Blair Cowan is enjoying life.

The senior forward has helped guide the Hilliard Darby High School girls soccer team to a 5-2-3 overall record before a game against Watkins Memorial on Sept. 26.

"We're really playing well, despite two tough losses back-to-back," Cowan said. "But it's been a fun season because everyone has been supportive and we're like a family out there. We've been in (a Division I) district championship (game) the last two years and lost, but we're going to bring home the trophy this year."

The Panthers lost by a 2-1 score to both Olentangy on Sept. 14 and Dublin Jerome on Sept. 19.

Cowan, an Ohio State commit, was second-team all-state last season when she totaled 16 goals and 15 assists for Darby, which finished 14-4-1. She had five goals and five assists through 10 games this season.

"Blair is having another very strong season as she controls our midfield," coach Dan Brady said. "While her offensive numbers may be down, she has truly become a force on both sides of the ball. Her defensive play has been very strong, helping our team record four shutouts so far. She has become a complete player and is ready to take the next step."

Cowan isn't concerned about her personal offensive statistics.

"We haven't scored as much and I haven't scored as much, but I'm taking what is there and not trying to force anything," Cowan said. "Most teams have two players with me wherever I go. When I get the ball, I'm making the passes to the right spots. I'm finding someone else. I have confidence in my teammates.

"I'm not at all concerned about my scoring. As long as we're winning, that's the only important thing to me. I'm very excited to see how we finish this year and I'm also excited and looking forward to playing at Ohio State."

The loss to Jerome dropped the Panthers to 3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division. Darby entered the week behind both Jerome and Bradley in the league standings. The Celtics and Jaguars both were 3-0 entering their league matchup Sept. 26.

Darby's final two league games are Tuesday, Oct. 3, at home against Thomas Worthington and Oct. 10 at Bradley.

"We expected a hard-fought battle with Jerome and that's what it was," Brady said. "It was end-to-end action as Jerome recorded 14 shots to our nine. I was pleased with our play, as it took two brilliant shots by Jerome to beat us. Our goalkeeper, Emily Schneck, had a couple of impressive saves as well.

"All in all, I am pleased with how the team is playing. We had a key injury to senior center defender Hannah Knobloch, which caused a hiccup, but we filled her spot with junior Allison Williams, who played outstanding. Allison is our regular starting holding midfielder. We expect Hannah back soon."

Boys soccer team
fights for OCC title

The boys soccer team entered the week without a loss, but will still need help to win at least a share of the OCC-Cardinal title after playing Jerome to a scoreless tie Sept. 19.

The Panthers are 2-0-2 in the league and will finish their league schedule with games Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Thomas and Oct. 10 at home against Bradley. Jerome was 2-0-1 in the league before facing Bradley on Sept. 26.

Nick Hermosilla had six saves against the Celtics.

The Panthers were 5-0-5 overall before facing Watkins Memorial on Sept. 26.

Darby rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit to beat Watterson 2-1 on Sept. 21. Daniel Djelmis tied the game on a penalty kick and Josh Govine scored the winner off a crossing pass from Matthew Toplikar. Brian Watkins made three saves and Hermosilla had two.

Volleyball team falls
short against Wolves

The girls volleyball team had a three-match winning streak snapped when it fell short against Worthington Kilbourne 25-22, 25-18, 19-25, 23-25, 15-9 on Sept. 19.

The outcome all but sealed the OCC-Cardinal title for the Wolves, who were 8-0 in the league entering the week with four league matches remaining.

The Panthers were 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the league before playing Dublin Scioto on Sept. 26.

Against Kilbourne, Madison Smith had 19 kills, six blocks and 16 digs, Paige Kucinic had 13 kills and two blocks, Quinn Coppess had seven blocks, Cambron Hampton had 31 digs, Olivia Zawadski had 34 assists and Sydney McCreary had 19 assists.

The Panthers bounced back to beat Westland 25-17, 25-14, 29-31, 25-9 on Sept. 21.

Smith registered 10 kills and six aces against the Cougars. Coppess and Kucinic each had seven kills, Lauren Chance had six kills, Annie Rauch had four blocks, Zawadski had 23 assists and McCreary added 16 assists.

Boys golfers getting
set for sectional

The boys golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Darby Creek, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.

The Panthers competed at Darby Creek in the third round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 30, shooting a 340 for their best score in the four-round event. Ty Spangler and Tim Hales both shot an 82 and Adam Tivin carded an 83.

Darby finished 12th in the sectional at Turnberry last season and did not have any district qualifiers.

Girls golfers to
begin postseason

The girls golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Westchester, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.

Darby competed at Westchester in the first round of the league tournament Aug. 9 but did not post a team score. Maria Hayes had a 107 to lead the Panthers.

Darby finished 10th in the sectional at Westchester last season and did not have any district qualifiers.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Darby cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 30 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at home

BOYS GOLF

Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional at Darby Creek

GIRLS GOLF

Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional at Westchester

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 28 -- At Grove City

*Oct. 3 -- At Thomas Worthington

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Grove City

*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington

GIRLS TENNIS

Sept. 28 -- At DeSales

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome. The Panthers lost to the Celtics 11-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 15-11 on Aug. 31.

Sept. 30 -- Perrysburg Invitational

Oct. 4 -- At Watterson

*League contest