Darby boys win outright OCC title
Members of the Hilliard Darby High School boys soccer team weren't in a sharing mood when it came to the OCC-Cardinal Division championship.
The Panthers made sure they secured the title outright by defeating Bradley 4-3 in their league finale Oct. 9. If they had lost to Bradley and Westerville North would have beaten Westerville South that same night, they would have had to share the OCC-Cardinal title with North.
The Warriors ended up playing South to a scoreless tie.
Darby finished 6-1 in the OCC-Cardinal, followed by Westerville Central (4-1-2), North (4-2-1), South (3-1-3), Worthington Kilbourne (3-4), Dublin Jerome (1-4-2), Bradley (1-5-1) and Dublin Scioto (1-5-1).
The league title is the Panthers' first since 2007.
"We didn't want to share the OCC title with anyone, and it's a lot more special for the kids to finish up with a win and have complete bragging rights as the best team in our league," coach Johnny Ulry said.
Senior outside midfielder Gage Toy scored all four goals for the Panthers, who led 1-0 at halftime and extended their lead to 4-1 midway through the second half.
"Gage stepped up and took care of his chances and he had the first hat trick that our team has had in the last three years," Ulry said. "Give credit to Bradley because they never quit and they made it a close game at the end."
Seeded third, Darby has a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament and plays host to Northland or Zanesville in the second round Saturday, Oct. 20. If the Panthers advance, they would play host to 10th-seeded Olentangy or Newark in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Darby played Olentangy to a scoreless tie Oct. 8 but have not played Northland, Zanesville or Newark this season.
Last year, seventh-seeded Darby was upset by Watkins Memorial 2-1 in the first round of the tournament. The Panthers also fell in their tournament opener in 2010, losing 3-2 to Scioto.
"We need to make sure we're mentally ready to play in the tournament because we weren't the past two years and it cost us," Ulry said. "It's really important that we continue to get stronger defensively because we can't afford to give up three goals in a tournament game.
"But we're having a good season, so we're not going to try to reinvent the wheel in the tournament. We're getting real good play in the center midfielder (positions) from Brian Lee and Jacob Atkinson, and Zach Kuebler and Jeff Tuckett have continued to keep the center of our defense strong."
Davidson girls place second in OCC
The Davidson girls team beat Marysville 4-2 in its OCC-Central finale Oct. 8 behind two goals from Lauren Bates and one goal apiece from Ashley Blake and Lea Edler to secure second place in the league.
The Wildcats went 6-1 in the OCC-Central to finish behind Dublin Coffman (6-0-1) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (5-2), Marysville (2-2-3), Thomas Worthington (3-3-1), Upper Arlington (2-4-1), Central Crossing (0-6-1) and Westland (0-6-1).
"After we lost to Coffman (2-0 on Aug. 28), we were hoping someone else would beat them or tie them so we could pass them in the league standings, but we weren't expecting it because they're a very good team," coach Joe Divida said. "But I'm glad we were able to win the rest of our league games to give ourselves a chance in case they did slip up somewhere along the way."
Seeded fourth, Davidson has a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament and opens Thursday, Oct. 18, at home against Teays Valley in the second round. If the Wildcats advance, they would play host to Thomas Worthington or Mount Vernon in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23.
The Wildcats beat Thomas 2-1 on Oct. 2 but have not played Teays Valley or Mount Vernon this season.
"We've been working as a team to play with a high energy level and put pressure on teams to make it difficult for them," Divida said. "We want to try to stay on the attack for 70 minutes. In most of our games, we've gotten on a roll and buried our opponent early. But Thomas Worthington played us close and they could be a good challenge early in the tournament if we get to play them again."
Bates, a senior central midfielder, had a single-season, program-record 20 goals through 15 games. She broke the record of 2012 graduate Courtney Hall, who scored 18 last season.
"Lauren's having a great season, but Ashley Blake and Lea Edler have scored a bunch of goals, too, and all of our forwards and midfielders are doing a good job of creating and finishing scoring chances," Divida said. "Our defense also is improving and our sophomore, Sidney Wright, is playing really well in the back."
Bradley girls beat Darby in OCC finale
The Bradley girls team beat Darby 1-0 in its OCC-Cardinal finale on Oct. 9 as Alex Day scored off an assist from Lauren Bailey and defeated DeSales 2-1 on Oct. 11 to improve to 5-7-4.
"Darby is well-coached and they came at us and battled us to the end," coach Dan Hoover said. "It's nice to finish the OCC-Cardinal with a win to build some confidence going into the tournament."
The Jaguars opens the Division I district tournament Thursday, Oct. 18, in the second round at seventh-seeded Scioto.
Bradley tied Scioto at 1 on Oct. 2 behind a goal by Becca Schalip but lost to Marysville 2-0 on Oct. 4. The Jaguars have not played Orange or Newark this season.
"We played one of the toughest schedules of any team in the state of Ohio, so we should be prepared for the tournament," Hoover said. "Dublin Scioto has a skilled team, and we're going to change a few things to see if we can get a better result against them this time around."
Hoover said his team must do a better job finishing its scoring opportunities if it is to make a run in the tournament. The Jaguars scored 17 goals in their 16 regular-season games.
Schalip leads the team with four goals and Bailey has a team-high four assists.
"We've had plenty of shots but they haven't been accurate, so we have to be more efficient with where we place shots in the offensive third of the field," Hoover said. "We have played well defensively and our four seniors, Amanda Fodor, Taylor Gray, Lauren Bailey and Jess Rains, have done a good job of leading the team."