The Wellington School girls soccer team finished 12-4-1 after losing to top-seeded Bexley 4-1 in a Division II district semifinal Oct. 21.
The Lions went on to beat Olentangy Orange 3-0 last Saturday to win their fourth consecutive district and improve to 20-2-1.
In the first nine minutes of the semifinal, Wellington was on the attack and kept the ball on the Bexley of the field. Bexley made only two trips inside Wellington's end, and Jessica Linger took advantage of both, score two of her three goals.
"In the first nine minutes, we were winning every 50-50 ball and had the ball in their end of the field," coach Billy Thompson said. "We weren't getting a lot of great chances, but we had an advantage. Bexley is a very good team, and if you give them a chance they're going to punish you."
The Jaguars, who had won their previous six games, will lose seniors Marika Viragh, Kristi Olesik, Maggie Connell and Nicole Dahl from the midfield and Laura Wilkie and Amanda Morse at forward. Viragh was first-team all-district and Dahl made the third team.
Wellington also will lose seniors Cameron Danis and Cate Seago from the defense and goalkeeper Miranda Todero. Wellington had four shutouts, over Circleville 3-0 on Aug. 23, Logan Elm 4-0 on Oct. 6, Tree of Life 1-0 on Oct. 11 and Ready 5-0 on Oct. 15.
"We're losing three players (Wilkie, Viragh, Dahl) who have earned four letters each," Thompson said. "Those seniors are probably the most successful group we've had come through here."
The Jaguars were a combined 46-17-9 the last four years.
In a 6-5 win over Jonathan Alder on Sept. 9, Wellington trailed 3-0 midway through the first half.
"That game taught us that games are never over until they're completely over," Viragh said. "But mostly when I look back on this season, it won't be the games I remember but those small moments when we were all together as a team."
Junior Missy Gyurcsik, sophomore Becky Shin and freshman Paige Price are expected to lead the defense.
Sophomores Dara Love, Casey Fleeter, Shanna Griffin and Elaine Poon and freshmen McKenzie Danis and Abigail Postle should return at forward and junior Nicole Darragh, sophomore Anna Viragh and freshmen Sophie Knowels and Anna Leone are expected back in the midfield.
"We had four different players (Wilke, Marika Viragh, Love, Dahl) have hat tricks this season," Thompson said. "Everyone stepped up and played together."
Wellington's Marika Viragh sends the ball upfield Oct. 22 during a Division II district semifinal game against Bexley.