While Wynleux Henderson believes some people might have doubted his team's potential, the Westerville South High School boys soccer coach is pleased with the Wildcats' regular season and optimistic about their postseason chances.
South is 8-4-4 overall and seeded sixth for the Division I district tournament. It opens the postseason Saturday, Oct. 21, by playing host to 21st-seeded Logan or 36th-seeded Teays Valley in a second-round game.
"(Receiving the sixth seed is) a culmination of the whole season," Henderson said. "The guys are working hard and getting the results that maybe a lot of people didn't think we would. We got seeded high enough where we can fight to survive, one game at a time."
The second-round winner plays 15th-seeded Canal Winchester, 31st-seeded Mount Vernon or 38th-seeded Briggs in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the home of better seed. That winner advances to a district final Oct. 28, possibly against top-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 19th-seeded Olentangy Orange.
"I tried to set us up for as much success as possible, but the tournament is a frustrating time," Henderson said. "It's anybody's game. You only have to be the best team one night."
The Wildcats defeated Orange 3-0 on Sept. 26 and lost to Liberty 2-1 on Sept. 19 in OCC-Buckeye Division games.
"We have a pretty good draw," senior defender Oliver Jones said. "I'm not surprised. We're playing real well this year. We're all really connected. We're playing as one team."
South closed the regular season with losses to Westerville Central 3-0 on Oct. 9 and Grove City 2-1 on Oct. 12.
"(The Central loss) was a tough game," Jones said. "We didn't come out like we should have. They're a good team this year."
Against Grove City, Malani Lungu scored and goalkeeper Russell Montemarano had six saves.
The Wildcats went 2-2-1 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish third behind Liberty (4-0-1) and Central (2-0-3) and ahead of Olentangy (1-1-3), Orange (1-2-2) and Westerville North (0-5).
"We have a really good league," Jones said. "We lost 2-1 to Liberty, which is pretty good considering that they've only lost one game this year."
Cross country teams eye district meet
The boys and girls cross country teams prepared for the Division I district meet by competing in the OCC-Buckeye meet Oct. 14 at Hilliard Darby.
The boys finished third (84) behind Liberty (31) and Orange (46) and ahead of Olentangy (103), Central (115) and North (172). Nathan Ware was seventh of 59 runners in 16 minutes, 58.12 seconds, followed by Malachi Rispress (13th, 17:24.77) and Cole Koehler (15th, 17:28.39).
The girls finished sixth (174) behind Liberty (36), Orange (56), Olentangy (62), Central (83) and North (134). Ellie Bouton was 29th of 56 runners in 21:53.46, followed by Izzy Kotik (38th, 22:39.04) and Taylor Hughes (43rd, 23:03.81).
The boys and girls will compete in the district 2 meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial. For the boys, the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to the regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North. For the girls, the top six teams and top 24 individuals advance.
Girls soccer team to open tourney
The 22nd-seeded girls soccer team opens the Division I district tournament Thursday, Oct. 19, at 15th-seeded Watterson in a second-round game.
The winner plays third-seeded Gahanna or 29th-seeded Reynoldsburg in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the better seed, and that winner advances to a district final Oct. 28 at neutral site to be determined.
The Wildcats are 5-7-4 overall and went 1-3-1 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie Central for fourth behind champion Orange (4-1).
Girls volleyball team begins district play
The 41st-seeded girls volleyball team improved to 7-16 overall by defeating 45th-seeded Northland 25-7, 25-8, 25-9 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.
The Wildcats played at fourth-seeded Orange in the second round Oct. 18, with the winner facing 18th-seeded New Albany or 19th-seeded Lancaster in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Franklin Heights.
The district final is Oct. 28 at Franklin Heights.
South went 1-9 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie North for fifth behind co-champions Liberty and Orange (both 9-1).
Boys golfer Taylor caps prep career
Senior Troy Taylor concluded his career with the boys golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.
The Michigan State commit was seeking his third state tournament appearance, but was edged by Thomas Worthington's David LaLonde. Both shot 73 to tie for the second individual-qualifying spot, requiring a playoff that LaLonde won after three holes.
"I know he's taking it pretty hard because he had greater aspirations this year," coach Ryan Rice said. "I told him no matter what, I was still proud of the way that he played."
South finished 13th (412) of 13 teams in the Turnberry sectional Oct. 3 behind champion Liberty (304), but Taylor shot a 77 to advance to district.
Taylor placed fifth of 72 golfers last season at state. As a freshman, he finished in a six-way tie for 21st.
Sophomore Tristan Mathis and freshmen Ethyn Allen and Daniel Murray rounded out the team.
South went 0-20 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish sixth behind Liberty (20-0), Olentangy (14-6), Central (12-8), Orange (10-10) and North (4-16).
Taylor was honorable mention all-league. He was not eligible for first- or second-team honors after missing the first round of league play Aug. 8 at Turnberry because of PGA junior commitments.
Girls golf team completes season
Despite enduring a disappointing season, girls golf coach Jeff Owdom was pleased with his team's dedication.
South concluded its season by finishing 11th (460) of 11 teams in a Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Westchester behind champion Upper Arlington (307). Senior Emma Davidson led the Wildcats with a 99.
The Wildcats went 0-20 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish sixth behind Orange (19-1), Liberty (17-3), Central (12-8), Olentangy (8-12) and North (4-16).
Freshmen Katherine Blais and McKhala Eckert are eligible to return.
"We had a tough season," Owdom said. "I was impressed and encouraged with how positive the girls remained after each match. I think every girl improved from the beginning of the season to the end."
Girls tennis team closes season
The girls tennis team finished 1-13 overall and went 0-5 in the OCC-Buckeye to place sixth behind Liberty (5-0), Orange (4-1), Olentangy (3-2), Central (2-3) and North (1-4).
The Wildcats defeated Centennial 5-0 on Sept. 21.
Senior Chloe Meyers missed the season with a high ankle sprain and will play on the boys team in the spring, according to coach Ryan French.
Sophomore Dani Koehler and freshman Megan Shoemaker went 2-1 in doubles in a Division I sectional Oct. 6 at Reynoldsburg to lead the Wildcats.
Others eligible to return are juniors Diana Appiagyei, Emma Hite, Tuyen Quan, Kathryn Shaffer and Caroline Stoll.