Living abroad led to an unintended but positive development for Grace Poorbaugh. It has helped the senior dominate in the midfield for the Olentangy Orange girls soccer team.

The Poorbaugh family moved to the Netherlands on Dec. 19, 2013, a date commemorated on a pendant around her neck. The experience was eye-opening, not only visually but physically.

"I was there for two and a half years and returned the summer before my freshman year (2016)," she said. "I got to be more independent and be on my own more. You walked everywhere or rode a bike. You travel a lot to see different cultures. It was a great experience."

Her game also improved because girls soccer wasn't as advanced as in the U.S. Instead, Poorbaugh played on an elite girls team that competed in a boys league.

"The girls weren't very good over there so they had a talent team for all of the better girls soccer players to play in a (boys) league," she said. "(The boys) are obviously faster and stronger so you have to figure out as a team and individually how to work around them and beat them. That helped a lot with foot skills and speed and all that."

Poorbaugh missed the first three games this season with a stress fracture in her right foot. She has four goals and one assist, and the Pioneers are 9-2-4 overall.

Orange improved to 4-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division by defeating Olentangy 1-0 on Oct. 3 to clinch at least a share of its second league title in three seasons.

Last fall, Poorbaugh had three goals and four assists and earned second-team all-state and first-team all-district and all-league honors.

"Grace has a huge role in the midfield for us and it's great to have her back," third-year coach coach Tim Lawrence said. "We missed her. She has been the anchor of the midfield for a while now.

"I got here when she was a sophomore and she has been outstanding for us as a holding mid -- winning the ball, distributing the ball and being a strong leader. She has a lot of soccer smarts. She is a heady player and does a lot of thinking out there."

Poorbaugh also does a lot of thinking off the field. She has a 4.1 GPA and plans to forgo soccer at the next level to concentrate on her studies in sports journalism.

"Since I wanted to do sports journalism, I wanted to focus on where I wanted to go for academics first," said Poorbaugh, who has narrowed her choices to Indiana, Penn State and Ohio University. "Then based on the colleges I picked out, I looked to see if I would be able to play (soccer). That didn't work out, but I will play club mostly likely in college.

"I have played since I was 5. I will play club with (Ohio Premier) in the winter, but I will miss it. I will have a lot more free time on my hands. It was a hard decision, but soccer will always be there forever. I will miss my teammates."

The Pioneers are seeded third for the Division I district tournament. They close the regular season Thursday, Oct. 10, at home against league-foe Westerville North, the fourth seed.

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, they open the postseason in the first round at home against 40th-seeded Northland.

"I like soccer because I get to play with all of my friends," Poorbaugh said. "We're all really close on the soccer team, and it's fun to be around them every day. I like the team aspect. It's not just about one person, you work as a team to score the goals and defend.

"It has gone by so fast. It feels like yesterday I came in here as a freshman. Each year, I watched the seniors go through their season and leave, and now it's my turn."

Four tennis players advance to district

Singles players Caroline Sproule and Karol Korotkin and the doubles team of Kortney Reed and Erin Storrer will represent the girls tennis team in the Division I district tournament Thursday, Oct. 10, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Reynoldsburg.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles will advance to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

Sproule went 5-0 to win the title in a sectional Oct. 3 and 5 at Upper Arlington, defeating UA's Megan Basil 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

Korotkin went 4-1 to finish third, defeating Dublin Jerome's Kavya Alagappan 6-0, 6-4 in the consolation final. Reed and Storrer were 3-1, defeating UA's Ella Hazelbaker and Wendy Shi 6-4, 6-4 in the third-place match.

The doubles team of Hannah Logan and Tyler Reed went 1-1, and Teresa Hawk lost her opening singles match.

Boys golfers advance to district tournament

The boys golf team finished third (303) in a Division I sectional Oct. 1 at Darby Creek behind champion Dublin Coffman (299), advancing to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.

Liberty also shot 303 and placed second by having the better fifth-player score. Fourth-place Hilliard Darby (311) also advanced to district, where the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

Corbin Bentley (72) led the Pioneers at sectional, followed by Nathan Brown (76), Jonathan Green (77), Luke Johnson (78) and Mitch Purdue (80).

Girls golfers end season at sectional

The girls golf team finished eighth (455) in a Division I sectional Oct. 1 at Royal American as the top three teams and top three individuals not on those teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.

Jerome (321), Pickerington North (349) and Darby (363) advanced.

Junior Natalie Au (82) led the Pioneers, followed by juniors Lauren Muffley (97) and Emma Wood (136), sophomore Jessica Woods (140) and junior Mimi Russell (152).

Orange finished sixth (2-18) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Liberty (20-0).

Au was first-team all-league, averaging 83.0 in the four rounds of league play to finish second to medalist Grace Welty (80.3) of Westerville Central.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Orange cross country, field hockey, boys soccer and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Oct. 12 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Davidson

FIELD HOCKEY

Oct. 14 -- Home vs. 13th-seeded Hartley in first round of district tournament. The Pioneers are seeded eighth.

BOYS SOCCER

*Oct. 10 -- At Westerville North

Oct. 15 -- Home vs. 47th-seeded Columbus West in first round of Division I district tournament. The Pioneers are seeded eighth.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. North. The Pioneers defeated the Warriors 25-12, 25-14, 25-8 on Sept. 17.

Oct. 12 -- Home vs. Watterson

Oct. 17 -- Home vs. 31st-seeded Westerville North or 35th-seeded Whetstone in second round of Division I district tournament. The Pioneers are the top seed.

*League contest