It's said that a tie is like kissing your sister.
But not when that tie is as good as a win.
That was the case for the Bexley High School boys soccer team in its regular-season finale Oct. 12 against Worthington Christian. The Lions played the Warriors to a 2-all tie, clinching the MSL-Ohio Division title.
Bexley went 5-0-2 in the league, winning a close race with Columbus Academy (5-1-1), Worthington Christian (5-1-1) and Grandview (5-2).
The Lions, who are 9-4-3 overall, rallied from a two-goal deficit to capture their first league title since 2009.
"The boys deserve credit that they put themselves in the position that a tie would win the league outright," coach Greg Kullman said. "We celebrated. We treated it like a win. It was a win. The game was a tie, but it gave us the league title.
"I think every year it goes without saying, a league title is one of our goals and we know it is not easily attainable."
Bexley trailed 1-0 at halftime and 2-0 early in the second half before Cole Heilman scored on a penalty kick. It was his sixth goal of the season, which is tied for the team lead.
The Lions tied the game with about two minutes left, when Max Knox-Kelly scored off a free kick from Alex Eikenberry.
"The kids did a tremendous job of not breaking and kept grinding," said Kullman, whose team reached a Division II state semifinal a year ago. "We know it is tough thing to accomplish.
"What I am the most proud of is how far we've come from the start of the year."
Bexley, which started 1-3, now shifts its attention to the postseason. The Lions are seeded sixth in the Division II district tournament and open Thursday, Oct. 17, at fourth-seeded Granville or at home against 23rd-seeded Whitehall in the second round.
The Lions lost their season opener to Granville 4-1 on Aug. 20 and beat Whitehall 9-0 on Aug. 29 in league play.
The second-round winner plays fifth-seeded Jonathan Alder, 11th-seeded Mifflin or 14th-seeded London in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the home of the higher-seeded team.
The district final is Oct. 26 at Westerville South.
"You want to be peaking at tournament time," Kullman said. "We're playing as good a soccer as we have played all year."
Football team drops second in a row
After starting 5-0 for the first time since 1982, the football team will take a two-game losing streak into its home game against undefeated Ready on Friday, Oct. 18.
The Lions fell at Madison Plains 47-31 on Oct. 11, dropping to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the MSL-Ohio.
"We just didn't play well in all three phases of the game," coach John Smith said. "It is disappointing, but we can't dwell on it."
Rasheed Morgan rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns, including a 77-yarder, on 16 carries.
The Lions struggled to contain Golden Eagles quarterback Jake Vallery, who was 15-for-18 passing for 239 yards and four touchdowns and ran 15 times for 94 yards and a pair of scores.
For Bexley, quarterback Andre Stewart was just 3-for-7 passing for 65 yards and rushed for 50 yards on 16 attempts. Adam Hirsch kicked a 35-yard field goal and Zach Ward had a 1-yard scoring run.
Ready, which is 7-0, is averaging 53.1 points.
"At this point in time where we're at right now, it doesn't matter if it is Bishop Ready or the Sisters of the Poor, we have to correct what's ailing us right now," Smith said. "There are a lot of things they do well.
"We're going to worry about what we need to do to get better as a football team. Obviously what we did last week didn't work."
Boys runners win league title
The boys cross country team won the MSL-Ohio meet Oct. 12 at London Country Club.
Ian Kellogg led the Lions, finishing second (17 minutes, 7 seconds) of 39 runners. Cole Keny finished sixth (17:42), with Patrick Lape (17:54), Peter Hayden (17:54) and Jackson Feinkopf (18:02) coming in ninth through 11.
Bexley (38 points) finished ahead of Academy (58), Grandview (66), Whitehall (102), Worthington Christian (117) and London (140).
In the girls meet, the Lions finished second (48) behind Academy (45) and ahead of Grandview (57), London (85) and Worthington Christian (136).
Veronica Mendivil (21:11) and Meg Rhoads (21:13) placed sixth and seventh, respectively, among 34 runners. Regan Detwiler placed 10th (21:37), followed by Meghan Hayden (11th, 21:41) and Lissy Schmidt (14th, 21:52).
