Worthington Christian Roundup: Girls soccer team relying on stingy defense

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Worthington Christian's Blessing King controls the ball under pressure from Hartley's Olivia Ralston during their game Sept. 19. The Warriors have been relying on their defense this season, including a recent stretch of allowing either zero or one goal in seven consecutive games.

A strong defense has the Worthington Christian girls soccer team feeling optimistic entering the Division II district tournament.

Before losing 3-1 on Oct. 7 at Grandview, which was fifth in last week’s Division III state poll, the Warriors had given up either zero or one goal in seven consecutive games.

They were 7-3-4 overall and 2-1-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division after the loss to the Bobcats, with one league contest remaining Oct. 12 against Zanesville Rosecrans.

The district tournament drawing was Oct. 11, with the postseason to start Tuesday, Oct. 20.

“We’ve been a little inconsistent, but overall I’m pretty happy with the way things are going,” said coach Steve Raikes, whose team was sixth in last week’s area poll. “When we play possession-oriented soccer, we do well. When we play a short passing game, we’re good, but when we just start getting panicky and start kicking the ball, that’s been our inconsistency at times.”

Senior forward Riley Myers has been the leading scorer, according to Raikes, while seniors Emma Sanders (defender) and Alex Friedman (goalie) and juniors Keaton Cox (defender) and Abbey Windsor (midfielder) have led the defense.

“Our defense has been pretty solid,” Raikes said. “We’ve haven’t given up a ton of goals, but we’re not scoring enough. We’ve been competitive in some big games and been inconsistent in some games that I thought the outcome would be a little different in. 

“We’re losing games we really shouldn’t, but we still (had) a shot at the league championship (heading into the game against Grandview).”

The boys team was first in the Division III area poll and fourth in the state poll last week.

The Warriors beat Hilliard Davidson 7-1 on Oct. 5 and Columbus Academy 3-1 on Oct. 7 to improve to 9-3-1 overall. They were 4-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Wellington on Oct. 13.

Senior Tyler Kindberg — who had three goals in an 8-1 win over Buckeye Valley on Sept. 23 and the only goal in a 3-1 loss Oct. 3 to Whitehall — has been leading the offense. Senior midfielder Trent Wenger and junior midfielder Eli Hoskinson also have been among the key contributors.

So closes prep 

golf career at district

Senior Reno So of the girls golf team had her season end when she competed in her third consecutive Division II district tournament.

On Oct. 5 at Darby Creek, So tied Columbus Academy’s Eva Baker, Ready’s Clarissa Bachelder and Bloom-Carroll’s Maddison Snyder for 11th as each shot 94. 

The first-place team and top individual not on the state-qualifying team advanced to the state tournament, as Columbus School for Girls (364) earned the team spot ahead of runner-up Academy (374) and medalist Anna Crumrine of Newark Catholic (79) moved on individually.

So — who was the runner-up in 2018 and placed fifth in 2019 during her previous district appearances — had qualified for district by tying Marion Pleasant’s Dina Shah for third (82) at the Mill Creek sectional Sept. 30.

She also made first-team all-MSL-Ohio as the Warriors tied Bexley for third (5-11) behind Columbus School for Girls (15-1) and Academy (13-3).

Worthington Christian shot 423 to place fourth at the nine-team sectional but only the top three teams advanced to district.

The other senior competitors for the Warriors in the postseason were Lilly Anne Marsh and Zoe Holston.

Freshman Lily Morgan had Worthington Christian’s second-best sectional score with a 108, and freshman Jamie Custer rounded out the postseason lineup.

Runners prep for 

league, postseason

The boys and girls cross country teams compete in the MSL-Ohio meet Saturday, Oct. 17, at Buckeye Valley. Both teams then will participate in Division III district competition Oct. 23 at Hilliard Darby.

On Oct. 3 in the Group 3 races of the Pickerington North Invitational, the boys were 10th (259) of 11 teams behind champion Fisher Catholic (69) and the girls team did not score because it had only three participants.

Junior Samuel Spires led the boys team with a 39th-place finish (19 minutes, 7.8 seconds), followed by juniors Synjin Sharp (48th, 19:26.1), Jonathan Sanders (53rd, 19:32.3) and Samuel O’Roark (67th, 20:32.0) and freshman Joe Spires (75th, 20:55.5).

Sophomore Zoe Ward turned in an 11th-place performance (21:04.3) for the girls team, followed by freshmen Alexa Graham (19th, 21:47.4) and Annie White (41st, 23:53.0).

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

GIRLS GOLF

MSL-Ohio standings: Columbus School for Girls (15-1), Columbus Academy (12-3), Bexley (5-11), Worthington Christian (5-11), Buckeye Valley (2-13)

Seniors lost: Zoe Holston, Lilly Anne Marsh, Rena So and Emily Weishaar

Key returnees: Jamie Custer and Lily Morgan

Postseason: Fourth (423) at sectional behind champion Lakewood (361)