Makayla Burzynski has tried to keep the Bexley High School girls soccer team moving in the right direction.
The junior goalkeeper said keeping the ball out of the net is important, but there are several necessary elements to the game that she needs to deal with before a shot comes her way.
"You have to be able to be the voice out there and direct the players," said Burzynski, whose eighth-seeded team was 5-8-2 before playing at sixth-seeded Licking Valley on Oct. 16 in the first round of the Division II district tournament. "You see the whole field, so it's not just about stopping the ball and hoping it doesn't go in the net. You have to be able to read the field, distribute the ball and tell your players how to shift and push the ball."
Burzynski had 109 saves through 15 games, an average of 7.3 per contest.
"Makayla has got the vision and mentality and education on how to organize the defenders in front of her," first-year coach Ryan Leven said. "Her vision on the field is one of the best that I have seen. She has developed from a (recreational league)-type goalie to a club goalie to a high school goalie with a lot of potential. You can see that it's based on her mind and her vision of the game."
Burzynski does her homework. She prepares for opponents with her own version of a scouting report to figure out which players are going to be the biggest scoring threats.
"I think I'm good at directing people on the field and controlling my back line and reading the striker as it approaches," she said. "I try to read by their hips and I try to know who is going to be their key player. I look at the box scores before the game to kind of get a scouting report and I try to figure that out and be ready for them."
Burzynski has attended several camps in an attempt to make contact with college coaches. She was the MVP in her age division last summer in a camp at Ohio State.
"Camps and clinics help get your name out there," Burzynski said. "It allows you to meet with the coaches and make a connection with them."
In district play, the first-round winner advanced to face fourth-seeded Bloom-Carroll or 13th-seeded Sparta Highland on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the home of the better seed. The Lions lost to Bloom-Carroll 1-0 on Aug. 22.
The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, against top-seeded Granville, ninth-seeded Centennial, 10th-seeded Caledonia River Valley or 14th-seeded Heath at the home of the better seed.
The district final is Oct. 28 at a site to be determined.
Girls runners win third straight league title
The girls cross country team won its third consecutive MSL-Ohio Division championship Oct. 14 at London.
Molly Fagin won in 19 minutes, 15.0 seconds to lead the Lions, who totaled 31 points and finished ahead of Grandview (54), Columbus Academy (79), Whitehall (105), London (124) and Worthington Christian (133).
"Molly had a nice run and I think she was pretty happy with it," coach Eric Acton said. "We're trying to get focused for the postseason."
The Lions compete in a 21-team Division II district meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial. The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to the regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North.
In the league meet, Bexley's Nos. 2-6 runners finished sixth through 10th. Ally Grieshop (21:16.4) was sixth, followed by Maria Steinke (21:16.6), Karleigh Place (21:45.5), Hannah Hayden (22:05.6) and Annie Politi (22:13.6). Virginia Anderson (17th, 24:07.9) also competed.
The boys team finished third (72) behind Academy (40) and Grandview (50) and ahead of Worthington Christian (91), London (110) and Whitehall (157).
Theo Snowdon (ninth, 17:28.3) led the Lions, followed by Miles Feinknopf (11th, 17:34.5), Andrew Rogers (15th, 17:43.9), Sam Warner (16th, 17:56.2), Zach Shapiro (21st, 18:23.6), Spencer Stevenson (22nd, 18:26.9) and Dylan Abel (28th, 19:00.6).
Bexley competes in the 14-team Division II, district 2 meet. The top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to regional.
Doubles team falls short of state tourney
The doubles team of senior Haley Wilson and junior Avery Weisman lost its Division II district opener to Columbus School for Girls' Savannah Halley and Grace Weiler 7-6, 7-6 on Oct. 12 at CSG, ending the season for the girls tennis team.
In a sectional Oct. 6 and 7 at Academy, Wilson and Weisman finished third after defeating Worthington Christian's Isabelle Nguyen and Alyssa Weishaar 6-2, 6-2 in the consolation final.
Playing singles at sectional were junior Olivia Williams, sophomore Ava Grossman and freshman Stephanie Lehman. Sophomores Katie Benedict and Ellie Levy were the other doubles team.
The Lions finished 10-6 overall and were third (27 points, 4-2) in the MSL-Ohio behind Academy (51, 6-0) and Wellington (37, 5-1) and ahead of Worthington Christian (24, 3-3), London (22, 2-4), Grandview (5, 1-5) and Whitehall (0, 0-6).
Boys soccer team to open tourney
The second-seeded boys soccer team opens the Division II district tournament Saturday, Oct. 21, at home against 14th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek or 19th-seeded London in a second-round game.
The Lions are 10-2-3. They defeated London 8-0 on Sept. 6 in MSL-Ohio play.
The winner plays in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, against fourth-seeded Academy, 11th-seeded Centennial, 21st-seeded River Valley or 26th-seeded Lakewood at the home of the better seed. Bexley lost to Academy 2-1 on Oct. 4 in league action.
The district final is Oct. 28 at a site to be determined.
Goalie Ben Ziegler had nine saves as the Lions closed the regular season with a 2-0 loss to St. Charles on Oct. 14.
Football team to face London
The football team plays an MSL-Ohio game Friday, Oct. 20, at home against London.
The Red Raiders fell to 7-1 overall with a 27-23 loss to Ready on Oct. 13. They are 3-0 in the league.
Against Ready, K.J. Price rushed for 168 yards on 26 carries. Josh Handley was 2-for-9 passing for 18 yards with one touchdown and one interception and rushed for 59 yards and one score on four carries.
Bexley lost to Whitehall 56-0 on Oct. 13 to fall to 0-8 overall and 0-4 in the league. The Lions have been outscored 184-14 in MSL-Ohio contests.
Postseason begins for field hockey team
The 10th-seeded field hockey team was 8-8 overall before opening the district tournament Oct. 16 against 11th-seeded Dublin Jerome.
The winner played sixth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in the second round Oct. 18, and that winner advanced to a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 16th-seeded Dublin Scioto.
The district final is Oct. 28 at Liberty.
The Lions finished 4-4 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East after defeating Lancaster 2-0 on Oct. 9. Eimear McCann and Ellie Palmer both scored.
Volleyball team begins postseason
The 13th-seeded girls volleyball team opened the Division II district tournament Oct. 16 at ninth-seeded River Valley.
The winner played Oct. 18 at fourth-seeded London, and that winner advanced to a district semifinal against seventh-seeded Buckeye Valley or 10th-seeded Heath on Oct. 26 at Licking Heights.
The Lions closed the regular season 4-17 overall and 2-8 in the MSL-Ohio after losing to Academy 25-16, 25-23, 22-25, 27-25 on Oct. 10.