The Hilliard Bradley High School girls soccer team entered this season with something to prove.
The fifth-seeded Jaguars reached their first Division I district semifinal since 2014 and were hoping to win their first district title.
Bradley reached a district semifinal in four consecutive seasons from 2011-14, but only reached a final once. In 2011, the seventh-seeded Jaguars defeated Westerville Central 1-0 in a semifinal before losing to second-seeded Dublin Coffman 2-0 in a final.
“I think the girls felt a little underestimated last year and they carried that over into this year,” said coach Becky Alcox, whose team was 11-4-2 before playing eighth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a district semifinal Oct. 24. “They’ve set some goals and they want to make it as far as they possibly can.”
Last season, the Jaguars finished 3-12-1 after losing to 20th-seeded Dublin Scioto 2-1 in the first round of the district tournament. They were the 23rd seed.
“Definitely (being fifth) was the perfect seed because we get to choose where to go (on the bracket),” senior midfielder Kaelyn Glenn said. “We were 23rd last year, and it’s a big jump and we deserve it. We put in such hard work.
“Last year was rough both on and off the field. You could just see people giving up. I think this year you could see that people were looking down on us and we wanted to prove everybody wrong.”
The semifinal winner advanced to play second-seeded Coffman or ninth-seeded Olentangy Orange in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a neutral site to be determined. The district champion advances to a regional semifinal on a date and at a site to be determined.
“This is a very special group of girls. We have so much talent and heart,” Glenn said. “My freshman year, we had a good season (12-5-1) and a good team, but we weren’t a family. This year, we not only play for ourselves, but each other. I think that helps.”
Bradley had a first-round bye before defeating 26th-seeded Thomas Worthington 1-0 in the second round Oct. 18. Glenn scored off a corner-kick assist from Sydney Artis in the first half, and goalkeepers Macy Enneking and Emily Keck each made one save.
“All season, Syd always has the perfect corners and we need to finish set pieces, so it was good to get that one,” Glenn said. “Usually me and Gabbi (Viggiano) will head in everything. I saw that (corner kick) coming, saw it was going to go through (the defenders) and that I wouldn’t be able to head it. ... It went in for the score we needed.”
Alcox likes the makeup of her team and the way it was playing entering the postseason. Before Oct. 24, the Jaguars were 5-2-1 in their previous eight games.
“I would like to find the back of the net more than we do, but we have been winning,” she said. “We have been winning by small margins, but right now it just matters that you win.”
Boys soccer team reaches district semi
The boys soccer team reached its second consecutive Division I district semifinal, where it played third-seeded Dublin Jerome on Oct. 25.
The 16th-seeded Jaguars were 10-8 before playing the Celtics.
The winner faces eighth-seeded Olentangy or ninth-seeded Pickerington North in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a neutral site to be determined. The district champion advances to a regional semifinal, with the date and site to be determined.
Bradley, which lost to Olentangy 3-1 on Sept. 28, last won a district title in 2013, defeating New Albany 2-1 in a district final. That season, the Jaguars lost to Liberty 3-0 in a regional semifinal.
Bradley won its first two district tournament games by identical 3-2 scores, and both contests went to overtime.
Ryan Kayalar scored all three goals for the Jaguars, including the game-winner three minutes into overtime, in a first-round win at 14th-seeded Grove City on Oct. 18.
Hugo Vargas scored the winning goal 17 minutes into overtime as host Bradley defeated 34th-seeded Westerville North on Oct. 21 in the second round. Kayalar and Ethan Love also scored for the Jaguars.
Kayalar entered the district semifinal with a program-record 38 career goals. The senior forward also had 21 goals this season to eclipse the program’s previous single-season mark of 19 set by Sam Darling in 2011.
Girls runners move on to regional meet
The girls cross country team will compete in the Division I regional meet Saturday, Oct. 28, at Pickerington North.
Bradley finished fifth (118 points) in the 16-team district 2 meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial behind Granville (43), Thomas (76), Marysville (112) and Darby (117). Westerville Central (139). The top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced to regional.
Laura Scheiderer (15th, 19 minutes, 29.39 seconds) and Isabella Brooks (17th, 19:34.28) led the Jaguars, followed by Regan Corea (25th, 20:05.34), Grace Michel (28th, 20:24.66), Sonja Maragos (33rd, 20:53.62), Marin Casey (68th, 22:13.16) and Ella Richardson (71st, 22:26.82).
The boys team finished eighth (253) in the 16-team district 1 meet as the top five teams and top 20 individuals qualified for regional. St. Charles (117) was five.
Rob McCabe (26th, 17:00.2) led Bradley, followed by Haydon Spaulding (50th, 17:37.54), Max Lanum (52nd, 17:43.25), Chad Leugers (62nd, 18:02.16), Robby Klise (68th, 18:12.97), Eli Schneider (78th, 18:40.78) and Zach Schroeder (79th, 18:42.57).
At regional, the top five teams and top 20 runners advance to state Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway.
Season ends for volleyball team
The 22nd-seeded girls volleyball team lost at 17th-seeded Upper Arlington 26-24, 25-23, 24-26, 25-14 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17 to finish 9-14 overall.
Bradley placed fifth (3-9) in the OCC-Cardinal Division, behind Worthington Kilbourne (12-0), Darby (8-4), Delaware (7-5) and Scioto (6-6) and ahead of Jerome (3-9) and Thomas (2-10).
Outside hitter Donna Brown, a DePaul University commit, was lost midseason to a right foot injury. She and outside hitter/defensive specialist Kimmy Gregory (honorable mention all-league) led a five-player senior class.
Sophomore middle blocker Allie Holland, a University of Tennessee recruit, was first-team all-league and sophomore setter Riley Speelman was second-team all-league.
“The girls learned that the game does not accept excuses, so let’s not offer any,” first-year coach Shawn Parsell said. “We lost three or four starters for large chunks of the season and we still had to go out there and play the schedule we had.
“Now that the season is over, it’s time to sit back and reflect on it in its entirety. This group went out and fought no matter who we had out there or who we were playing. We played 23 matches and, for the most part, we brought our best most nights.”