A bounce-back season by the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls soccer team ended with a district runner-up trophy.

A bounce-back season by the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls soccer team ended with a district runner-up trophy.

The eighth-seeded Wolves lost to third-seeded Dublin Jerome 7-0 in a Division I district final Oct. 27 at Canal Winchester to finish 11-7-1 overall. That's a marked improvement over last season when Kilbourne finished 4-11-1.

"This team, led by our six seniors, took last year's very humbling season and turned things around and gave us something to build onto," coach Courtney Irwin said. "They exceeded expectations all the way around.

"It's unfortunate that we have a lot of illness and injuries right now because we had high hopes and we played our hearts out, but we just couldn't put anything together."

Jerome, which was ranked eighth in the final state poll, did not allow a goal in three district tournament games and had allowed just nine goals through 19 games. Kilbourne, which lost to the Celtics 3-2 on Sept. 25, was the only team to score more than one goal against Jerome through 19 games.

Kilbourne had a first-round bye in the district tournament and beat visiting Westland 6-1 in the second round Oct. 18. It then defeated 10th-seeded Olentangy Liberty 2-1 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 at home.

The Wolves finished 3-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place fourth, behind Jerome (7-0), Westerville Central (5-1-1) and Dublin Scioto (4-1-2) and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (2-3-2), Westerville North (2-4-1), Westerville South (1-4-2) and Hilliard Darby (0-7).

Kilbourne will lose six seniors in Naomi Barker (midfielder), Lindsey Bauer (midfielder), Selena Fushimi-Karns (forward), Paige Martinski (defender), Hannah Vincent (defender) and Katherine Watkins (defender).

Fushimi-Karns was named first-team all-league and Vincent was special mention all-league.

"The leadership, passion, support and knowledge of the game this group of seniors have is special to me," Irwin said. "They played as one all season and I appreciated that about them every day. I can't thank them enough."

Expected to return are juniors Celeste Fushimi-Karns (defender), Erin Mahaffey (midfielder), Erika Simpson (defender) and Kelley Zebrowski (midfielder), sophomores Miriam Bassani (forward), Claire Chilcoat (midfielder), Mia Greco (forward), Alex Lawrence (goalkeeper) and Katie McIntyre (midfielder) and freshmen Carli Taute (forward) and Julia Tout (defender).

Celeste Fushimi-Karns (first team), Taute (second team) and Zebrowski (honorable mention) earned all-league honors.

"We've got a strong corps of juniors, a sophomore goalkeeper coming back and we started two freshmen, so we should have a good starting point," Irwin said. "Plus, with the number of injuries we had, we were able to get a lot of the underclassmen significant playing time off the bench as well."

Offense never got on track for Thomas girls

It was a perplexing season for Thomas girls coach Tim Barton, whose team finished 6-10-2 overall after losing at fourth-seeded Hilliard Davidson 4-1 in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 23.

"We had a lot of talent, but struggled to score," Barton said. "We just left a lot on the table. I don't think our record reflects how good they were. We lost a ton of one-goal games. It was one of those years where we kept ending up with the shorter end of the stick."

Thomas will lose nine seniors, including defenders Karly Boehm, Maddie Maxwell and Annie McFarland, forwards Kat Cross and Morgan Kingseed and midfielders Leighann Holcomb and Maddy Smith.

Boehm and Kingseed both scored four goals.

Another senior, goalie Mara Miller, missed the entire season because of a knee injury sustained during the offseason. Taking her spot in the lineup was senior Sydney Sanders.

"These girls got along well, they worked hard and were very enjoyable to be around, which is why you wanted to see them succeed and have a better record," Barton said. "Their leadership and maturity were excellent."

Thomas finished fourth (3-3-1) in the OCC-Central, behind Dublin Coffman (6-0-1), Davidson (6-1) and Olentangy Liberty (5-2) and ahead of Marysville (2-2-3), Upper Arlington (2-4-1), Central Crossing (0-6-1) and Westland (0-6-1).

Boehm (first team), Maxwell (first team), Smith (special mention) and Holcomb (honorable mention) received all-league honors.

The Cardinals had a number of injuries that forced Barton to experiment with his lineup. That should help the team next season, as many players who saw significant playing time are expected to return.

Expected back are juniors Bethany Geiser (goalie), Kelen Jones (midfielder), Fatima Said (forward), Jasmin Singh (midfielder), Julia Smith (midfielder) and Jenna Szabo (forward) and freshman Maddie Hamilton (defender).

Said had nine goals and four assists and was second-team all-league, and Szabo had four goals and a team-high six assists. Geiser had seven shutouts.

