As Pickerington North was celebrating its second Division I regional championship in three seasons, Dublin Jerome High School girls soccer coach Josh Brader tried to console his players.
Ashlynn Jones scored with 10 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the second 15-minute overtime to lift the Panthers to a 1-0 win over the Celtics in a regional final Nov. 3 at Gahanna.
North improved to 19-0-2 and advanced to play Mason in a state semifinal Nov. 6. Jerome, which lost to Strongsville 1-0 in the state final last season, finished 16-2-3.
"It's hard (to accept the loss) and I told them there's nothing really I'm going to say that's going to take away the sting of this one," Brader said. "But once the weeks settle down and you get away from it a little bit, you start to realize what you accomplished for this season. In a very tough district and region, to be in the top two teams is something to be proud of."
Ranked eighth in the final state poll, Jerome defeated Northland 9-0 in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 18 and 12th-seeded Grove City 2-0 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 before beating eighth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 7-0 in a district final Oct. 27, marking its fifth district title.
The Celtics, who were seeded third in the district, then defeated Hilliard Davidson 2-0 in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 before falling to North.
Jerome also won its consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division title, going 7-0 in league play to finish ahead of Westerville Central (5-1-1), Scioto (4-1-2), Kilbourne (3-4), Hilliard Bradley (2-3-2), Westerville North (2-4-1), Westerville South (1-4-2) and Hilliard Darby (0-7).
The Celtics lose nine seniors, including midfielder Kaitlin Miller, defender Makenzie Costner and forward Lindsay Agnew.
Miller, who was named OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year and first-team all-district, led the Celtics in scoring with 17 goals and 16 assists. Costner was first-team all-league and all-district and Agnew, who missed eight games while playing for the Canadian U17 team in the 2012 FIFA World Cup held Sept. 22-Oct. 13 in Azerbaijan, had 14 goals and 11 assists.
Among those expected to return is junior defender Christy Chou, who was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Coffman boys fall in regional final
For the second consecutive season, the Coffman boys team lost to Olentangy Liberty in a Division I regional final.
Both times the final score was 3-1.
Trailing 2-0 in the second half Nov. 3, the Shamrocks made it 2-1 on a penalty kick by Aaron Willis, who beat Liberty goalkeeper Anderson deAndrade with 8:53 left. However, Liberty's Grant Fisher scored with 21 seconds left to seal the outcome.
"This program had never gotten to this game, and now back-to-back years they got here and that says a lot about (the players)," Shamrocks coach Steve Watts said. "It says a lot about how hard they've worked, their talent and what they can accomplish together. The guys who are coming back next year obviously want to take the next step and get beyond this point. But especially the seniors to have taken this program where it's never been before, I couldn't be prouder of them."
Coffman, which finished 15-5-1, was seeded fourth in the district and beat Central Crossing (8-0 in the second round Oct. 20) and ninth-seeded St. Charles (2-0 in a semifinal Oct. 24) and fifth-seeded Westerville Central (2-1 in a final Oct. 27) to win the district title.
The Shamrocks then defeated Gahanna 2-1 in a regional semifinal Oct. 31.
Coffman went 5-2 in the OCC-Central to place second, behind Liberty (6-1) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (4-1-2), Davidson (3-2-2), Marysville (3-2-2), Upper Arlington (2-4-1), Westland (1-5-1) and Central Crossing (0-7).
The Shamrocks lose eight seniors, including forward Ryan Prescott, goalie Trent Rantala, defenders Justin Garcia and Zack Vollmer and midfielders Nick Gualtieri and Marcus Manarolla.
Prescott (11 goals, 9 assists) was first-team all-league and all-district and Rantala (55 saves) was first-team all-league and second-team all-district. Garcia and Manarolla were second-team all-league, Vollmer was special mention all-league and Gualtieri was honorable mention all-league.
Among those expected to return is junior midfielder Andrew Louwers, who had eight goals and six assists and was second-team all-league.
Coffman girls fall in regional semifinal
The Coffman girls team lost to Pickerington North 1-0 in a Division I regional semifinal Nov. 1 to finish 15-1-4.
