The Hilliard Bradley High School boys soccer team was missing two of its top forwards in Sam Darling (sprained ankle) and Ray Olavarria (sprained knee) heading into its Division II district tournament opener against Caledonia River Valley on Oct. 21.
That didn't stop the top-seeded Jaguars from rolling to a 7-0 win at home. Herman Paniagua scored twice and Ben Fitzpatrick, Brandon Thompson, Spencer Gates, Daniel Ordonez and Juan Sandoval each scored once.
Goalkeeper Joe Krochmal made one save to earn the shutout.
"We were missing two good players because of injuries, but this was a good team effort and it feels good to get the first tournament win in our team's history," said coach Tony Earp, whose squad lost to Granville 3-0 in the first round of the Division II district tournament a year ago. "We put away a couple of goals early and we were able to play a lot of players in this game. It's a great start to the postseason."
The Jaguars played eighth-seeded Bexley in a semifinal last Tuesday. The winner plays seventh-seeded Big Walnut or Watterson in a final Saturday at Grandview.
The winner of that competes in a regional semifinal Tuesday at a site to be determined against Chillicothe, Chillicothe Zane Trace, Greenfield McClain or Marietta. The regional final will be Nov. 6 at Watkins Memorial.
Through 17 games, Paniagua (11 goals), Thompson (nine goals), Darling (seven goals) and Fitzpatrick (seven assists) were Bradley's leading scorers.
But Earp said the Jaguars must play excellent team defense to advance deep in the tournament.
Led by Troy Fleischman (central defender), A.G. Baskiakos (central defender), Ivan Rodriguez (left fullback), Fitzpatrick (right fullback) and Matt Parthun (goalkeeper), Bradley had given up only 18 goals in its first 17 games.
"Our draw turned out to be even better than we thought it would be, so we think we have a good chance to keep winning if we can maintain our focus," Earp said. "We need to get back to playing the type of defense we played during the first half of the season, because we were stronger then. If we can win our district, we'll be confident we can compete at the regional level, because the Central District is the hardest area to win."
•The Davidson girls team opened the Division I district tournament last week with back-to-back blowout wins.
The Wildcats pounded Northland 10-0 in their opener on Oct. 19. Katie Holland, Angela D'Amico and Jenna Sulc each scored twice, Kaitlyn Reynolds, Paige Weber, Lauren Bates and Alaina Lundregan each scored once, and goalkeeper Susan Anderson didn't need to make any saves.
Two days later, Davidson beat Hartley 4-0 as Reynolds, Kendra VanHorn, Weber and Bates scored. The Wildcats' defense didn't allow a shot on goal.
"That was a good way to start the tournament," Weber said. "We played well and gained a lot of confidence for our next games."
The Wildcats, who lost to Darby 1-0 in the first round of district last year, played Watterson last Tuesday in a semifinal. The winner plays second-seeded Dublin Coffman or Thomas Worthington in the final on Oct. 30 at Dublin Scioto. The winner of that plays Dublin Jerome, Gahanna, Olentangy Liberty or Upper Arlington in a regional semifinal Wednesday at Upper Arlington.
Davidson beat Thomas 1-0 on Sept. 7, tied Coffman at 1 on Sept. 28, beat Gahanna 3-2 on Sept. 11, lost to Liberty 5-1 on Sept. 30 and downed UA 2-1 on Oct. 5.
With defender Monica Lince and forward Ashley Weethee leading the way, Davidson allowed only 14 goals in 18 games and posted 10 shutouts before last Tuesday.
"When we play teams in our league (Coffman and Thomas), it's always a rivalry game, so that would be an exciting final," Weber said. "To keep winning we need to stay strong on defense, because we know we can score goals."
At a glance
Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Bradley, Darby and Davidson boys and girls soccer teams:
Oct. 21 - Defeated Caledonia River Valley 7-0 in Division II district tournament opener.
Last Tuesday - Played eighth-seeded Bexley. The winner plays seventh-seeded Big Walnut or Watterson in the final on Saturday at Grandview. The winner of that competes in a regional semifinal Tuesday at a site to be determined against Chillicothe, Chillicothe Zane Trace, Greenfield McClain or Marietta. The regional final will be held Nov. 6 at Watkins Memorial.
Of note: The Jaguars were 12-4-1 overall before last Tuesday. The Jaguars are seeded first.
Oct. 19 - Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 1-0 in Division I district opener
Of note: The Jaguars finished 8-7-2.
Last Saturday - Lost to Dublin Scioto 3-2 in Division I district opener
Of note: The Panthers finished 9-5-3.
Oct. 19 - Def. Centennial 2-0 in Division I district opener.
Oct. 21 - Lost to top-seeded Pickerington North 3-0 in the second round
Of note: The Panthers finished 5-10-2.
Last Saturday - Lost to New Albany 4-3 after losing a shootout 5-3 on penalty kicks in Division I district opener
Of note: The Wildcats finished 7-5-4.
*Oct. 19 - Def. Northland 10-0 in Division I district opener
Oct. 21 - Def. Hartley 4-0 in second round
Last Tuesday - Played Watterson in a semifinal. The winner plays second-seeded Dublin Coffman or Thomas Worthington in the final on Oct. 30 at Dublin Scioto. The winner of that plays Dublin Jerome, Gahanna, Olentangy Liberty or Upper Arlington in a regional semifinal Wednesday at Upper Arlington. The final is Nov. 6 at Dublin Scioto.
Of note: The Wildcats were 13-3-2 overall before last Tuesday. The Wildcats are seeded fourth.