Kara Hardesty has built a consistent program in 11 seasons as Bexley High School field hockey coach.
The latest example of that came Oct. 17 when third-seeded Bexley edged eighth-seeded and visiting Upper Arlington 1-0 in its district tournament opener. It's the eighth consecutive season in which the Lions have won at least one tournament game.
"I think that we are getting better about peaking at the right time," Hardesty said. "I think the expectation is that we're going to win at least (one postseason) game.
"We don't feel like we're going to lose in that first game. (Oct. 17) was tough because we just played (UA) a week ago."
At the tournament draw before the Lions' 2-0 regular-season win over the Golden Bears on Oct. 9, Hardesty said UA gave up a chance to have a home tournament game to instead travel to Bexley.
"I think we kind of took it personally," Hardesty said. "We used it as motivation for our kids."
The Lions scored the only goal with 26 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the second half.
Junior Andrea Dressel put the ball in play from the end line on the left side of the goal. With the Bears charging junior Kara Friedman, the midfielder collected the ball and, as she called it, "reverse swept" it in front of the net.
Sophomore Julia Applefeld was there to knock the ball past UA goalkeeper Alee Caldwell.
"We'll take it," Hardesty said about the win, although she was concerned about the Lions allowing 19 penalty corners. "But it won't be good enough going forward. We've got to clean that up."
Bexley improved to 13-4 and played sixth-seeded Watterson in a district semifinal Oct. 22. The winner plays second-seeded Columbus Academy or ninth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Dublin Jerome, with the winner moving on to a state semifinal Nov. 1 at UA.
The Lions were seeking their first district final appearance since back-to-back trips in 2009 and 2010.
"We have a very successful program," said Friedman, who played the entire game against UA despite getting hit in the mouth with the ball from point-blank range on a block-tackle attempt in the first half. "We continually have players pushing and striving to keep going and pushing through the tournament."
Football team's losing streak reaches three
The football team dropped its third consecutive game when it fell to visiting Ready 62-13 on Oct. 18.
The Silver Knights, who improved to 8-0, piled up 406 yards rushing and scored the first 48 points en route to a 55-6 halftime lead.
The Lions, who fell to 5-3, were held to 95 yards rushing. In the second quarter, Rasheed Morgan returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Andre Stewart connected with Youssef Abou Hashish on an 18-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter.
Bexley returns to MSL-Ohio Division play Friday, Oct. 25, at London, which is 2-6 overall and 1-3 in the league after a 47-20 loss to Whitehall on Oct. 18.
Despite their losing streak, the Lions were projected to be sixth in this week's Division IV, Region 13 computer ratings. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
Cross country teams move on to regional
The boys and girls cross country teams both finished in the top four in their Division II district meets Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial to qualify for regional Saturday, Oct. 26, at Troy.
For the boys, senior Ian Kellogg placed second of 155 runners in 16:19.43. Also scoring were junior Patrick Lape (19th, 17:23.89), senior Cole Keny (20th, 17:24.14), freshman Peter Hayden (25th, 17:33.55) and senior Alex Meyer (31st, 17:49.52).
Sparta Highland won with 52 points, and Granville (58), Liberty Union (87) and Bexley (97) also advanced from the 21-team field.
The girls placed third (130) behind Granville (48) and Marion Pleasant (128) and ahead of Liberty Union (137). Scoring for Bexley in a field of 138 runners were freshman Veronica Mendivil (16th, 20:12.87), senior Regan Detwiler (17th, 20:17.43), sophomore Meg Rhoads (18th, 20:26.24), senior Meghan Hayden (30th, 20:58.68) and freshman Julia Cohn (49th, 21:46.69).
At regional, the top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to state Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
Girls soccer team wins tourney opener
The fourth-seeded girls soccer team opened Division II district tournament play by routing 19th-seeded Columbus East 14-0 on Oct. 19 at home.
Junior Addie Cini, freshman Lauren Woodford and senior Maura Zidar each scored three goals. Juniors Abby Barno and Sophie Schottenstein each scored two goals and senior Sarah Dawley scored once for the Lions, who improved to 10-6-1.
Sophomore Kendall Hecker and junior Mimi Nahem both saw time in goal, but neither was forced to make a save.
The Lions played 11th-seeded Hartley in a district semifinal Oct. 23, with the winner playing third-seeded DeSales or seventh-seeded Jonathan Alder in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville North. The district champion plays Bloom-Carroll, Big Walnut, Granville or Lakewood in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Zanesville.
"The district semi is the farthest I have been since I have taken over this program," said coach Jared Dombrowksi, who is in his third season. "Our goal from the beginning of the season was to get to the district final and we are on the cusp of that."
Boys soccer team avenges Granville loss
The boys soccer team opened the season with a 4-1 loss at Granville, but got payback with a 2-0 win over the fourth-seeded and host Blue Aces on Oct. 17 in the second round of the Division II district tournament.
Juniors Adam Hirsch and Noah Appelbaum scored in the second half for the sixth-seeded Lions, who improved to 10-4-3. Senior goalkeeper Eli Feuer made three saves and sophomore Cole Heilman assisted on both goals.
"In the first four games of the year (1-3 record) we gave up 13 goals," coach Greg Kullman said. "Since, we've gone 9-1-3 and given up seven goals over those 13 games.
"It's quite a remarkable turnaround that can be attributed to our players' willingness to focus on defending."
The Lions played 11th-seeded Mifflin on Oct. 22, with the winner advancing to a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville South against third-seeded Big Walnut or seventh-seeded Bloom-Carroll.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 30, against Cincinnati Indian Hill, Dayton Carroll, Mount Orab Western Brown or Springfield Greenon.
Carroll, the defending state champion, beat Bexley 4-0 last year in a state semifinal.
Girls volleyball team falls in tournament
The 11th-seeded girls volleyball team saw its season end Oct. 19 with a 25-16, 25-7, 21-25, 25-19 loss at fourth-seeded Marion Elgin in the second round of the Division III district tournament.
Bexley defeated 19th-seeded Madison Plains 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 in the opening round Oct. 16.
The Lions finished 12-12.