The top seed in the district, Coffman beat Central Crossing 10-0 in the second round Oct. 18 and Watkins Memorial 4-0 in a semifinal Oct. 23 before beating Olentangy Orange 4-1 in a district final Oct. 27 for its fourth consecutive district title and its 10th overall.
The Shamrocks also won their second consecutive OCC-Central title, as they went 6-0-1 in league play to finish ahead of Davidson (6-1), Liberty (5-2), Thomas Worthington (3-3-1), Marysville (2-2-3), UA (2-4-1), Central Crossing (0-6-1) and Westland (0-6-1).
Coffman, which was ranked second in the final state poll, loses seven seniors, including midfielders Natalie Ashbrook, Grace Filler and Bailey Wilson and goalie Quynh Vo.
"We have seniors who played as freshmen in the state title game (in 2009, a 4-0 loss to Medina)," said coach Marc D'Auteuil, whom completed his fourth season. "They've been as valuable to this program as anybody who's ever gone through this program. They won four straight district titles and were 1:45 away from going into overtime to go to your fourth straight regional final."
Wilson, who had 14 goals and 17 assists, was named first-team all-league and all-district. Ashbrook and Vo were second-team all-league and Filler was special mention all-league.
Among those expected to return are juniors Sam Edwards (forward), Jesse Schaefer (forward), Brynn Schlemitz (defender) and Amanda Stratton (defender).
Edwards had 19 goals and 18 assists and was named OCC-Central and district Player of the Year and captain of ThisWeek's Super 12 team. Stratton was first-team all-league and second-team all-district, Schaefer was second-team all-league and Schlemitz was honorable mention all-league.
Buhigas among five seniors for Scioto girls
The Scioto girls team finished 10-3-4 after losing to Hilliard Bradley 2-1 in overtime in the second round of the Division I district tournament. The Irish, who were the seventh seed, had a first-round bye.
Scioto loses five seniors, including goalie/midfielder Anna Buhigas, defender Kelsey Diewald and midfielders Elise Jones and Sveta Gudenkova.
Buhigas, who had 40 saves in 10 games and scored 10 goals, was first-team all-league and all-district. Diewald was first-team all-league and third-team all-district, Jones was second-team all-league and Gudenkova (14 goals, 6 assists) was special mention all-league.
Among those expected to return is junior defender Maddie Marker, who was honorable mention all-league.
"Considering the things we went through and the changes, our girls really stepped up," coach Chris Adams said. "It wasn't always the prettiest of play, but we still continued to work and that's what I appreciate out of them."
Jerome boys finish 'tough season'
The Jerome boys team finished 5-9-4 overall and went 1-4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to place sixth, behind Darby (6-1), Westerville Central (4-1-2), Westerville North (4-2-1), Westerville South (3-1-3) and Kilbourne (3-4) and ahead of Scioto (1-5-1) and Bradley (1-5-1).
The Celtics beat Briggs 5-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17 before losing to St. Charles 1-0 (2-1 on penalty kicks) in the second round Oct. 20.
Jerome loses eight seniors, including forwards Ian Keller, Andres Isea and Kyle Moser.
Keller had seven goals and six assists and was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district. Isea was second-team all-league and Moser was honorable mention.
Among the expected returnees is junior midfielder Austin Larsen, who was special mention all-league.
"It was a tough season with many close games," coach Nate Maust said. "We went out with a real fight, so I was proud of the way we persevered."
Scioto boys show improvement
After starting 0-8-1, the Scioto boys team went 4-3 in its final seven games to finish 4-11-1.
The Irish lost to Thomas 3-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
"It was about halfway through the season after that Marion Pleasant game (a 6-0 win on Sept. 20) when all of a sudden they started believing in themselves," coach Chad Snider said. "That was the biggest deal. They didn't believe in themselves until that game and then they could play with anybody."
Scioto loses five seniors, including goalie Josh Ashwill and midfielder Taylor Dyson. Ashwill was first-team all-league and second-team all-district and Dyson was second-team all-league.
Among those expected to return is sophomore forward Jack Shadoan, who was honorable mention all-league.