Senior defender John Michael Long of the Columbus Academy boys soccer team recalls his freshman season in 2009 when Bexley defeated the Vikings 2-1 en route to winning the MSL-Ohio Division title at 5-0, while Academy tied Lakewood for fourth at 2-3.
Since then, the Vikings have won back-to-back league championships, and they will be looking for their third consecutive title when they visit Bexley on Thursday, Oct. 11.
"I've been playing since freshman year on varsity," Long said. "We lost to Bexley my freshman year and ever since then we've beaten them to win the league and I would love to beat them one more year and clinch the outright MSL-Ohio championship for the third straight year."
Last season, the Vikings defeated Bexley 3-1 to finish 6-0 in the league, ahead of the second-place Lions (4-1-1).
In 2010, the teams tied at 0, with Academy winning the league at 5-0-1 and Bexley second at 4-0-2.
The Vikings are 5-0 in the league, and they were 11-1-2 overall before playing Watterson on Oct. 9. The lone loss came against Division II DeSales 1-0 in the opener Aug. 21.
The Vikings were seventh in the Division III state poll last week behind top-ranked Hudson Western Reserve Academy.
Academy received the second seed and a first-round bye for the Division III district tournament. The Vikings will play host Oct. 20 to Madison Plains or East Knox, which play in the first round Wednesday, Oct. 17.
Before beginning postseason play, the Vikings have unfinished business with Bexley. The Lions are 4-0-1 in the MSL-Ohio, having tied Granville at 0 on Sept. 27.
"The league is very important and we definitely are looking forward to competing and winning it," coach Ron Leach said.
Through 14 games, Jake Tuckerman had 15 goals and one assist, Jack Lint had 10 goals and 11 assists and Gavin Koerner had eight goals and six assists.
Goalkeeper Thomas Nolan had 45 saves.
For Bexley, Jacob Cini led the team in scoring through 13 games with eight goals and five assists, and Jacob Hodge had nine goals and one assist.
Goalie Sebastian Parra-Maya had 30 saves.
"The guys will be ready to go," Leach said. "They love the Bexley game. I have a lot of respect for coach (Greg) Kullman and the Bexley Lions, but our kids love the challenge. They love to step up being it's a big game and they like challenges like that. We're a very competitive group."
Girls team to face Madison Plains
The girls soccer team received the third seed for the Division III district tournament.
The Vikings open the postseason Monday, Oct. 15, at home against Madison Plains. The winner plays fifth-seeded Worthington Christian or 12th-seeded Liberty Union in the second round Oct. 18.
The Vikings were 8-6 overall and 4-2 in the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio before playing Grandview on Oct. 9.