When it comes to tradition, the Ready High School girls soccer and girls volleyball teams have something in common -- each followed years of struggles to emerge as an area Division III power.
On Oct. 27, the soccer team captured its first district championship while the volleyball squad won its fourth district title in five seasons.
Before earning its first district runner-up finish a year ago, the soccer team's only previous appearance in at least a district semifinal was in 2009.
The Silver Knights received the top seed this fall and beat Grandview 1-0 in a district final at Gahanna. They lost to Middletown Fenwick 2-0 in a regional semifinal Oct. 30 at Hilliard Bradley to finish 15-3-2.
"We've won our first district title and we have the best record (in program history)," first-year coach Jason Montgomery said before the regional semifinal. "It's been great for us, and we were able to do it against a great defensive team like Grandview.
"You can see from the girls on the sideline that we don't have a big group. (Winning district) allows us to take the next step. We don't have a (junior varsity) team. Hopefully this will help us to get more girls out and have a j.v. team next year."
Freshman midfielder Del-aney Cutteridge scored against Grandview with 5 minutes, 54 seconds remaining after the ball glanced off teammate Caroline Riewe.
"It's great to win it, especially for my sister," Cutteridge said of 2012 graduate Taylor Cutteridge. "They lost the (district) final (3-2 to Columbus Academy last year) and they really wanted it last year. I'm glad we were able to get that this time."
The soccer team defeated Worthington Christian 3-1 on Oct. 23 to advance to the district final as Riewe had two goals and Donavan Capehart added one. Goalkeeper Kim Lloyd had 10 saves.
"We just didn't want it to be our last game for our seniors," Riewe said.
"We're having so much fun and we're getting so much closer this year."
The volleyball team had gone 74-110 in the eight seasons before Mike Kusan took over as coach in 2007.
Since then, Ready has gone 113-43 and last year was a state semifinalist.
The Silver Knights beat North Union 25-17, 25-17, 25-14 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 and defeated Heath 25-20, 25-21, 25-14 at Pickerington North for the district title.
Ready played Huron in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Findlay, and the winner faced Archbold or Coldwater for the regional title Nov. 3 at Findlay.
The regional champion plays Canfield South Range, Orrville, Cuyahoga Heights or Gates Mills Gilmour Academy in a state semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at Wright State, and the championship is 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Wright State.
"It's really fun to be a part of this and to be a part of something that's team-oriented," libero Dani Mercer said. "We were ready to play (in the district final) and knew what (Heath was) going to give us. I think our serve-receive was strong."
"I knew we were going to win it," senior Karley Kusan said. "We know what to expect and everybody has been buying in."
Football team opens playoffs
Despite losing two of its last three of the regular season, the football team returned to the postseason after a two-year absence.
Ready lost to Hartley 42-8 on Oct. 26 for the CCL-Gold Division title and was 7-2 entering its Division IV, Region 14 opener Nov. 2 at Genoa Area.
Genoa Area beat Pemberville Eastwood 21-10 on Oct. 26 to improve to 10-0.
The Silver Knights were making their 12th playoff appearance but first in Division IV since 1995. They won their only state title, in 1983, while playing in Division IV. There were five divisions from 1980-93.
Akili Taylor had 19 carries for 137 yards but Doug Strickler was held to 4 yards on 12 rushes against Hartley, which completed its second consecutive perfect regular season.
The winner of Ready-Genoa Area plays Ottawa-Glandorf or Lorain Clearview in a regional semifinal Friday, Nov. 9, at a site to be determined.
Season ends for runners
The cross country program had two competitors at regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North but neither advanced to state.
Sophomore Matthew Platter placed 58th (18 minutes, 31.45 seconds) in the Division III boys race as the top 16 advanced to state. Sugarcreek Garaway senior Logan Kettlewell was first (16:20.31).
Platter didn't compete in cross country last fall but came out this year after having an enjoyable track season last spring.
"Just to be able to run (at regional) is fantastic," Platter said. "Toward the middle of the year I felt I could do it and it fell into place."
Freshman Kathleen Colvin placed 72nd (21:42.28) in the Division II girls regional. London junior Sarra Taylor, the defending state champion, won in 18:50.55.
"It's just disappointing that I can't get to state," Colvin said. "It's really fast and there are a lot of great runners. I'm going to be able to set my goals higher after being here. It's something to look forward to."
Boys soccer team to return strong trio
With Jimmy Hanley, Payne VanTilburg and Chris Wiser among the junior class, boys soccer coach Sam Sunseri is hoping his team won't take a step back next season.
"We had 12 seniors in our program, but six had never played soccer before this year," said Sunseri, who completed his third season. "We've got some strong juniors coming back in Chris Wiser, Payne and Jimmy."
The Silver Knights went 6-10-2 overall for the second consecutive season. They opened the Division III district tournament with a 5-0 win over Wellington on Oct. 17 but lost to Columbus International 2-1 (3-1 on penalty kicks) on Oct. 20.
Ready had tied Wellington at 1 on Oct. 5 and played one of its best games of the season in the tournament opener, according to Sunseri.
Against seventh-seeded International, Wiser put Ready ahead 1-0 in the first half.
"We had so many opportunities to finish but just couldn't get it done," Sunseri said.
Hanley was second-team all-district and first-team all-league. Senior Daniel Perry also made first-team all-league and VanTilburg and senior Nick Berner were on the second team.
Key seniors included Tyler Eggers, Eric Knapke, Scott Knapke, Jose Polanco, Isaiah Sylvia and Nick Ackison.
Ready went 0-4 in the CCL to finish behind St. Charles (4-0), DeSales and Watterson (2-1-1 each) and Hartley (1-3).