LEWIS CENTER – Five goals were scored within a 13-minute stretch in the first half of Tuesday night’s game and, when the dust settled, the Olentangy girls soccer team emerged with a 3-2 victory over Westerville Central to remain unbeaten in OCC-Buckeye play.
Olentangy, which notched its fourth straight win and seventh in its last eight games, got two goals from freshman Olivia Heskett.
Heskett has seen her role increase during the course of the season.
“Not only is she the tallest player on our team, but she’s the fastest,” Olentangy coach Earl Devanny said. “She’s growing into the game and adjusting to the physicality of high school soccer and she’s doing very, very well. We’re very proud of the progress she’s made.”
Olentangy (8-3-1, 3-0) jumped out to a 1-0 lead with 21:42 left in the first half when Heskett scored off a rebound of her own initial shot.
Carly Ross centered a ball to her from the left to get her in position and goalkeeper Taylor Hickman made the initial save on a point-blank shot.
“I know that coming in – I was really nervous because I’m a freshman – but I didn’t want to use that as an excuse,” Heskett said. “If I (work hard) and have the right mindset – that’s all that matters.”
Audrey Oliver scored Olentangy’s second goal at the 16:51 mark off a Kylee Beinecke feed and Beinecke found Heskett on a cross through traffic a little more than three minutes later to push the lead to 3-0.
“Not only is (Beinecke) our leading scorer and our leader in assists, but she’s one of our captains that goes out of her way to make sure that everybody gets involved,” Devanny said. “She puts crosses in for runners in the box, she does the hard work and checks back on defense. It’s great to have somebody who’s that accomplished of a player be that well-round a player.”
Central wouldn’t go away easily. Senior Kate Schimmel scored both goals for the Warhawks (3-7-1, 0-3).
Schimmel got the Warhawks on the board on a penalty kick with 10:43 left and then lofted in a ball from deep on the left a couple of minutes later to close the gap to one.
“It was probably partly my fault,” Devanny said. “I thought we could maintain that level of focus and, unfortunately, 3-0 in the first half does cause people to think that this is going to be an easier game than it is. It turned out that (Central) battled hard and gave us a game throughout. Credit to them.”
Ella Schwertfager had five saves and Katie Scott added four for Olentangy.
Taylor Hickman and Elena Summanen combined to stop 10 shots in goal for the Warhawks.
Next up, Olentangy hosts Pickerington North in non-league action Saturday afternoon at 3:45 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at email@example.com.