Bexley boys defeat London
When the Bexley High School boys soccer team played host to Hartley on Oct. 13 to close the regular season, the Lions realized they likely would see the Hawks again.
Bexley won that game 2-0 and then defeated London 9-0 in the second round of the Division II district tournament Oct. 18 to set up a rematch with 11th-seeded Hartley in a district semifinal Oct. 23 at home.
The top-seeded Lions entered that game 10-3-4 overall. The winner plays fourth-seeded DeSales or Heath in a district final at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Westerville North.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at a site to be announced. The potential opponents are Circleville, Fairfield Union, Vincent Warren and Waverly. The regional final is scheduled for noon Nov. 3.
"(The regular-season finale) made for an interesting day as we knew we would probably see (Hartley) in the district semifinal," coach Greg Kullman said.
One negative that came out of that game was the loss of starting goalkeeper Sebastian Parra-Maya, who broke his nose early in the contest. He was to have surgery Oct. 19 and was scheduled to miss at least another week.
"Our sole focus at this point is on getting a few guys healthy," Kullman said. "We have a very capable backup (goalie) in Eli Feuer and the team is very confident in his abilities."
Also nursing ailments were Will Gingery, Tucker Stas and Sam Addison, all of whom Kullman expected to play against Hartley.
After a first-round bye in the tournament, Bexley had little trouble against London as Micah Linger scored a pair of goals.
Entering the Hartley game, Jacob Hodge had 11 goals and three assists, while Jacob Cini had 10 goals and five assists.
"We have a lot of guys who can score and that's been really important this year," Hodge said. "Defenses can't just focus on one or two guys."
Parra-Maya had 33 saves before he was injured, and Feuer had six.
"The good thing is I think we have a team that truly understands the necessity to not look ahead and only focus on the next game, doing everything we can to prepare and be mentally into our preparation," Kullman said.
Two reasons the Lions are able to focus, according to Kullman, are the experience gained from a run to a district championship last season and advice given to them by a local businesswoman.
"I think what our run in the tournament last year provides us is the simple fact that advancing is really hard, and if we don't focus on the game at hand the season can come to an abrupt end," Kullman said.
Also, Lisa Cini, Jacob Cini's mother, has spoken to the Lions about teamwork and leadership, as well as mental preparation.
"She's been wonderful all year and her willingness to sacrifice her time has been instrumental in what we've been able to do at this point," Kullman said. "She's been an asset and she helped us on our tournament run last year."
Girls squad reaches semi
The girls team defeated Centennial 7-0 in the first round of the Division II district tournament Oct. 17 and Buckeye Valley 3-2 in the second round Oct. 20.
Against Buckeye Valley, Maddie Baker, Jill Clark and Sarah Dawley scored and Emma Murphy had nine saves.
The Lions improved to 10-6-2 and advanced to a district semifinal at top-seeded Granville on Oct. 24. The teams tied 2-all on Oct. 11.
"Division II is wide open," coach Jared Dombrowski said. "A prime example is Granville. We needed a win against them for the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio title. We were up 2-1 and we gave up one of those random, fluke goals.
"They're the top seed and we went toe-to-toe with them. We're capable of making a run and that shows that. I'm interested in seeing how things play out."
The winner plays second-seeded DeSales or fourth-seeded Hartley for a district title at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Gahanna.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at a site to be announced. The potential opponents are Chillicothe Unioto, Hillsboro, Logan Elm and Vincent Warren. The district final is scheduled for 3 p.m. Nov. 3.