After going unbeaten during the regular season and winning the City League championship, the Whetstone High School girls soccer team set its sights on winning its first Division I district tournament game in 11 years.
The Braves fell short of that goal, however, losing 1-0 (4-3 shootout) to 21st-seeded and host Dublin Scioto in the second round Oct. 17. Whetstone, which was the 24th seed and had a first-round bye, finished 13-1-2.
"It was a great, great game and things just didn't end up going our way, but I am so proud of these girls," coach Phil Labuhn said. "That was the best game we've played all year. We played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer. They had some early (scoring) chances and we had some later chances."
Whetstone went first in the five-round shootout, getting goals from center defenders Hannah Shook and Maddy O'Malley on its first two attempts. After a third-round shot by center midfielder Rita Knasel went wide left, forward Bailey Waitkus scored and the teams were tied at 3 after four rounds.
In the fifth round, a shot by outside defender Hannah Davey was stopped by Scioto goalkeeper
Mikhaylan Price and the Irish converted their attempt to win the game and advance to a district semifinal against top-seeded Dublin Coffman on Oct. 22.
Whetstone's goalie, Cecilia Bulgrin, had one save in the shootout and had a season-high eight saves for the game.
"Scioto hit two posts in the first seven minutes of the game before we settled in," Lubuhn said. "We had two glorious (scoring) chances on throw-ins in regulation. We got a foot on one that the goalkeeper nicked and it barely spun away and we had another roll right in front and we kick at the ball and missed it."
The Braves' last district tournament win came against Marysville in 2002 (2-1 in the first round).
Football team gets set for Punchers
The football team will be looking to raise its record above .500 when it travels to Mifflin on Friday, Oct. 25.
Whetstone fell to 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the City-North with a 33-24 loss to Northland on Oct. 18, giving up 549 total yards to the Vikings. That same night, Mifflin improved to 5-3 and 4-1 with a 33-6 win over Linden-McKinley.
Despite the yardage it allowed, Whetstone forced three turnovers against Northland -- an interception and fumble recovery by defensive back Trent Harper and a fumble recovery by defensive back Deven White-Revere -- and held a 24-20 lead after three quarters.
Quarterback Ramroth Finnegan was 20-for-33 passing for 250 yards with four touchdowns and an interception against the Vikings, with wide receiver David Simmons catching 13 passes for 166 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown.
Harper, who also plays wide receiver, had a 16-yard touchdown reception.
Running backs Melek White (15 yards) and Austin Davy (6 yards) had the other touchdown receptions, and White rushed for 104 yards on 21 carries.
Through eight games, Finnegan has completed 111 of 215 passes for 1,642 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions and has rushed for 315 yards on 46 carries. Simmons has 37 catches for 638 yards and four touchdowns to lead the receivers, followed by Harper (15 catches, 328 yards, 4 TDs) and Chris North (15 catches, 142 yards, 3 TDs).
White has 20 catches for 168 yards out of the backfield, has rushed for 689 yards on 97 carries and has a team-high 12 touchdowns.
In Mifflin's win over Linden, quarterback Marsaan Banks rushed for two touchdowns (7 and 1 yard) and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to running back Makyin Tate, who also scored on a 1-yard run.
Boys soccer team falls in first round
A slow start doomed the boys soccer team in a 5-2 loss to 18th-seeded and host Scioto in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.
Whetstone, which was seeded 40th, finished 4-11-1 overall.
"We were three steps behind for the first 20 minutes as we tried to adjust to the turf," coach Larry Howell said. "We were playing chase and got down 2-0 pretty quick before we settled in."
The Braves trailed 3-0 at halftime before sweeper Bert Pajor scored. After Scioto made it 4-1, defender Peter Canepa scored to cut Whetstone's deficit back to two goals, but the Irish tacked on another goal to end the scoring.
The Braves, who went 4-7-1 in the City-North, lose eight senior starters in Pajor, Chuck Guillespie (defender), Yussuf Ibrow (midfielder), Colin McCoy (goalkeeper), Sergio Orozko (midfielder), Jake Tartler (defender), Justin Tartler (midfielder/forward) and Collin Tuttle (midfielder).
There were four other seniors on the team in Canepa, Felix Mak (midfielder), Jean Pleitez (midfielder) and Matthew Ray (defender/midfielder).
"I'm happy to have seen the seniors become better leaders throughout the season," Howell said. "It was a good group of kids and they stuck with it through a rough season. The first half of the season was difficult, but we seemed to jell and play better as a team in the second half."
Among those expected to return are junior Alec Waitkus (midfielder) and sophomores Akeem Adesiji (defender), Sid Musuni (forward) and Sam Price (defender).
"They will provide a good nucleus and our j.v. team was very strong," Howell said. "We've got some good young talent, but we've got to get into the weight room and get to some camps to improve before next season."
Season ends for volleyball team
The girls volleyball team lost to 27th-seeded and host Logan 25-9, 25-13, 25-10 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 14.
The Braves, who were seeded 33rd, finished 13-10 overall.
Whetstone, which finished 10-4 in the City-North to place third behind Centennial (14-0) and Columbus International (12-2), loses five seniors in Ali Adelsberger (setter), Ellie Downie (weak-side hitter), Katie Elekes (strong-side hitter), Addie Ortman (setter) and Val Vokac (middle hitter).
"We're losing a lot of experience, almost 80 percent of our hitting and 75 percent of our setting," coach Errole Rembert said. "These seniors did a wonderful job. They never had a losing season in their four years here and, although always undersized, they played so hard."
Expected to return are juniors Chloe Lillash (back row), Tanya Radabaugh (back row) and Maddie Wilming (setter) and sophomore Adrionna Mills (outside hitter). Mills was the lone starter among the group.
"We're going to have to develop some of the younger girls and we're going to have a bunch of fresh faces for the first time in a while," Rembert said. "But I know they'll play hard. Our j.v. team finished third in the City and, had they won the last one against Centennial, there would've been a three-way tie for first place. They also played well against non-City teams, so we just need to develop them some more."
Runners finish season at district
The cross country teams were unable to advance out of the Division I district meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial.
The boys team finished 11th (310 points) in the 14-team district 2 meet, behind champion Jerome (23). Westerville South (129) secured the fifth and final qualifying berth for the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pickerington North.
Hayden Palmer led the Braves, finishing 41st in 17 minutes, 41.81 seconds as the top 20 individuals advanced to regional.
Also competing for the Braves were Isaac Boateng (51st, 17:57.29), Evan Myers (66th, 18:53.12), Idiris Ibriham (74th, 19:09.24), Matt Hausman (78th, 19:30.24), Ray Zeliadt (86th, 20:01.62) and Kevin McCoy (90th, 20:24.57).
The girls team finished 13th (358) in the 17-team district 3 meet, behind champion Upper Arlington (64) as Coffman (148) secured the sixth and final regional-qualifying spot.
Julianna Hausman paced the Braves, finishing 48th (21:16.17) as the top 24 individuals qualified for regional.
Also competing were Elli Schwartz (68th, 22:20.84), Bianca McLemore (77th, 23:01.58), Liz Khoury (80th, 23:05.33), Claire O'Grady (85th, 23:28.77), Cassie Chenoweth (91st, 23:57.77) and Kellie Chin (93rd, 24:04.29).