amazing talent. Instead, we have a lot of people with great talent working together."
Tate Beegle, Leila Boussedra, Mollie Estepp, Reis and Meg Williams each tallied a goal against Olentangy, while Bella Avila had a hat trick and Cate Isaacson scored two goals against Ursuline.
Through 11 games, Estepp and Avila were tied for the team lead in goals with eight apiece and Estepp had a team-high 13 assists. Scarlett Oaks had 21 saves in goal.
"I can't explain it, but I knew this was going to be a great team despite how young they are," Simonetti Frost said. "They wanted it ... they want to come to practice and they want to work hard. They are coachable and they are taking my every word. It's different ... and it's exciting."
Girls tennis team ready for sectional
The girls tennis team beat Hartley 3-2 on Sept. 30 and was 2-13 overall before playing Hilliard Davidson's B team Oct. 2, but many of its losses were tight matches.
"We've been close," coach Andy Sinclair said. "We've dropped either seven or eight matches this season by a 3-2 margin, so ... really close."
The Cardinals' only other win through 15 matches came against Kilbourne, 3-2 in an OCC-Cardinal match Sept. 5. They went 1-6 in the league.
"We're just in a really tough league," Sinclair said. "Dublin Jerome has a chance to win the (Division I state team title). They might be the best team in the whole state and they're in our (league)."
The Cardinals are set to compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Pickerington Central. Riley Dotson, Sydney Cooke and Kate Haydel-Brown are playing singles, with Winnie McKahan and Judy Ray comprising one doubles team and Francesca Decker and Meggie Ray comprising the other.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 10 and 12 at Reynoldsburg.
"As a coach, if your players are making grades and they're all improving and enjoying themselves ... that's what's important," Sinclair said.
Girls water polo team preps for postseason
The girls water polo team went 2-3 at the Beast of the East tournament held Sept. 27 and 28 in Reading, Pennsylvania, to bring its record to 9-14 on the season.
"I've never been one for regular-season games," coach Olivia Miranda said. "It's all just opportunities to work toward states, so I'm not really concerned with (the team's) overall record.
"What I would like to see them do is show up at states and play some competitive games. I'd really like to see them (make a run) and get to that fourth-place game. I think that's an attainable goal for them."
Miranda said the defense is the strength of the team. The Cardinals allowed one goal in the two victories they needed on the final day to place ninth in the Ohio Cup, which they played host to on Sept. 14 and 15.
Through the Ohio Cup, Izzy Thomas had 141 blocks and Leah Lindemeyer had 25 steals to lead Thomas. Maia Lin had a team-high 27 goals, followed by Audrey Taylor with 21 and Nevin Woods with 17.
"Our offense still has a lot to be desired, but we're moving in the right direction," Miranda said. "Having Nevin get confident in that center position will open up our offense and allow not only Nevin some opportunities, but also our outside shooters."
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas cross country, field hockey, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys water polo and girls water polo teams:
Oct. 5 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at home
Oct. 5 -- Hudson at Watterson
Oct. 7 -- At Kilbourne
*Oct. 9 -- At Upper Arlington
Oct. 1 -- Competed in Division I sectional at Darby Creek. The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
*Oct. 8 -- At Kilbourne
*Oct. 3 -- At Hilliard Darby
Oct. 5 -- At New Albany
*Oct. 7 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
*Oct. 3 -- At Hilliard Darby. The Cardinals lost to the Panthers 25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 25-9 on Sept. 5.
*Oct. 7 -- Home vs. Kilbourne. The Cardinals lost to the Wolves 25-22, 25-13, 25-23 on Sept. 10.
Oct. 9 -- At Watterson
BOYS WATER POLO
Oct. 8 -- Home vs Kilbourne
GIRLS WATER POLO
Oct. 4-5 -- Milford Invitational
Oct. 7 -- Home vs. Columbus Hawks
Oct. 8 -- Home vs Kilbourne