The Worthington Kilbourne High School boys and girls soccer teams both fell short of earning shares of OCC-Capital Division championships in their regular-season finales Oct. 8.
However, both entered the week pursuing a new goal -- reaching a Division I district final.
The boys improved to 9-3-5 overall by beating Columbus West 2-0 in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 19. Kilbourne had a first-round bye.
"We didn't play well. We were kind of sluggish," coach Jon Sprunger said. "We did what we had to do. We played at noon in the rain in 45-degree weather because we had homecoming later that night."
The eighth-seeded Wolves played 12th-seeded St. Charles in a district semifinal Oct. 23, with the winner advancing to a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville Central against top-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 16th-seeded Pickerington North.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Gahanna against Hilliard Bradley, Dublin Jerome, New Albany or Hilliard Davidson. Kilbourne played to ties against Bradley (1-all Aug. 20), Jerome (1-all Sept. 26) and New Albany (scoreless Oct. 1) during the regular season.
In the regular-season finale, the Wolves tied Olentangy Orange at 1 as Ray Gardner scored. The same night, New Albany defeated Mount Vernon 1-0 to clinch the outright title at 6-0-1, ahead of Kilbourne (5-0-2) and Orange (5-1-1).
"It's frustrating to go undefeated in your league and not win the championship," Sprunger said. "We had three really good teams in our division, and we all played similar style soccer with great defense."
Kilbourne's defense has been led by goalkeeper Joey Cipicchio, who has committed to Brown University, center backs Carter Grimm and Clark Moats and outside backs Sam Shaffer and Alex Cash.
"I really like what Clark Moats gives us," Sprunger said. "He's so versatile. We've used him at center back, outside back, defensive midfielder and forward, depending on what matchups we have with our opponent."
The 14th-seeded Kilbourne girls played at fifth-seeded Westerville Central in a district semifinal Oct. 22, with the winner advancing to a final to play third-seeded Hilliard Davidson or Olentangy on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Canal Winchester.
The Wolves have not played Davidson this season and beat Olentangy 3-0 on Sept. 24.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Dublin Jerome against Liberty, Bradley, Watterson or Westerville South.
The Wolves defeated South 4-3 on Sept. 14 and lost to Liberty 5-0 on Sept. 19, but they have not played Bradley or Watterson.
Kilbourne defeated Teays Valley 10-0 in the first round of district play Oct. 15 and Gahanna 2-1 in overtime in the second round Oct. 17, improving to 10-6-2 overall and avenging a 1-0 loss to Gahanna in the opener Aug. 20.
The Wolves had a chance to share the OCC-Capital championship, but lost to Orange 2-0 on Oct. 8 to finish 4-2 and tie New Albany for second as Orange (6-0) won the title.
Thomas boys reach district semifinal
The Thomas boys team played ninth-seeded Westerville Central in a district semifinal Oct. 23, with the winner advancing to a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, to play second-seeded Dublin Coffman or Lancaster.
The Cardinals lost to Coffman 7-2 on Sept. 10 but have not play Lancaster.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal against Canal Winchester, Gahanna, Olentangy or Westerville South on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Westerville North.
Thomas was seeded 10th and had a first-round bye before beating Groveport 5-1 in the second round Oct. 19.
"Marcos Viscaino scored three goals and played well, but you could tell we were sluggish and hadn't played in 10 days," coach Carlos Bonilla said. "We were rusty, especially in the first half. But once we settled down, we were able to put away our chances. We just needed to be more patient than we were early on."
The Cardinals were 11-5-1 overall before the district semifinal. They closed the regular season Oct. 8 by defeating Liberty 1-0 to finish 5-2 in the OCC-Central to tie Liberty for second behind Coffman (6-1).
Thomas girls also advance to semifinal
The Thomas girls played seventh-seeded Dublin Jerome in a district semifinal Oct. 22, with the winner advancing to a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville Central to play second-seeded Pickerington North or Hilliard Darby.
The Cardinals lost 2-1 to North on Aug. 24 and tied Darby at 1 on Aug. 31.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Gahanna against Coffman, Dublin Scioto, Grove City or Marysville.
Thomas lost to Coffman 1-0 on Sept. 9 and to Marysville 2-1 on Sept. 17, but has not played Scioto or Grove City.
The Cardinals were seeded ninth in the district and defeated Delaware 6-1 in the first round Oct. 15 and Reynoldsburg 4-0 in the second round Oct. 17 to improve to 11-5-2 overall.
Thomas closed the regular season by beating Liberty 3-0 on Oct. 8 to finish 4-3 in the OCC-Central, fourth behind Coffman (6-0-1), Davidson (5-1-1) and Liberty (4-2-1).