After capturing its fourth CCL championship in five seasons, the St. Charles soccer team has set its sights on another district title.
The Cardinals are 11-2-2 overall and won their second consecutive league title by going 4-0, increasing their CCL winning streak to eight contests.
They enter the Division I district tournament as the third seed, behind No. 1 Worthington Kilbourne and No. 2 Olentangy Liberty, as they aim for their third district championship in four seasons.
"It takes a lot to take a team that far (in the postseason) and it takes a lot of sacrifice for your teammates," said senior Ben Saas, whose team was tied with Massillon Jackson for ninth in last week's state poll behind top-ranked Medina. "It's a long path and you have to work hard to get there."
The Cardinals are on a nine-game winning streak, the first eight without surrendering a goal before defeating Toledo St. Francis 4-2 on Oct. 5. They have given up just 10 goals in 15 games, with nine shutouts, and have not had more than two goals scored against them in a contest.
Coach Chris Vonau credits the team's deep defensive corps for making a difference. The rotation includes Will Byorth, Nick Kotte, Brendan McGinn, Gabe O'Reilly, Joe Roberts and Brady Westin.
"All our key defenders are key because we have had more of a rotation in the back," said Vonau, whose team closes the regular season Saturday, Oct. 12, at New Albany.
"That allows us to be more flexible with minutes and keep them fresh. Also, our keepers Jake Koehler and Gabe Thomas are playing well and making each other better."
The Cardinals open the district tournament Oct. 17 with a second-round home game against 33rd-seeded Lancaster or 41st-seeded Logan.
"Keeping teams off the board early has been a big factor for us," Vonau said. "We have consistently out-possessed teams. Finding goals is not easy to do and our guys are stepping up for us in a big way."
Football team traveling to Lucas
The football team will visit Richland County to play Lucas on Friday, Oct. 11.
The Cubs, a Division VII team that plays an independent schedule, are 5-1. Their lone loss came against Galion Northmor 14-13 on Sept. 13.
Lucas has surrendered just seven points in its three games since the loss. It defeated Troy Christian 43-0 on Sept. 20, Willard 41-0 on Sept. 27 and Steubenville Catholic Central 57-7 on Oct. 4. The Cubs play a schedule of Division VI and VII teams except for Division V Willard and the Division II Cardinals.
St. Charles has given up 17.3 points per game and scored 19.7. Lucas averages 37.3 points and surrenders just 7.8.
Running back Tommy Zirzow rushed for 184 yards and five touchdowns on 22 carries against Steubenville Catholic Central. The Cubs scored on five of their first six possessions and led 38-7 at halftime.
The Cardinals dropped to 4-2 after losing their CCL opener to Hartley 30-7 on Oct. 4. Luke Eversole scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Golf team advances to district tournament
The golf team competed in the Division I district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
The top two teams and top two individuals not on those teams advanced to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
St. Charles finished second (304) in a sectional Oct. 1 at Denison Golf Club behind Dublin Jerome (294) as the top four teams advanced to district. Upper Arlington (310) and Westerville Central (320) were the other team qualifiers.
Vince Campagni (73) led the Cardinals, finishing third behind the Jerome duo of Tyler Groomes and Ethan Snyder, both of whom shot 70. Luke Gutman, Jake Lowis and Jason Zehala all shot 77 for St. Charles, and Reese Yakubov had a 79.
Below are the coming schedules for the St. Charles cross country and water polo teams:
Oct. 12 -- CCL meet at Otterbein
Oct. 11-12 -- Erie (Pa.) Challenge