For the ninth consecutive year, the Worthington Christian High School boys soccer team ended its season at the state level.
The Warriors lost to Cincinnati Summit Country Day 2-0 in a Division III state semifinal Nov. 6 at Bellbrook to finish 15-4-2 overall. The Silver Knights beat Mansfield Christian 2-1 in the state final Nov. 9 at Crew Stadium.
"We'll move on," coach Dan Roads said, referring to falling short of the state title. "I tell the guys that the season never ends. It just goes on in the offseason, into the preseason and into the start of next season. We lose dangerous guys every year and lose great players all the time. We have someone at every position coming back."
Worthington Christian, which has won three state championships (2006, 2009 and 2011) and has 101 victories since Roads took over the program six seasons ago, also lost to Summit Country Day in a semifinal last year. That score was 3-0.
In this year's matchup against the Silver Knights, the Warriors trailed 1-0 at halftime, with senior forward Sam Condon and senior midfielder Mason Highman having shots hit off the post in the first half.
In the second half, Condon suffered an ankle injury with 19 minutes, 50 seconds left and did not return. Summit Country Day then put the game away with a goal with 15:04 remaining.
Seeded third in the district, Worthington Christian beat 16th-seeded Village Academy (7-0 on Oct. 19), 12th-seeded Granville Christian (5-2 on Oct. 23) and second-seeded Grandview (1-0 on Oct. 26) to win a district championship.
The Warriors then beat Columbus Academy (3-1 on Oct. 30) and Berlin Hiland (2-0 on Nov. 2) to win a regional title.
Worthington Christian went 5-1-1 in its first season in the MSL-Ohio Division to tie Academy for second, behind Bexley (5-0-2) and ahead of Grandview (5-2), Grove City Christian and London (both 2-5), West Jefferson (1-5-1) and Whitehall (0-6-1).
The Warriors, who started the season 3-2-1 but went 7-1-1 in their final nine regular-season games, lose seven seniors, including Condon, who had 22 goals and 10 assists and was named district Player of the Year and first-team all-league.
Other key seniors were Highman and defenders Mark Parsell, Isaac Sayre and Jay Trainer. Sayre was first-team all-league and Highman (6 goals, 3 assists) was second-team all-league.
"We had a great group of seniors," Trainer said. "When you look at the beginning of the year, we didn't think we could make it this far."
Among those expected to return are juniors John Burton (defender), Ben Davison (defender), Ryan Dickinson (defender), Jake Kress (goalkeeper), J.J. Phillips (forward) and Trent Strick (midfielder) and sophomores Zac Herbst (defender) and Joe Long (forward).
Phillips, who had 13 goals and nine assists, was first-team all-league. Strick was second-team all-league and Burton, Herbst and Kress were honorable mention all-league.
"We have a great future," Phillips said. "I'm proud of our guys," Roads said. "We've got J.J. and Trent coming back on offense and defenders coming back in Zac Herbst, who's a sophomore, Ben Davison and John Burton."