Perhaps the only thing that gave DeSales High School girls volleyball coach Andy Feltz a hard time Oct. 26 was the lack of cellphone service at Bloom-Carroll, where he went to scout the Stallions' Division I regional semifinal opponent.
"My assistant coaches wondered why I wasn't sharing updates," Feltz said. "We had no signal. I'd have had to go out to the parking lot and miss some of the (match)."
The top-seeded Stallions won their third consecutive district championship -- but their first in Division I -- earlier in the day, defeating 11th-seeded Olentangy Liberty 25-17, 25-14, 25-13 in a district final at Whitehall.
DeSales was 24-1 before playing Grove City in a regional semifinal Oct. 30 at Hilliard Davidson. The Stallions defeated the Greyhounds 25-19, 25-17, 25-7 on Aug. 24 in the season opener for both teams.
"We played well enough (against Liberty)," Feltz said. "I wouldn't say we were sharp in serve-receives, and we had some trouble getting sideouts, but we made up for that by having the best blocking we've had all year. We were able to shut them down."
Feltz said junior middle blocker Jamie Durbin, senior outside hitter Kendall Witt and sophomore setter Julia Brown led the defensive effort against the Patriots.
DeSales didn't drop a game in district play, easing past 34th-seeded Pickerington Central 25-8, 25-11, 25-9 in the second round Oct. 16 at home and topping 28th-seeded Central Crossing 25-14, 25-16, 25-6 in a semifinal Oct. 23 at Whitehall.
The regional semifinal winner plays Dublin Coffman or Lancaster in the regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at Davidson. The regional champion will play Amherst Steele, Chagrin Falls Kenston, Strongsville or Toledo St. Ursula in a state semifinal Nov. 7 at Wright State University. The state final is Nov. 9 at Wright State.
DeSales defeated Coffman 25-23, 20-25, 25-14, 25-19 on Sept. 4 but did not play Lancaster during the regular season.
"We feel like we're going to get everybody's best shot at this point, and that's something we're excited for," Feltz said. "We had a good reputation going into the (district) tournament draw, and we certainly were avoided as far as seeds going to other brackets. But these next four matches (in the regional and state tournaments), if we're going to achieve our ultimate goal, we will have earned it."
Football team looks for third straight win
With a win Saturday, Nov. 2, at Akron Buchtel - and some help -- the football team could make it back to the postseason.
A year ago, the Stallions finished the playoffs for the first time since 1993, as they finished ninth in Division III, Region 9 to fall one spot shy of a postseason berth.
DeSales beat Cincinnati LaSalle 34-6 on Oct. 25 to improve to 5-3 overall and win for the second consecutive week. The Stallions were projected to be ninth in the Region 9 computer ratings released by the OHSAA on Oct. 29.
Buchtel improved to 5-4 with a 20-6 win over Akron Kenmore on Oct. 26. The Griffins' defense is led by lineman Anthony Clark (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) and defensive back Stephen Mosley (6-1, 180). Clark has Division I scholarship offers from five BCS programs, including Pittsburgh and West Virginia, and Mosley has offers from Buffalo, Kent State and Toledo.
Against Kenmore, Buchtel gave up no passing yards and just four first downs.
The Stallions are coming off one of their best offensive performances of the season. Against LaSalle, quarterback Josh DeLozier was 6-for-9 passing for 73 yards and rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown and running back Austin Andrews rushed 24 times for 153 yards and two scores.
Buchtel quarterback Christopher Davis threw for one touchdown and rushed for another against Kenmore. Other key players on the Griffins' offense include running back Marquis Sams and wide receivers Deric Rucker and Brandon Twitty-Dixon.
Defensive back Sayyid Kanu, who returned an interception for a touchdown against LaSalle, has led DeSales' defense, which has allowed a total of nine points in its last two games.
The Stallions finished second in the CCL-Silver Division at 1-1, behind St. Charles (2-0) and ahead of Watterson (0-2). The Cardinals secured their first league title since 1962 by beating the Eagles 20-14 on Oct. 25.
Season ends for boys soccer team
A stiff wind worked against the boys soccer team in a 1-0 overtime loss to top-seeded Watterson in a Division II district final Oct. 26 at Westerville North.
Seeded second, DeSales lost the coin toss for the right to select which direction it wanted to go in the first 15-minute, sudden-victory overtime and the Eagles, with the wind at their back, took advantage, as forward Paul Mokrzan scored with 9 minutes, 58 seconds left.
In overtime, sophomore goalkeeper J.P. Baughman tried to punt the ball into the 20-mph wind, but the ball fell near the 30-yard line and Watterson gained control, leading to the winning goal.
DeSales coach Domenic Romanelli refused to blame the conditions for the loss.
"We played well going into the wind in the second half and we controlled the ball on the ground anyway," he said. "But our goalkeeper's punt got caught in the air and Watterson took advantage of it. No disrespect to Watterson, but we were lackadaisical on the ball and it was a gift for them. But give all the credit and kudos to them because they won the game."
The Stallions, who lost to Watterson 1-0 on Sept. 24 in a CCL game, finished 10-7-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the league.
Girls soccer team loses district final
The third-seeded girls soccer team gave up two goals in the final 6:29 in a 2-0 loss to fourth-seeded Bexley in a Division II district final Oct. 26 at Westerville Central.
Sophie Schottenstein broke the scoreless tie and Addie Cini added an insurance goal with 17 seconds left as Bexley won its first district title since 2010.
DeSales, which had defeated the Lions 2-0 on Sept. 7, was seeking its third consecutive district championship. The Stallions, who finished 10-6-2 overall, won the state championship in 2011 and were state runners-up in 2012.
"We got a little bit away from our game plan. Give a ton of credit to Bexley. They did what they wanted to do and got a couple goals out of it," coach Matt d'Auteuil said. "I wanted us to keep the ball on the floor and get the ball around them. We got around that, spraying balls in the corners and going in fits and spurts. They're the ones who took us out of our plan."
The Stallions finished 3-1 in the CCL, placing second behind Watterson (4-0) and ahead of Hartley (1-2-1), Columbus School for Girls (1-3) and Ready (0-3-1).
DeSales took a first-round bye in the district tournament, then shut out 17th-seeded Heath 10-0 in a second-round game Oct. 19 at home and edged seventh-seeded Jonathan Alder 2-1 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 before falling to Bexley.
The Stallions lose 10 seniors, including six who earned all-CCL honors. Defender Grace Alguire and midfielders Erin Kuisti, Alexis Neri and Maria Riley were first-team all-league and forward Lydia Burke and defender Kathleen Carpenter were second team.
Alguire and Riley also were named first-team all-district and Kuisti and Neri were second- and third-team all-district, respectively.
Among the expected returnees is freshman midfielder Bella Shivley, who made first-team all-league.
Barrett finishes 26th at regional
Sophomore Creighton Barrett of the boys cross country team finished 26th (17:09.24) of 133 runners in the Division II regional meet Oct. 26 at Troy.
The top 16 individuals at regional advanced to the state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
"This was a different race for Creighton in a few ways," coach Katie Shelton said. "He ran the regional at Pickerington as a freshman, so this was a new course for him. And this time, he was running as an individual. It was a little strange for him to be at the starting line with runners he didn't know, but it didn't impact the way he performed."
According to Shelton, Barrett started in a pack of 20 to 25 runners and was approximately in 50th place after the first mile. He was 30th by the second mile.
"He fought through the pack but just couldn't get far enough up to qualify (for state)," Shelton said.
Barrett was the only regional qualifier from the Stallions' boys and girls teams.