The Westerville North High School girls soccer team reached a second consecutive Division I district semifinal, which might have seemed unlikely during a rough early season stretch.
The Warriors were 2-4 and on a four-game losing streak after falling 2-0 to Marysville on Sept. 5.
Heading into a district semifinal Oct. 24 against sixth-seeded Olentangy, 18th-seeded North was 8-7-2.
"We had a rough patch a few weeks back when we got away from being disciplined in our system," coach Brett Weiss said. "We were getting out of position and we weren't tactically strong or together. Our players were doing their own thing and improvising instead of staying in the system."
Staying in the system has been effective of late. North closed its OCC-Buckeye Division schedule by defeating league champion Olentangy Orange 2-1 on Oct. 10 and ended the regular season with a 2-1 win over Watkins Memorial on Oct. 14.
"A couple of practices before the Orange game, we got together and said that we knew that we could play well, but we have to move together and be tactically disciplined," Weiss said. "They came out and beat Orange, and that was a good message for the girls. We knew if we were smart about the way we handle our system, good things will happen."
In the district tournament, the Warriors had a first-round bye before defeating 38th-seeded Mount Vernon 4-0 on Oct. 19 in the second round. Makayla Parry scored twice and Nia Hassey and Hannah Hotchkiss both had one goal.
"We executed well, and I was pleased at how we stayed with the way we wanted to play," Weiss said. "We didn't try to do things in too much of a hurry."
The North-Olentangy winner advanced to a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, against fourth-seeded Dublin Jerome or 16th-seeded Marysville at a neutral site to be determined.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal at a date and neutral site to be determined.
The last district championship for North came in 2007, when it defeated Dublin Coffman 3-1 before losing to Hilliard Davidson 1-0 in a regional semifinal.
"We went (into the postseason) excited because it's tournament time and it's like having a clean slate," defender Mikayala Martin said. "We went in with our heads on straight and playing well. We have been moving the ball around and moving for each other and playing good defense."
Cross country teams end season at district
The boys and girls cross country teams competed in Division I district meets Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial, but failed to advance anyone to regional Saturday, Oct. 28, at Pickerington North.
The boys finished 10th (311) in the 16-team district 1 race behind champion Davidson (45) as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.
Senior Austin Ebbrecht was 42nd (17 minutes, 26.28 seconds) to lead the Warriors, followed by freshman Isaiah Hutcherson (49th, 17:37.24), sophomore Dillon Lauer (65th, 18:05.33), senior Will Steele (81st, 18:47.3), senior Carter Hudnell (82nd, 18:50.83), freshman Seth Derstine (88th, 19:21.42) and senior Brice Wilson (92nd, 19:38.57).
The girls were 10th (236) in the 16-team district 2 race behind champion Granville (43) as the top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced.
Sophomore Sam Dages (35th, 21:00.62) led North, followed by junior Erica Mobley (38th, 21:06.11), sophomore Audrey Smith (50th, 21:29.29), sophomore Grace Blanchong (53rd, 21:35.5), junior Eva Bernhardt (63rd, 22:07.27), senior Emily Bueter (76th, 22:43.27) and sophomore Emma Fury (80th, 23:04.49).
In the OCC-Buckeye meet Oct. 14 at Hilliard Darby, the girls were fifth (134) behind Olentangy Liberty (36), Orange (56), Olentangy (62) and Westerville Central (83) and ahead of Westerville South (174). The boys were sixth (172) behind Liberty (31), Orange (46), South (84), Olentangy (103) and Central (115).
Boys soccer team falls in double OT
The boys soccer team lost at 16th-seeded Hilliard Bradley 3-2 in two overtimes Oct. 21 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
Jacob Grant and Owen Thompson scored for the 34th-seeded Warriors, who finished 1-15-1.
Girls volleyball team ousted by Warriors
The girls volleyball team lost at 20th-seeded Watkins Memorial 27-25, 25-17, 25-11 on Oct. 17 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
The 30th-seeded Warriors finished 7-16.