Hilliard Davidson High School boys soccer coach Dan Hoover considers the Division I district tournament "a second season."
The 12th-seeded Wildcats were hoping to start a strong postseason run when they played 22nd-seeded Reynoldsburg in the first round Oct. 18.
Davidson was 7-8-1 overall entering the postseason and lost its final three regular-season games.
"I think we've matured," Hoover said. "I would have liked to have seen us mature a little earlier, but overall our (regular) season was as expected."
The first-round winner plays 18th-seeded Gahanna in the second round Saturday, Oct. 21, at the home of the better seed. That winner plays fifth-seeded New Albany, 17th-seeded Delaware or 27th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the home of the better seed. The district final is Oct. 28.
Davidson lost to New Albany 2-1 on Sept. 7.
"We feel like we really haven't played our perfect game yet," Hoover said. "We're hoping everything comes together. They're set up for it. It's up to them to put it together for 90 minutes. We can't wane in the last two minutes of these halves like what's been happening."
The Wildcats closed the regular season with a 2-1 loss to visiting St. Charles on Oct. 12. Coby Stover scored for Davidson and goalkeeper Lorenzo Nieves had five saves.
"We played them hard," Hoover said. "We scored first. It was our senior night, so all the seniors got to play and they played really well. I was very happy with their performance."
Davidson went 3-2 in the OCC-Central Division to finish third, behind Dublin Coffman (4-0-1) and Marysville (3-0-2) and ahead of Upper Arlington (2-2-1), Westland (1-4) and Central Crossing (0-5).
Through 16 games, Jackson Lightfoot led the Wildcats with four goals and one assist. Stover, Carter Ely, Daiki Matsuoka and Daniel Waid each had three goals and one assist, while Alex Larzelere had two goals and three assists.
"I can't believe this is almost over," said Waid, a senior. "It's been a long ride, but in sports they say time flies when you're having fun and it's definitely been a lot of fun getting to know my brothers on the soccer team and having a lot of success with these guys."
Cross country teams win league titles
The boys and girls cross country teams tuned up for the Division I district meet by winning OCC-Central titles Oct. 14 at Darby.
The girls scored 22 points in the league meet to finish ahead of UA (53), Marysville (77), Coffman (88) and Central Crossing (155). Westland did not have a team score.
Sophie Lewis finished first of 53 runners in 18 minutes, 35.46 seconds.
Lindsay Stull was third (18:54.54), followed by Sydney Petersen (fifth, 19:21.8), Ellie Tighe (sixth, 19:26.42), Meghan Sculli (seventh, 19:40.22), Lauren Alsko (ninth, 19:50.38) and Justine Smith (12th, 20:00.46).
The boys scored 24 points in the league meet to finish ahead of Coffman (60), UA (68), Marysville (99), Central Crossing (130) and Westland (189).
Andrew Tighe placed second of 59 runners in 16:05.34.
Conner Johanssen was third (16:11.76), followed by Max LeClair (fifth, 16:37.88), Jack Altman (sixth, 16:47.86), Andrew Taylor (eighth, 16:52.71) and Nick Sauvey (ninth, 16:58.57).
The girls will compete in the district 3 meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial, where the top six teams and top 24 runners advance to regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North. The boys will compete in the district 1 race, from which the top five teams and top 20 runners qualify for regional.
Girls soccer team ousted by Warhawks
The 14th-seeded girls soccer team lost to 23rd-seeded Westerville Central 2-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16 to finish 7-7-2 overall.
The Wildcats went 3-1-1 in the OCC-Central to tie Marys-ville (2-0-3) for second, behind Coffman (3-0-2) and ahead of UA (2-1-2), Central Crossing (1-4) and Westland (0-5).
Boys golfers end season at district
The boys golf team capped its season in the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.
The Wildcats finished 11th (336) of 12 teams as Dublin Jerome (294) and Olentangy Liberty (307) advanced to the state tournament Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Senior Jack Brown led Davidson with an 81, while juniors Jacob Drees, Cole Kazmerzak and Caleb Stimmel each shot an 85 and sophomore Zach Welch carded an 86.
It was Davidson's eighth consecutive district appearance.
The Wildcats finished third (319) in a 13-team sectional Oct. 3 at Darby Creek, behind Jerome (280) and Westerville Central (314).
Stimmel led Davidson with a 77.
Season highlights included winning the Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek on Aug. 9, winning the Grove City Invitational at Hickory Hills on Sept. 9 and finishing first in the fourth round of the OCC-Central tournament Sept. 13 at Darby Creek.
Davidson went 14-6 in the four-round league tournament to finish third behind UA (18-2) and Coffman (16-4) and ahead of Marysville (8-12), Central Crossing (4-16) and Westland (0-20).
Stimmel was first-team all-league, Brown was second-team all-league and Welch was honorable mention all-league.
"As we expected, we started the season off slowly, but through hard work and a strong resolve, the boys turned the season into a very successful and fun year," coach Monte Rhoden said. "Our strength was defined by the total team effort, and I could not be prouder of how they fought to carry on the excellent tradition of Wildcat golf."
Lee closes season at district tourney
Amelia Lee of the girls golf team competed in the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek, shooting an 81 to tie for 24th of 54 golfers.
The junior finished nine strokes behind the second and final individual state qualifier, New Albany's Madison Spiess (72).
"Amelia did an outstanding job all year," coach Bob Winland said. "District was a little disappointing to her, but she still finished an outstanding year as one of the top players in central Ohio."
Davidson finished fourth (364) in a sectional Oct. 3 at Mentel Memorial behind district-qualifiers Jerome (314), Gahanna (339) and Coffman (346).
Lee led the team with a 77 and advanced to district. Also competing for the Wildcats were junior Eleni Monroe (89), senior Morgan Conley (97), freshman Kacy Harsh (101) and senior Kelsey Rader (110).
Davidson went 7-13 in the four-round OCC-Central tournament to finish fourth, behind UA (20-0), Coffman (16-4) and New Albany (9-11) and ahead of Canal Winchester (6-14) and Marysville (2-18).
Lee was second-team all-league.
Volleyball team falls to Gales
The 26th-seeded girls volleyball team lost to 19th-seeded Lancaster 23-25, 25-15, 25-21, 26-24 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16 to finish 8-14 overall.
Doubles team ends season at district
Seniors Josie Paazig and Grace Wilson of the girls tennis team lost 6-1, 6-3 to Liberty's Lexi Steer and Cellini Ko in the first round of doubles play in the Division I district tournament Oct. 12 at Bradley.
"They had great careers and great seasons," coach Steve De Dent said of Paazig and Wilson. "They're two great kids. They've been a pleasure to coach and they're a pleasure to be around. They were real leaders this year."
Davidson finished 12-11 overall and went 2-3 in the OCC-Central to finish fourth, behind Coffman (5-0), UA (4-1) and Marysville (3-2) and ahead of Central Crossing (1-4) and Westland (0-5).
Among the players eligible to return are juniors Hannah McGivern and Emma Wood and sophomores Sophia Persad, Kaitlyn Quinn and Katherine Sarkel.
"We have to get mentally tougher, we have to go out and hit the ball some more and we need to have some girls take some things a little more seriously," De Dent said.