Thomas boys fall in district semifinal

The Thomas boys team entered the season with high expectations and started strong, losing just once in its first 10 games.

Relying heavily on their defense, the Cardinals were 5-1-4 at that point. They went just 1-4-1 in their final six regular-season games, but their only win in that stretch was a 2-1 decision over Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 9. The Patriots were ranked second in the final Division I state poll and were the top seed in the district.

Their energy renewed, the 11th-seeded Cardinals defeated Scioto 3-0 on Oct. 17 and Davidson 3-1 on Oct. 20 in the first two rounds of the Division I district tournament before losing to Pickerington North 2-1 in overtime in a semifinal Oct. 24 to finish 8-6-5 overall. A win would've put Thomas into a district final against Liberty.

"We wanted to play Liberty again to prove it wasn't a fluke," coach Josh Fenton said. "We're an elite program and we have high goals. We want to compete for a district title every season and we had a large senior class.

"We had our ups and downs. We beat some great teams, but we lost to some others we feel we should beat. When you beat the class of central Ohio, which is one of the best in the state and perhaps the nation, it shows that we had very good talent."

Thomas will lose 10 seniors, including seven starters in midfielders James Burpee and Ben Carloni, defenders Ryan Dunick, Will Edwards, Luis Naranjo and Thomas Roberts and goalie Jesse Greene. The senior class also included midfielders Ethan Cameron, Trace Castle and Sam Nash.

"The team rallied around these seniors and I love those guys," Fenton said. "They were freshmen when I started and they had a great season. Greene and Carloni are four-year varsity players, and Carlini's growth as a holding center midfielder was the reason for our tournament run. Roberts was a four-year starter who will be real difficult to replace. But all of them played major minutes and contributed. Our role players off the bench provided maturity and intelligence."

The Cardinals finished 4-1-2 in the OCC-Central to place third, behind Olentangy (6-1) and Coffman (5-2) and ahead of Davidson (3-2-2), Marysville (3-2-2), UA (2-4-1), Westland (1-5-1) and Central Crossing (0-7).

Roberts was named first-team all-league and all-district and Dunick was first-team all-league and third-team all-district.

Expected to return are juniors Ben Frazier (forward), Tommy Hoerauf (forward), Marcos Viscaino (midfielder), Stephen Withers (defender), Carter Wright (forward) and Hunter Young (forward) and sophomore Christian Quinn (midfielder).

Withers (second team), Quinn (special mention) and Frazier (honorable mention) earned all-league honors.

"For the first time since I've been here, we're going to be offensive-minded next season," Fenton said. "We have almost all of our forwards and midfielders back, but we'll need to find some defenders alongside Withers to protect a young keeper."

Kilbourne boys faced challenges

It was a challenging season for the Kilbourne boys team, which lost to host Delaware 2-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17 to finish 5-8-3 overall.

"We knew there were going to be many challenges this season, with the loss of a large senior class last year to the loss of our top talents to the (Crew) Academy to the move to a new OCC division," coach Jon Sprunger said. "Out of the 20 guys on the roster, 15 were new to varsity soccer. We had some good games and some others that weren't so good and the inexperience is the reason for that."

The Wolves finished 3-4 in the OCC-Cardinal to place fifth, behind Darby (6-1), Westerville Central (4-1-2), Westerville North (4-2-1) and Westerville South (3-1-3) and ahead of Jerome (1-4-2), Bradley (1-5-1) and Scioto (1-5-1).

Kilbourne loses seven seniors in Cameron Gall (defender), Kyle Justice (defender), Ben Lawson (defender), Tyler Martin (midfielder), Robbie Morris (midfielder), Garrett Pauly (forward) and Kyle Wahl (forward).

Wahl was special mention all-league and Gall was honorable mention all-league.

Expected to return are juniors Joey Cipicchio (goalie), Miguel Cruz (goalie), Ray Gardner (midfielder), Jake Kovacs (midfielder), Grant Nash (midfielder/forward), Ian Redding (defense/midfielder), Sam Schaffer (defender) and Lucky Shaut (midfielder), sophomores Justin Jiang (midfielder/forward) and James Reymann (midfielder/defense) and freshmen Clark Moats (defender) and Josh Stoner (defender/forward).

Cipicchio was first-team all-league and Kovacs was second team all-league.

"We performed well in terms of growth and we played well against some of the top teams in the state," Sprunger said. "In scrimmages or games, we tied Copley and Olentangy Liberty and we played well against Pickerington North and Westerville Central. We finished the season with four freshmen on the roster and we're moving to the smallest OCC (division, the OCC-Capital) next year. I think we're set up pretty well."