In a performance that pleased coach Mark Liefeld, the Bexley High School boys tennis team placed second in the MSL-Ohio Division tournament April 26 at London.
Junior Gauthier Knox-Kelly advanced to the final at third singles, while both of the Lions' doubles teams also finished as runners-up. Senior Max Knox-Kelly and sophomore Shia Saar competed at first doubles, while seniors Ethan Goodstein and Logan Wilhelm played second doubles.
"Overall, I was pleased with our team's performance today," Liefeld said. "Gauthier Knox-Kelly did a good job getting to the finals at third singles.
"I thought we could have done better in both doubles finals, but hopefully the experience will pay off over the next few weeks. We need to play more consistently on those courts to win against the better teams."
Columbus Academy won the team title with 14 points, followed by Bexley (8), Worthington Christian (5), Grandview (4), Whitehall (2), London (1) and West Jefferson (1).
At first singles, sophomore Cody Rawlings started with an 8-0 win over Grandview's Jay Huff. He then fell 8-0 to eventual champion Joel Montgomery of Worthington Christian.
At second singles, sophomore T.J. Phelps also lost in a semifinal, falling 9-7 to Worthington Christian's Chris Tsibouris.
"I was particularly pleased with Cody Rawlings' performance in his first match of the day against the No. 1 player from Grandview (Huff) that he won 8-0," Liefeld said. "Also, I was happy with the way that T.J. Phelps battled back after being down 7-3 in his semifinal match to tie it at 7-7 before eventually losing 9-7. It was the best tennis I've seen him play this year."
Gauthier Knox-Kelly won a pair of matches before losing to Academy's Austin Lawrence 8-1 in the third-singles final. Max Knox-Kelly and Saar did not lose a set in their first two matches before dropping an 8-4 decision in the first-doubles final to Academy's Ryan Jung and Shrikar Kundur.
Goodstein and Wilhelm dropped just one set in two matches while reaching the second-doubles final, which they lost to Academy's Dean Firouzian and Nikhil Patel 8-5.
The Lions were 6-7 overall and 4-1 in the MSL-Ohio before closing league play April 29 against Worthington Christian. Bexley's league loss was against Academy, 5-0 on April 10.
"As for our overall record, we have played some very good teams this year, and I feel that playing the best teams will pay off for us in the long run," Liefeld said. "At this point, it's all about getting ready for the sectional tournament."
Girls lacrosse team wins five of six
Through 10 games, the girls lacrosse team is in line with coach Gillian Thomson's preseason hope that the Lions can make a deep run in the Division II South/Central Region tournament.
Bexley is 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the Central Independent League entering its league finale Thursday, May 1, at Hartley. The Lions have won five of their last six games.
"I'm excited about our prospects in the tournament. I think we are still improving and I feel like we have been battle tested in ways that we will be really able to draw on in tough tournament games," Thomson said. "We still have a bunch of challenging games in the regular season that will continue to help us prepare and improve."
Two reasons for Bexley's success have been senior midfielders Sarah Dawley and Samantha Bolon. Both have scored 35 goals.
"Sarah Dawley and Sam Bolon are really hard to stop on offense -- they are both so dynamic and skilled," Thomson said. "They both do an amazing job in the midfield, getting draws and groundballs and takeaways that lead to lots of opportunities on offense."
While the Lions have clicked offensively, scoring 122 goals, the defense has allowed just one opponent to score in double digits. That came April 24 in a 10-9, overtime loss to Olentangy.
"Our team showed a lot of resilience and confidence in each other in our game against Olentangy last week. They are a top 10 team (in the state in Division I) and we battled back from being down 9-5 to tie it up at 9-9 and go into overtime," Thomson said. "Our defense was phenomenal. Our defense has been great all season. They communicate and work together really well, and they play so smart really reading and anticipating the offense."
Junior goalkeeper Mimi Nahem is averaging more than 7.5 saves.
"This is a fantastic group of kids," Thomson said. "I hope we can extend the season and make a strong run at tournament time."
Baseball team wins seven in a row
The baseball team had won seven consecutive games to improve to 12-4 overall before facing Madison Plains in an MSL-Ohio game April 28.
Last week, Bexley picked up league wins over West Jefferson (6-3 on April 23) and Academy (12-6 on April 25) to avenge earlier losses. Bexley entered the week leading the MSL-Ohio at 8-2.
Marshall Drewry was 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA and hitting .293 with 13 RBI. Josh Shapiro was 2-2 with a 3.04 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings. He also was hitting .333 with 14 RBI.
Tommy Bruning was 3-0, while Ethan Bredemeier was leading the team with a .413 batting average to go with 11 RBI. Alex Eikenberry was batting .395 with 13 RBI.
Track teams compete in Kallner Invitational
The boys track and field team finished fourth and the girls team placed fifth in the 12-team Elmo Kallner Invitational on April 26 at Hamilton Township.
Senior Ian Kellogg highlighted the day for the boys, as he won the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 29.98 seconds) and placed second in the 800 (2:04.92).
The host Rangers won the boys title with 126.5 points and Bexley scored 82.25 points.
Canal Winchester won the girls title with 133.5 points and Bexley scored 65.5 points.
The girls were led by their 3,200 relay of Spencer Halliday, Meghan Hayden, Regan Detwiler and Meg Rhoads. They won in 10:28.12.
Softball team wins six of seven
The softball team had won three consecutive games and six of seven to improve to 12-3 overall and 4-3 in the MSL-Ohio before facing Madison Plains on April 28.
Katy Watson was 12-3 with a 1.71 ERA to go with a Central District-leading 140 strikeouts. She also was hitting .362 with 19 RBI.
Sidney Woodford was batting a team-best .391 to go with 10 RBI, while Abby Barno was hitting .388 and Abby Lowenstein was at .357 with 15 RBI.
Boys lacrosse team on four-game skid
The boys lacrosse team had dropped its last four games and was 2-7 before facing Hilliard Bradley on April 30.
Cole Keny scored three goals in a 15-6 loss at DeSales on April 23 and had three more goals in an 11-7 setback to Dublin Scioto two days later. Jasper Lau also had three goals against DeSales, while Colby Nebel picked up a pair of goals against Scioto.
In a 15-8 loss to Sylvania Northview on April 26, Josh Adkin had three goals and Taylor Farthing had two.
Stoddard named boys soccer coach
Brian Stoddard has been hired as Bexley boys soccer coach.
A native of East Liverpool, Stoddard has coached at various levels for 19 years and most recently was an assistant at Hilliard Davidson.
"Through my years of coaching high school I have tracked many of Ohio's top programs, Bexley being one of them," Stoddard said. "The soccer tradition here is full of passionate people for the game. ...When my wife and I heard the position was open we did not hesitate. The community, school district and program are first class."
Stoddard replaces Greg Kullman, who resigned after seven seasons. Last fall, the Lions were 12-5-3 overall, won the MSL-Ohio title at 5-0-2 and captured their third consecutive district title.
Kullman compiled a 78-37-19 overall record. He led Bexley to three league titles, four district championships and Division II state semifinal appearances in 2009 and 2012.
Stoddard, who is an intervention teacher in Marysville, said he wants to build on Bexley's tradition.
"High moral character, work ethic and a drive to win a championship are what have drawn me to Bexley," he said.