North boys tackle adversity
The Pickerington High School North boys soccer team recorded winning records overall and in the OCC-Ohio Division during the regular season, but getting there wasn't easy for the Panthers.
After enduring a knee injury to junior forward Isaac Magnuson that caused him to miss most of the first half of the season, senior midfielder Luke Westkamp missed about a week after a Gahanna player accidentally hit him in the mouth with his head, causing two front teeth to be pushed into the roof of his mouth.
"It was just a fluke," coach Darrin Monhollen said. "That happened on a Tuesday (Oct. 2) and he was back on Saturday. Luke's a tough kid."
North opened the postseason Oct. 20 with a 3-0 win over visiting Dresden Tri-Valley in a Division I district tournament second-round game. Senior midfielder Tanner Ebright scored two goals and Magnuson added the other.
"We're stretching the field nicely," Monhollen said. "Marlon Pugh (a senior forward) has been playing pretty well lately and we've put a couple shutouts on the board. We just want to keep that momentum going into the tournament."
Ebright entered the week with a team-high 11 goals and Pugh had eight, including three against Teays Valley in a 5-0 win Oct. 6.
North entered the week at 9-5-3 and advanced to visit 11th-seeded Thomas Worthington in a district semifinal Oct. 24. That winner will play top-seeded Olentangy Liberty or Lancaster in a district final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Westerville Central.
The district champion would play Olentangy Orange, Reynoldsburg, Westerville North or Westerville South in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. Of those teams, North tied Lancaster at 2 in its regular-season finale Oct. 15, defeated Reynoldsburg 2-1 on Sept. 18 and lost to Westerville North 2-0 on Sept. 27.
Against Lancaster, Pugh and Ebright scored goals and senior goalkeeper Max White made two saves to give North a 4-2-1 finish in the OCC-Ohio.
Moving on in tourney
Central's boys and North's girls each won second-round district tournament games.
Derrick Awuah's four goals sent Central to a 5-1 win over Delaware on Oct. 20 in a game moved to Westerville South because of poor field conditions at Central. The eighth-seeded Tigers improved to 11-3-3 and advanced to a district semifinal at fifth-seeded Westerville Central on Oct. 24.
That winner will play fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman or ninth-seeded St. Charles in a district final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Westerville South. The district champion will play Canal Winchester, Gahanna, Hilliard Darby or Olentangy in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. Central was 1-2-1 against those teams in the regular season, defeating Canal Winchester 1-0 on Aug. 23, tying Lancaster at 2 on Aug. 28 and losing to Darby 2-0 on Aug. 30 and Gahanna 3-1 on Oct. 9.
North's girls beat Groveport 8-0 on Oct. 18 to improve to 15-0-2. Ashlynn Jones scored three goals and Brooke Durbin, Aubrey Lukascko, Christy Macioce, Megan Marasco and Rylie Shaw scored one apiece to send the second-seeded Panthers into a home district semifinal against Westerville South on Oct. 23.
The winner will play sixth-seeded New Albany or 11th-seeded Westerville Central in a district final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Gahanna. The district champion will play Coffman, Hilliard Bradley, Orange or Watkins Memorial in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Of those teams, North tied Bradley at 0 on Sept. 6.
Central girls end season
Senior forward Shelby York scored the only goal Oct. 18 as Central's girls lost a second-round Division I district tournament game 2-1 at Westerville Central.
The Tigers, who defeated Lancaster 10-1 in a first-round game Oct. 16, finished 10-7-1.
"I told our girls to play their game from the start. Play possession (and) play classy," coach Jillian Walters said. "We couldn't have asked for a better fight. But (Westerville Central is) a team that is a little bit faster than us."
Central finished fourth in the OCC-Ohio with a 4-3 record, behind champion North (7-0), Grove City (5-1-1) and Gahanna (5-2) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (3-3-1), Lancaster (1-5-1), Groveport (1-6) and Newark (0-6-1).
The Tigers lose seven seniors in Lizzie Awuah (forward), Shannon Brennan (midfielder), Samantha Gengler (forward/midfielder), Amy Hawley (midfielder), Jordan Lewis (defender), Libby Roesch (defender) and York. Awuah scored a team-high 13 goals; freshman forward Aisha Suhaiba added nine.
Expected returnees include both goalkeepers, freshman Jaelyn Cunningham and junior Lisa Slattery, sophomore midfielder Taylor Johnson, junior midfielder/defender Rachel Koch, sophomore defender/midfielder Taylor Lewis, junior forward Samantha Oberdorf and junior forward/midfielder Casidy Simonis.