Westerville North boys rally for tourney win
Despite falling behind Mount Vernon 2-0 midway through the first half, Westerville North High School boys soccer coach Mark Price never lost confidence in his team.
The Warriors affirmed their coach's faith by rallying for a 3-2 win in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20 at Westerville Central.
The game was moved to Central because of a band competition at North.
Freshman Mark Just's goal with 2 minutes, 1 second left was the winner and lifted the seventh-seeded Warriors into a semifinal against Reynoldsburg on Oct. 24 at home.
North, which was 10-5-2 before playing Reynoldsburg, had a first-round bye.
"I have a bunch of seniors on this team that lead us and never give up," Price said. "It would be easy to give up when you're down 2-0 in the tournament and we brought it all the way back. Some teams it could just feel like they're going to be ready for that season to be over, but these guys want to keep playing. We had a rough first half, but it was never in doubt. I knew we were going to get it back. It was just a matter of time."
Cameron McMahon scored twice for 33rd-seeded Mount Vernon, which finished 5-10-3.
North began its rally when Jacob Pulliam scored off an assist from Just with 29:27 remaining. North tied it at 2 on Dom Charnier's goal with 5:46 left.
Just, who was promoted to varsity in mid-October, then came through with what he called the biggest goal of his career.
"I went down the field and the goalie dropped it and I kicked it right back and scored," Just said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Tristan Doone made two saves.
The North-Reynoldsburg winner will play sixth-seeded Olentangy Orange or 12th-seeded Westerville South in a district final at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at a site to be determined.
North and South tied at 0 in an OCC-Cardinal Division game Oct. 9, and the Warriors lost to Reynoldsburg 3-1 on Aug. 21.
The winner will play Olentangy Liberty, Lancaster, Pickerington North or Thomas Worthington in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at a site to be determined.
Central gets by Bradley in opener
Central advanced to a Division I district semifinal by defeating Hilliard Bradley 3-1 on Oct. 20 at home.
The Warhawks also defeated the Jaguars 4-0 in an OCC-Cardinal game Sept. 11 at home.
Fifth-seeded Westerville Central was 10-5-2 before playing eighth-seeded Pickerington Central in a semifinal Oct. 24. The Warhawks had a first-round bye.
The winner will play fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman or ninth-seeded St. Charles in a district final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at South.
Westerville Central defeated St. Charles 1-0 on Aug. 21 and lost to Coffman 1-0 on Aug. 23.
The district champion will play Canal Winchester, Gahanna, Hilliard Darby or Olentangy in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at a site to be determined.
Against Bradley, Gabe Whitaker opened the scoring and Hunter Robertson and Sam Sharifi scored second-half goals to push Central's lead to 3-0.
Griffen Gordon had five saves.
"Our guys came out kind of flat in the first half and we challenged them at halftime to pick it up," coach Dave Pence said. "We were losing midfield and our guys in the middle, Abdi (Mohamed), Mike (Reed), Curtis (Baker) and Hunter, picked it up in the second half and did a fantastic job."
South advances with win over Grove City
South earned a spot in a Division I district semifinal with a 3-0 win over Grove City in the second round Oct. 20 at home.
The Wildcats, who had a first-round bye, were 7-3-7 before playing Orange on Oct. 24.
The winner will play North or Reynoldsburg in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27.
South lost to Reynoldsburg 2-0 on Oct. 4.
The district champion will play Liberty, Lancaster, Pickerington North or Thomas in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Against Grove City, Luke Morais scored two goals and Mohamed Banow scored one.
Matt Doolittle had two saves.
"It was the best game our program has had in the two years I have been here," coach Aaron Linden said. "We are healthy and feel that we are very dangerous. We are not just putting our sights on the district championship, but we have dreams and goals of going much further. We don't want the season to end and we will fight all the way to make sure it keeps going. These boys are a family and play for each other. I'm so proud to just be a part of it."