Pioneers clinch share of OCC title


LEWIS CENTER – Ava Musgrove is nothing without her timing.

The sophomore scored off a set piece to send the Olentangy Orange girls soccer team to a 1-0 win at rival Olentangy to help the Pioneers earn at least a share of the OCC-Buckeye championship.

It’s Orange’s fourth league championship with all four coming in the last six years.

“So now – we’re pushing for the school’s first district title,” Orange coach Tim Lawrence said. “We’ve never won a district title, so that’s our big goal this year.”

Olentangy denied Orange a league title and a district title last season.

“That’s definitely been on our mind this season,” said senior captain Payton Kaufman, who set up Musgrove’s goal with a corner kick.

“Usually when we set up corners – I’m looking for one of our headers – either Sophia Leonetti or Grace Poorbaugh,” Kaufman said. “(Olentangy’s) defenders got them off of that, but it left Ava Musgrove wide open.”

The corner was set up by a peppering of shots by Poorbaugh and Hannah Heald. Both were saved, but the latter ended up out of bounds off the goalkeeper.

Musgrove’s impact on the game didn’t just come on the goal, either.

“That’s a very good attacking team … and to shut that team out is a very big accomplishment,” Lawrence said. “The way that Eva shut down (Olentangy’s Kylee) Beinecke. It was speed for speed. That’s what we (told her) – go deal with Beinecke and her speed and that’s what she did.”

The Pioneers (9-2-4, 4-0) made it a clean sweep over their sister schools with the win over Olentangy (10-4-1, 3-1). Orange defeated Olentangy Berlin 2-0 in the season opener Aug. 16 and followed up with a 1-0 win at Olentangy Liberty Sept. 10 in league play.

Olentangy coach Earl Devanny had a pretty simple and succinct explanation for his team’s loss after the game.

“We failed to properly clear a corner kick,” he said.

Both teams close out league play and the regular season schedule Thursday at 7:15 p.m. Olentangy travels to rival Olentangy Liberty and Orange hosts Westerville North, which could force a three-way tie for the title with a win.

Olentangy Orange’s Sophia Leonetti (12) collects the ball near midfield as Olentangy’s Bailey Hall (4) looks on. Orange’s Sophia Leonetti (12) collects the ball near midfield as Olentangy’s Bailey Hall (4) looks on. Ben Stroup | Gazette

By Michael Rich

For the Gazette

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at [email protected].

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