Hector Gomez racked up 68 goals through three full seasons and a fourth regular season with the DeSales High School boys soccer team, but the senior midfielder is convinced he is not the Stallions' best player.
That honor, he says, goes to his younger brother, junior midfielder Cristian Gomez.
"He's probably our best player, certainly our most well-rounded player overall," Hector Gomez said. "He does anything coach (Domenic Romanelli) wants him to, anything the team needs. He plays one of the biggest roles in the team's success and definitely in mine. He does most of the dirty work, and I capitalize on that.
"What I hear people say is I'm more technical and he has more heart. I don't know how to describe it; more heart, more intensity toward the game. It all equals out."
DeSales was 16-0-1 before playing host to ninth-seeded Marion Pleasant in a Division II district semifinal Oct. 25.
Although Hector Gomez, who had 22 goals and 14 assists through 17 games, is more of a scorer than Cristian Gomez, who had nine goals, the brothers have followed similar paths through the Stallions program.
Hector Gomez has started at midfielder his entire career and was one of only two freshmen on the 2014 Division II state championship team, along with defender Zach Garrett. As a junior, Gomez had 31 goals and 20 assists and earned first-team all-state honors.
Thanks in part to a loaded midfield that included Hector Gomez and 2016 graduate Antonio Romanelli, Cristian Gomez started at right back as a freshman before moving back to his natural position as a sophomore.
"I could play Cristian anywhere if I needed it; midfielder, defender and even goalie," coach Romanelli said. "Hector is at his best facing plays, knocking balls over and pinging balls around. He isn't good with his back to the goal. I trust him enough that he has free rein to do whatever he wants to do, and most of the time he finds a way to come through."
Cristian Gomez did in fact play in goal once as a sophomore, making one save in a 6-1 win over Cincinnati Indian Hill to end the regular season.
"I just try to do my best in every position I play. Wherever I have to play, I won't complain about it," Cristian Gomez said. "It's been a long journey since my freshman year. I remember all the seniors telling me high school soccer flies by. I felt like it would take forever, but it's gone by fast."
Garrett said he and the rest of the defensive unit consider Cristian Gomez one of their own despite his being in the midfield.
"Instead of one of us having to win the ball, Cristian does a great job winning and we can stay back and work on marking," Garrett said.
DeSales is the top seed in the district for the fourth consecutive year and was top-ranked in last week's state poll.
Cristian Gomez scored three goals and Nick Fuchs scored two in the Stallions' 8-0 win over 18th-seeded Linden-McKinley in a second-round home game Oct. 21.
The semifinal winner faces 10th-seeded Independence or 12th-seeded Jonathan Alder in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a neutral site to be determined.
The district champion plays Warsaw River View, Steuben-ville, McConnelsville Morgan or Zanesville in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 1, at a neutral site to be determined.
"I want to make sure we achieve our ultimate goal (of a state title)," said Hector Gomez, who said he has talked with a handful of Division I and II colleges. "My stats don't matter. I just want victory after victory, step by step. I love the assists because I am setting up my teammates to be successful. I take pride in goals, of course, but those goals come as an assist from somebody else."
Girls volleyball team wins tourney opener
The girls volleyball team played 23rd-seeded Westerville Central in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 25, needing two wins this week to capture its seventh consecutive district championship.
Third-seeded DeSales cruised in its tournament opener Oct. 19, sweeping 35th-seeded Whetstone 25-2, 25-6, 25-12 in a second-round home match to improve to 17-3.
The semifinal winner will play sixth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or eighth-seeded Olentangy in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at Franklin Heights. The district champion advances to a regional semifinal Nov. 2.
Bury, Towler to run at regional
Cammy Bury of the girls cross country team and boys runner Ben Towler will represent DeSales in regional meets Saturday, Oct. 28, at Pickerington North.
Bury finished 12th (19 minutes, 25.16 seconds) in the Division I, district 2 meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial, where the top six teams and top 24 runners advanced to regional.
The Stallions finished ninth (225 points) behind champion Granville (43) as 16 teams scored.
Also scoring for DeSales were Bre Callahan (32nd, 20:52.47), Hannah Pekarcik (47th, 21:22.48), Abi DeBrosse (52nd, 21:33.99) and Sarah Zaino (85th, 23:33.42).
In the Division II, district 2 meet, Towler placed fifth (16:35.25) to lead the Stallions, who finished fifth (146) behind champion Heath (50) as 12 teams scored. The top four teams and top 16 runners qualified for regional.
Also scoring for the Stallions were Angelo Ricci (27th, 17:44.4), John Shoemaker (33rd, 17:55.55), Jonathan Pusateri (40th, 18:12.77) and Art Williams (41st, 18:18.36).
In the Division I regional meet, the top five teams and top 20 runners advance to state Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway. In Division II, the top seven teams and top 28 runners advance.
Girls soccer team falls to Greyhounds
A season that featured the girls soccer team's first CCL championship since 2011 did not include a postseason victory.
Junior forwards Gabby Elliott and Madison Rennie scored for 17th-seeded DeSales in a 3-2 overtime loss to 11th-seeded Grove City in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 19.
DeSales, which had a first-round bye in the 42-team tournament, finished 5-9-3 overall.
Rennie had nine goals to lead the Stallions, who went 3-0-1 in the CCL to finish ahead of Watterson (3-1), Hartley (2-2), Columbus School for Girls (1-2-1) and Ready (0-4).
Senior midfielder Abbey Dop had three goals.
Rennie, a University of Kentucky commit, is among a group of expected returnees that also includes Elliott, juniors Julia Anderson (forward) and Lindsey Plymale (defen-der) and freshman Gabby Mahaffey (defender).