Gahanna Lincoln High School boys soccer coach Matt Kovach thought his team might be a tough out in the Division I district tournament based on how it played in early October.
After going 2-1-1 over its final four regular-season games, the 18th-seeded Lions backed up that sentiment by upsetting 12th-seeded Hilliard Davidson 1-0 in overtime Oct. 21 in a second-round game.
Sam Polonia scored off a pass from Cole Tysinger to send Gahanna to a district semifinal Oct. 25 against 27th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne.
"We do feel we're playing some of our best soccer, and that's what you want," said Kovach, whose team was 7-8-2 before playing Kilbourne. "It felt like we played one of our best games of the season (against Davidson)."
The Gahanna-Kilbourne winner plays second-seeded Dublin Coffman or 13th-seeded Thomas Worthington in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a site to be announced.
The district champion plays St. Charles, Hilliard Darby, Westerville Central or Marysville in a regional semifinal on a date and at a site to be announced.
The Lions beat Central 1-0 on Aug. 31 but didn't play any of the other teams they could face in either the district final or regional semifinal.
Goalkeeper Ryan Taylor had four saves against Davidson, including two on penalty kicks.
"Davidson is so well organized," Kovach said. "We thought it would be a low-scoring game and we were fortunate. Josh Gates did a good job getting the ball to Cole and he found Sam on the run and Sammy just made a play."
Davis closes state with strong round
Junior Kayla Davis didn't have the start she wanted in the Division I state girls golf tournament, but the ending was enjoyable.
After shooting an 81 during the opening round Oct. 20 on Ohio State's Gray Course, Davis carded a 72 the next day to give her a two-round total of 153 and a 20th-place finish.
Her score Oct. 21 was tied for the fifth best of the final round.
"I just kind of relaxed a little more," Davis said. "There was not much to lose and I started making some putts. I took it a little too seriously (Oct. 20). It was a good season."
Davis was medalist for the OCC-Ohio Division with a 74.8 average and followed with a 74 on Oct. 3 in a sectional at Mentel Memorial to earn medalist honors.
On Oct. 10, Davis shared medalist honors in the district tournament at Cooks Creek with Olentangy Orange's Ashley Au with a 71 and earned one of two individual state berths.
"She played well and held it together," coach Patty McQuirt said. "It was tough for her coming off that 81. She had a different mindset (during the final round) and I think she really enjoyed it. I'm so proud of her."
McQuirt, who is stepping down after 12 seasons, had just one senior on her team in Chelsea Regner.
The Lions shared the OCC-Ohio title with Pickerington North at 18-2, followed by Grove City (11-9), Pickerington Central (7-13), Big Walnut (5-15) and Lancaster (1-19).
Freshman Elise Wenz averaged 83 in the league to join Davis on the first team.
Regner averaged 88.8 in league play to earn second-team honors.
Sophomores Alexis Buck (94.5) and Emma Cepek (98.8) also played in all four rounds of the league tournament.
Gahanna was runner-up (339) in the 12-team sectional behind Dublin Jerome (314) as Wenz shot 84 to tie for ninth and Gahanna's second-best score.
In the nine-team district tournament, the Lions were seventh (340) behind champion Orange (304), which went on to win its second consecutive state title.
Regner had the second-best score for the Lions at district with an 88, followed by Wenz (89), Cepek (92) and Buck (102).
Girls soccer team makes district semi
The third-seeded girls soccer team played 15th-seeded Watterson on Oct. 24 in a Division I district semifinal.
The winner plays seventh-seeded Darby or 12th-seeded New Albany in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a site to be announced. Gahanna and New Albany played to a scoreless tie Oct. 12.
"New Albany only lost one game this year and Darby is really good," coach Bob McGee said.
The district champion faces Coffman, Orange, Olentangy Liberty or Hilliard Bradley in a regional semifinal on a date and at a site to be announced.
Gahanna beat Liberty 2-1 on Sept. 5 but was handed its only loss of the regular season by Bradley 1-0 on Sept. 23.
With a 4-0 win over 29th-seeded Reynoldsburg on Oct. 19 in the second round, the Lions improved to 11-1-4.
Gahanna scored all of its goals in the first half. Molly Rose scored twice and Katie Stafford and Madison Hansen had one goal apiece.
"We were able to play the whole bench," McGee said. "We're getting to the part of the season where everyone is a little beat up. We want to be a little more aggressive on the offensive end."
Volleyball team to face Eagles
The seventh-seeded girls volleyball team plays 10th-seeded Watterson in a Division I district semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at Whitehall.
The winner faces second-seeded Liberty or 13th-seeded Delaware in a district final at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at Whitehall.
The district champion plays DeSales, Westerville Central, Olentangy or Kilbourne in a regional semifinal Nov. 2 at Kilbourne.
Gahanna, which was a regional runner-up last season, beat 21st-seeded Chillicothe 25-7, 25-15, 25-13 on Oct. 19 in the second round to improve to 16-6.
Cross country teams advance to regional
The boys and girls cross country teams are headed to the Division I regional meet Saturday, Oct. 28, at Pickerington North.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals will advance to state Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway.
On Oct. 21 in the 11-team district 1 meet at Watkins Memorial, the girls earned a runner-up finish (61 points) behind Liberty (42) as Claire Steigerwald finished third (18 minutes, 4.09 seconds) behind Liberty's Gracie Sprankle (17:36.81) and Emma Bower (17:58.06).
Also competing for the Lions were Natalie Clay (11th, 19:27.25), Elise Wunderlin (12th, 19:28.0), Tara Shope (16th, 19:32.71), Riley Dickson (19th, 19:37.23), Ari Redmond (20th, 19:51.51) and Maddie Larick (22nd, 20:05.69).
In the 16-team district 3 boys meet, the Lions placed fifth (152) behind champion Liberty (49) as Jason Mehalic led the way with a 16th-place finish (16:33.35).
Also competing were Steffano Molina (25th, 16:42.36), Tyler Story (28th, 16:51.09), Donovan Hight (40th, 17:07.86), Oliver Cope (43rd, 17:11.74), Evan Pfeifer (48th, 17:18.17) and Ryan Connor (50th, 17:20.59).
Last season, the girls won district and regional titles and the boys were first at district and sixth at regional.