With DeSales' Kim My Li and My Linh Li leading Bexley High School senior Corinne Rauck and junior Maddie Morton 6-2, 5-3 in the Division II state doubles championship, OHSAA officials gathered at the door to the Elysium Indoor Tennis Facility's courts prepared to hand out the state trophy.

With DeSales' Kim My Li and My Linh Li leading Bexley High School senior Corinne Rauck and junior Maddie Morton 6-2, 5-3 in the Division II state doubles championship, OHSAA officials gathered at the door to the Elysium Indoor Tennis Facility's courts prepared to hand out the state trophy.

The officials had a long wait.

Rauck and Morton couldn't prevent the Li sisters from winning a state title, but they made them wait for it. The two won the second-set tiebreaker 9-7 and deflected match-point six times in the third set before losing 6-2, 6-7 (7-9), 6-2 last Saturday.

"That's how you should play doubles," Rauck said. "They're just really good players and really aggressive. They executed really well. There was nothing we could do but play defense."

The state final was the second time in two weeks the Li sisters outlasted Rauck and Morton. They beat the Lions doubles team 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 for the district title Oct. 17 at Columbus School for Girls.

"I think we've gone three sets with them every time we've played," Morton said. "After we played that first set, it was like, 'here it comes again. We better get ready for that third set.'"

It was the third trip the two made to state. Rauck and Morton lost in a quarterfinal in 2007 and placed third last year. Morton and Rauck were 3-0 in three-setters at state before the final.

"I was nervous, but I didn't feel like I was playing that nervously," Rauck said. "It's always a great accomplishment to make it to state, so I guess we're just happy to be in the top four again."

This year, they defeated Napoleon's Mackenzie Eickhoff and Alayna Schlade 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit's Nancy Joyce and Cristin Reed 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 in a quarterfinal and Dayton Chaminade-Julienne's Nicci Dresden and Mollie Buerschen 6-2, 6-3 in a semifinal.

"Both of us have been trying to get to the final (the past three years)," Morton said. "It's really a dream even though we couldn't pull it out."

•Zach Arace won the Division II Central District section 2 cross country championship in 17 minutes, 15.82 seconds, finishing 22 seconds ahead of London's Kevin Swartz (17:37.49) last Saturday at Watkins Memorial.

The Lions finished second with 61 points as Watterson (43) won. The top four teams advanced to the regional Saturday at Pickerington North. Also qualifying to regional were Hartley (69) and London (107).

Senior Nathaniel Pelz (11th overall, 18:29.18), sophomore Nate Taylor (17th, 18:41.31), junior Jared Lucas (19th, 18:51.82) and freshman Jacob Turner (20th, 19:03.5) also scored for the Lions.

The girls team also finished second (72), but Granville (22) won the section 1 meet. Led by champion Megan Gaysunas (20:23.7), the Blue Aces placed five runners in the top eight. Columbus School for Girls (86) and Hilliard Bradley (98) placed third and fourth, respectively, and also moved on to the regional meet.

Sophomore Abby Arace placed sixth overall in 21:07.2 and Katie Wittig was 11th (21:47.04). Sophomore Jacqueline Morgan (16th, 22:01.43), freshman Sara Niermeyer (17th, 22:06.93) and junior Georgia Sutter (22nd, 22:39.67) followed.

•A daunting task awaits coach Amber Bollinger when she tries to rebuild the girls volleyball team next year. The Lions finished 6-16 overall after losing to sixth-seeded Jonathan Alder 25-10, 25-11, 25-11 in the first round of the Division II district tournament. They will lose six seniors -- setter/defensive specialist Eva Golden, outside-hitters Tess Roddy and Sarah Kebe, middle-blockers Lauren Howard and Hannah Murray and right-side hitter Beverly Ochieng. Howard was second team all-MSL.

"A lot of girls from last year's team stepped up and filled their roles to make up for the players we lost," Bollinger said. "Those six players have been pretty much the backbone of our team this year. We had a lot of younger girls come in and fill some spots here and there.

"It's going to be a little bit of a challenge but the younger kids that we have are outstanding athletes."

Expected to return are junior defensive specialist Kylee Soga and a trio of sophomores in libero Ainslee O'Donnell, setter Sarah Dressel and outside hitter Zoey Bush. Soga and Dressel were honorable mention all-league.

•Playing without Sam Urell, the field hockey team used goals by Allison Ezzo and Torrey Williams to survive a scare from Hartley and post a 2-1 win on Oct. 22 in the first round of the state-qualifying tournament.

"It was a pretty even game," said coach Kara Hardesty, whose team improved to 10-5-1. "The best part of it was we had a lot of good passing or communication."

Bexley faced Upper Arlington, a team they tied at 0 on Oct. 14, in the second round last Wednesday.

The winner will play either Watterson or Dublin Jerome in the qualifying round for the state tournament. In the regular season, the Lions defeated the Celtics 1-0 in overtime and lost to Watterson 1-0. Both teams have their unique challenges.

That winner will play in a state semifinal Nov. 6 at Upper Arlington.

"Watterson is one of the top programs in the area and generally if you want to get to state, you have to go through them," Hardesty said. "They're very fast. The first time we played them we had one of our better games. They just had one opportunity and made the most of it.

"A lot of what Jerome does goes through (midfielder) Eloise Irwin. She is one of the best players that I saw this year. We tried to keep the ball from her the last time, but we didn't do a very good job of that."


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for Bexley boys soccer, and girls soccer teams:

BOYS SOCCER

Oct. 22 -- Defeated Licking Valley 11-0 in second round of Division II district tournament Last Tuesday -- Played Whitehall in district semifinal. The winner will play Big Walnut or Watterson in a district final Saturday. The Lions beat Watterson 3-1, but have not played Big Walnut. The district champion will meet the Dayton 1 district champion in a regional semifinal 7 p.m. Tuesday at a site to be announced. Possible opponents including Kettering Alter, Bellbrook, Springfield Greenon and Bellefontaine.

Of note: The Lions were 13-2-2 overall before last Tuesday and finished 5-0 in MSL-Ohio.

GIRLS SOCCER

Oct. 21 -- Def. Heath 13-0 in first round of Division II district tournament. Charlotte Myers and Leah Levey scored three goals. Last Saturday -- Def. Bloom-Carroll 7-0 in second round. Levey had three goals and Myers scored twice. Last Wednesday -- Played Grandview in a district semifinal. The winner will play second-seeded Jonathan Alder or third-seeded Ready in a district final 7 p.m. Saturday at Dublin Scioto. The district champ will play in a regional semifinal 7 p.m. Wednesday at site to be announced against Minerva, St. Clairsville, John Glenn or River View.

Of note: The Lions were 14-0-3 overall before last Wednesday and finished 5-0 in MSL-Ohio.