The Canal Winchester High School boys soccer team fell just shy of winning the OCC-Cardinal Division championship in its first season in the league, but it heads into the postseason riding a six-game winning streak.
The Indians defeated Dublin Scioto 1-0 in their league finale Oct. 8 to improve to 12-1-3 overall and 5-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
They finished second in the league, behind Hilliard Bradley (5-0-2) and ahead of Westerville South (3-0-4), Westerville Central (3-1-3), Scioto (2-4-1), Dublin Jerome (1-3-3), Hilliard Darby (1-6) and Westerville North (1-6).
Bradley rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Darby 5-3 on Oct. 8 to secure the league title.
"This has been a great season for us overall," coach Erik Feinstein said. "We (wanted) to win our league, but even finishing second is a big deal and a good accomplishment because no one outside of our program thought we would do this well considering it's our first year competing in the OCC."
Seeded seventh of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament, Canal Winchester had a first-round bye and will face 22nd-seeded Chillicothe or 24th-seeded Darby in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19, at home.
The Indians beat Darby 4-0 on Sept. 10 but have not played Chillicothe this season.
The second-round winner will play 11th-seeded Olentangy Orange, 21st-seeded Olentangy or 23rd-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the site of the higher seed.
The Indians did not play any of those potential opponents during the regular season.
"We need to possess the ball and play it wide instead of playing it down the middle like we did against Dublin Scioto," Feinstein said when asked about what his team must do to be successful in the postseason.
Forward Luciano Thaboune has a team-high 16 goals and, according to Feinstein, midfielder Jamie Robson leads the team in assists.
"We've been strong across the field and our defense has been outstanding," goalkeeper Brandon Pfeiffer said. "Daltyn Colley is our top defender, but our left fullback, Blake Horne, and right fullback, Ryan Miller, are doing a great job, too."
Scioto controlled possession for long stretches of the game, but both teams had four shots on goal. One of Pfeiffer's saves came on a penalty kick in the first half, and midfielder Zach Barwick scored the game's lone goal off an assist from Colley early in the second half.
"That's the first penalty kick I've faced this season and I was able to read their shooter and guess which way he was going with the ball," Pfeiffer said. "We just wanted to win this game and hope that Hilliard Bradley would lose or tie their last league game. The most important thing is to keep winning because we feel like we have momentum heading into the district tournament."
Girls soccer team wins league finale
The girls soccer team closed out OCC-Cardinal play with a 4-1 win over Scioto on Oct. 8.
Canal Winchester, which had gone 1-5-1 in its previous seven games, finished fifth in the league at 3-3-1, behind Jerome (5-1-1), Bradley (5-2), Westerville South (4-2-1) and Westerville Central (3-1-3) and ahead of Westerville North (2-3-2), Darby (1-5-1) and Scioto (0-6-1).
"We struggled in the middle of the season, but it's been nice to see the girls pick themselves back up again with a big win to finish our league schedule," coach Emily Buccilla said. "I think we've had a decent start to our first year in our new conference and had a couple of big conference wins over Westerville Central (2-1 on Sept. 3) and Hilliard Darby (1-0 on Sept. 10) that we weren't expected to win."
The Indians, who beat Circleville 4-0 on Oct. 10 in their regular-season finale to improve to 6-6-4 overall, were seeded 26th of 40 teams in the Division I district tournament and faced 21st-seeded Scioto in the first round Oct. 15.
The winner plays 24th-seeded Whetstone in the second round Thursday, Oct. 17, at the site of the higher seed. The second-round winner will face top-seeded Dublin Coffman or 40th-seeded Westland in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the site of the higher seed.
The Indians did not play Whetstone, Coffman or Westland during the regular season.
"I chose our bracket because I thought the second-round game was more winnable than the other brackets, and I think it's a great opportunity if we play the No. 1 seed in the third round," Buccilla said. "We should be able to score in the tournament. We just need to prevent our opponents from scoring by doing a better job of defending across the field."
The Indians lost one of their starting center midfielders, Kaylee Guiler, to a knee injury midway through the season. But according to Buccilla, Kylie Harper and Kristin Riggs have played well in Guiler's absence.
"Kaylee is going to recover and come back even stronger next year, but Kylie and Kristin are doing a good job all-around," Buccilla said. "Our goalkeeper, Emmi Coonfare, has been consistently solid, and (forward) Betsy Cadwallader has progressed and is hitting her peak right now."
In the win over Scioto, Cadwallader had three goals and defender Francy Booher scored one.
Football team gets set to face Celtics
Still searching for its first win, the football team travels to Dublin Jerome on Friday, Oct. 18, for an OCC-Cardinal game.
Canal Winchester lost to Bradley 49-7 on Oct. 11 to drop to 0-7 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal. The Jaguars, who improved to 4-3 and 3-1, amassed 507 total yards, with running back Trey Anderson leading the way with 199 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.
The Indians' only score came on a 37-yard pass from quarterback Nick Hammond to wide receiver Austin Lynch in the third quarter. Hammond was 7-for-13 passing for 103 yards.
That same night, Jerome lost to Scioto 42-20 to fall to 3-4 and 1-3. Quarterback Alex Cline threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Nate Szekely and running back Alex Booth scored on a 3-yard run to pace the Celtics.
Volleyball team begins postseason
Seeded 21st of 46 teams in the Division I district tournament, the girls volleyball team faced 23rd-seeded Mount Vernon in the first round Oct. 14.
The winner played host to 37th-seeded Zanesville in the second round Oct. 16. That winner will face second-seeded Dublin Coffman, 27th-seeded Logan or 33rd-seeded Whetstone in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Bloom-Carroll.
The Indians were 10-13 overall before playing Mount Vernon and finished 6-8 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Runners prepare for district meet
The cross country teams will compete in the Division I, district 2 meet Saturday, Oct. 19, at Watkins Memorial.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Canal Winchester competed in the OCC-Cardinal meet on Oct. 12 at Darby.
The girls team finished sixth (135 points), behind Scioto (54), Bradley (72), Westerville North (83), Jerome (89) and Westerville Central (90) and ahead of Darby (178) and Westerville South (195).
Scoring for the Indians were Megan Tamasovich (20th, 20 minutes, 15.02 seconds), Joelle Zuberi (22nd, 20:26.77), Cassidy Long (23rd, 20:28.42), Julia Cook (33rd, 21:05.17) and Nicole Tennison (38th, 21:23.8).
The boys team finished seventh (164), behind Jerome (23), Westerville North (66), Darby (81), Westerville South (97), Bradley (121) and Scioto(141) and ahead of Westerville Central (242).
Jason Appel (20th, 16:38.85), Luke Schirr (29th, 16:56.16), Ethan Fusek (30th, 16:56.7), Bryce Carroll (43rd, 17:44.23) and Imani Daniels (46th, 17:53.81) scored for the Indians.