If the Thomas Worthington High School boys soccer team is going to win its ninth Division I district championship since 1991, it must do a better job defending set pieces.

If the Thomas Worthington High School boys soccer team is going to win its ninth Division I district championship since 1991, it must do a better job defending set pieces.

The Cardinals, who had a first-round bye, defeated Northland 7-0 in the second round last Saturday to improve to 8-6-3 overall. They faced Hilliard Davidson in a district semifinal last Wednesday, with the winner playing fifth-seeded Dublin Scioto or Pickerington North in a district final at 12 p.m. Saturday at Upper Arlington.

Before playing Davidson, coach Brian Parsons estimated that 80 percent of the goals the Cardinals had allowed came off throw-ins, penalty kicks and corner kicks.

"We've tried everything," Parsons said. "I've been coaching a long time, and I've never seen anything like this. We aren't going to give up many goals in the run of play, but we need to defend set pieces better."

Thomas defeated Pickerington North 4-3 on Oct. 13 but lost to Scioto 3-2 on Aug. 27 and lost to Davidson 2-0 on Sept. 8.

"It's an advantage of knowing all three of those teams that were ahead of us in the rankings," Parsons said.

The district champion plays top-seeded Gahanna, Hilliard Darby, Dublin Coffman or New Albany in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Coffman.

•The Kilbourne boys team saw its streak of consecutive district final appearances come to an end at six.

The Wolves lost to Pickerington North 1-0 in the second round of the district tournament last Saturday to finish 5-7-6 overall. North's Zach Justus scored in the final three minutes.

Three of Kilbourne's losses were by one goal.

"This game wasn't that much different than the other games we had this season," said coach Jon Sprunger, whose team defeated Beechcroft 7-0 in the first round Oct. 21. "We were doing well in the midfield and we were right in it."

Kilbourne started 0-4-3 but started turning its season around with a 1-0 victory over DeSales on Sept. 17. The Wolves handed DeSales -- the top seed in the district in Division II -- its only defeat during the regular season, winning 1-0 on Sept. 17.

The Wolves went 4-1-3 in their final seven games, with the lone loss being a 3-0 loss to Gahanna on Sept. 29. The Lions were ranked second in the final Division I state poll.

Kilbourne and Thomas tied for fourth in the OCC-Central Division at 1-2-2 behind Upper Arlington (3-0-2), Davidson (3-1-1), Coffman (2-1-2) and ahead of Darby (0-4-1).

The Wolves lose eight seniors in defenders Sage Gardner (five goals, five assists) and Andrew Taylor (five assists), goalie Nick Hills, midfielders David Girgis, Ian O'Keefe (five assists), Chase Tourville and Max Walters and forward Anthony Perito.

Gardner and O'Keefe made first-team all-OCC-Central. Gardner, who has committed to Ohio State, was first-team all-district and O'Keefe was third team all-district. Tourville was second-team all-league and Taylor was honorable mention all-league.

"A lot of times we judge people on their senior year," Sprunger said. "They didn't have the year they wanted, but they were key in the success the past two years."

Sprunger expects junior Patrick Norris to compete for Hills' vacated spot at goalie. Also expected to return are juniors Jordan Hendricks (eight goals, two assists), Dylan Nourse and Alex Pavlechko, sophomores Brett Hanna and Brian Hanks and freshman Ippei Koda on defense, juniors C.J. Nash, sophomore Ryan Wiet and freshman Charlie Reymann at forward and sophomore Adam Hren at midfield.

Hendricks was an honorable mention all-league.

•The Kilbourne girls team lost to Watterson 4-1 in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 22 to finish 6-9-2 overall.

"I don't think the score shows how close of a game it was," said coach Courtney Irwin, whose team had opened the tournament with a 9-0 win over Briggs on Oct. 20. "We came out a little scared and Watterson just capitalized on that."

Kilbourne tied Thomas for third in the OCC-Central at 1-2-2, behind Upper Arlington (5-0) and Coffman (3-1-1).

The Wolves lose nine seniors in defenders Christine Brugges, Corey McClellan and Holly Walton, midfielders Kara Barford, Christine Bond, Kelsey Jones and Tatum Mounts and forwards Olivia Hein and Maggie Sullivan.

"They were a great group of girls who played with a lot of passion," Irwin said. "They developed perseverance and a lot of character."

Expected to return are junior Devon Tabata and sophomore Marissa Elliott at goalie, junior Danielle Reymann at defender, juniors Sammi Adams, Lauren Rossi and Katie Wiet and sophomore Grace Barker at midfield and junior Kelsey Whittimore and sophomore Frankie Perito at forwards.

Walton and Tabata both were first-team all-OCC-Central. McClellan was second-team all-league and Heim was honorable mention all-league.

•The Thomas girls team lost 4-3 in a shootout to Marysville in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 22 to finish 5-8-4 overall.

The Cardinals scored on three of their five penalty kicks in the shootout, with Haley Reeb, Rebecca Sheldon and Nikki Appel converting on their scoring chances.

"The girls played hard, but we didn't put the game away," said coach Tim Barton, whose team had a first-round bye. "Once you get into a shootout, it becomes a game of chance."

Thomas loses eight seniors in defenders Reeb, Kristen Taylor, Mackenzie Johnson, Jen Miller, Kristen Taylor and Jennifer Wallace, midfielders Megan Atterbury and Lily Hammer and forward Appel.

"That was a very smart group of players," Barton said. "They weren't real talkative, but they led by example and did a great job with the leadership of the team."

Expected to return are junior Haley Cross and sophomore Kendall Kwiatkowski at forward, juniors Sheldon and Lily Yednock and sophomores Kim Hoeraf, Taylor Lawwell in the midfield, sophomore goalies Mackenzie Howell and Rachael Chizever and sophomore defender Megan Insley.

Reeb, who has committed to Florida, and Sheldon were first-team all-OCC-Central. Insley made second-team all-league and Cross and Scholl were honorable mention all-league.


At a glance

KILBOURNE BOYS

Record: 5-7-6 overall, 1-2-2 in OCC-Central Seniors lost: Sage Gardner, David Girgis, Nick Hills, Ian O'Keefe, Anthony Perito, Andrew Taylor, Chase Tourville and Max Walters Key returnees: Brett Hanna, Jordan Hendricks, Patrick Norris, Dylan Nourse, Alex Pavlechko and Ryan Wiet

KILBOURNE GIRLS

Record: 6-9-2 overall, 1-2-2 in OCC-Central Seniors lost: Kara Barford, Christine Bond, Christine Brugges, Olivia Hein, Kelsey Jones, Corey McClellan, Tatum Mounts, Maggie Sullivan and Holly Walton, Key returnees: Sammi Adams, Danielle Reymann, Lauren Rossi, Devon Tabata, Kelsey Whittimore and Katie Wiet

THOMAS GIRLS

Record: 5-8-4 overall, 1-2-2 in OCC-Central Seniors lost: Nikki Appel, Megan Atterbury, Lily Hammer, Mackenzie Johnson, Jen Miller, Haley Reeb, Kristen Taylor and Jennifer Wallace Key returnees: Rachael Chizever, Haley Cross, Mackenzie Howell, Megan Insley, Kendall Kwiatkowski, Rebecca Sheldon and Lily Yednock