Both teams will compete Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Division II district meet at Watkins Memorial, where the top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to the regional Oct. 26 at Troy.
Golfers compete in state tourneys
Senior Matt Abramson capped off the season for the boys golf team by competing in the Division II state tournament Oct. 11 and 12 at NorthStar. He shot a 77 on the first day and followed with an 86 for a 163 that tied him for 21st among 72 competitors.
In the Division II girls state tournament at Ohio State's Gray Course, sophomore Liza Weisman tied for 14th among 71 competitors with an 84-77-161.
Girls soccer team preps for postseason
While girls soccer coach Jared Dombrowski said his team has exceeded expectations, he wasn't pleased that the Lions closed the regular season by losing MSL-Ohio games to Grandview (2-0 on Oct. 10) and Worthington Christian (1-0 on Oct. 12).
The Lions went 4-2 in the league and are 9-6-1 overall entering the Division II district tournament.
"I was a bit disappointed with the way we finished out the (regular) season, losing two straight," Dombrowski said. "That's not ideal when we are looking for a good run in the postseason.
"I seriously felt that we have done better than what the expectations of us were. But at the same time, I felt that we were one piece away from having a record of 14-2."
Junior Addie Cini leads Bexley with seven goals, followed by freshmen Ashley Bolon and Lauren Woodford with six each. Juniors Abby Barno and Sophie Schottenstein have five goals apiece.
Fourth-seeded Bexley has a first-round bye in the postseason and plays host to 19th-seeded Columbus East on Saturday, Oct. 19. If the Lions win, they would play host to fifth-seeded Johnstown, 11th-seeded Hartley or 15th-seeded Beechcroft in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23.
The district final is Oct. 26 at Westerville Central.
"We just have to regroup and prepare for the tournament," Dombrowski said.
Field hockey team begins postseason
The sister duo of Kayley and Ashley Barno combined for 23 goals as the field hockey team went 12-4 in the regular season with a second-place finish (7-1) in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division.
Seeded third, the Lions open the district tournament by playing host to eighth-seeded Upper Arlington on Thursday, Oct. 17. The Lions defeated the Golden Bears 2-0 on Oct. 9.
With a win, the Lions would advance to a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, against fifth-seeded Dublin Coffman, sixth-seeded Watterson or 11th-seeded New Albany.
The district final is Oct. 26 at Dublin Jerome.
Volleyball team set for tourney
The girls volleyball team won four of its final five regular-season matches to finish 6-8 in the MSL-Ohio and take an 11-11 overall record into its Division III district tournament opener Oct. 16 against visiting Madison Plains.
If the 11th-seeded Lions defeated the 19th-seeded Golden Eagles, they would play at fourth-seeded Marion Elgin on Saturday, Oct. 19, in the second round. The winner would play in a district semifinal Oct. 24 at Olentangy.
In the regular season, junior setter Mary Massarelli led the Lions with 588 assists, with junior outside hitter Olivia Riley leading with 270 kills. Senior libero Kayleigh Dietz led with 171 digs, while senior middle hitter Taylor Simmons led with 73 blocks. Senior Sarah Podlasiak had a team-best 58 service aces.
Girls tennis season ends at district
The girls tennis team's season ended in the Division II district tournament Oct. 11 and 12 at Columbus School for Girls.
Sophomore Caroline Phillips lost in the first round in singles, as did the doubles teams of freshmen Maggie Walker and Allison Meyer and seniors Hallie Wirthman and Katie Butler.
The Lions finished 8-8 overall and went 4-1 (31 points) in the MSL-Ohio, second behind Academy (44, 5-0).
The good news for coach Shelby Cheses is Phillips, junior Sarah Gundy, sophomore Sammi Levy, Walker and Meyer all are expected to return.
"We are fairly young and had a year of rebuilding," Cheses said. "We should have five girls returning next year with some good experience behind them."