Everything was "simple and easy" for the Grandview Heights High School boys soccer team during its run to the Division III state tournament.
The second-ranked Bobcats defeated South Webster 6-0 on Nov. 4 at Waverly for their second regional championship in four seasons.
Grandview had outscored its postseason opponents 30-1 entering the state tournament, including 13-0 at the regional level. The only goal it allowed came in a 4-1 victory over Grove City Christian in a district final Oct. 28 at Gahanna.
"We have been trying to keep possession between the back four guys," junior midfielder Sam Freeman said. "We don't want to force anything or have any easy giveaways. We have been playing simple and easy."
The Bobcats were 17-0-4 before playing top-ranked Cincinnati Summit Country Day in a state semifinal Nov. 8 at Xenia. The winner advanced to play third-ranked Toledo Ottawa Hills or Kidron Central Christian in the state final Saturday, Nov. 11, at a time to be determined at Mapfre Stadium.
Entering their semifinal, Ottawa Hills was 19-0-2 and Central Christian was 15-4-2.
"Most of the time, the other team doesn't have a chance to get an attack off because we're pushing down the wing with (midfielders) Manny (Day) and Eli Evans," senior defender Ben Kelley said. "When they do get past the midfield, the center-backs -- Dylan Gerdes and I -- are very organized on dropping and covering. So, if one person goes for the ball, the other will drop back and (the ball) pretty much gets cleared out every single time and they never get a chance to mount an attack."
Day scored four times against South Webster, including the first three goals, as Grandview broke through to the state tournament after losing to Zanesville Rosecrans in regional championship games the past two years.
The Bobcats defeated Rosecrans 2-1 in 2014 to advance to a state semifinal, but lost to the Bishops 5-1 in 2015 and 2-1 last season.
"It means so much to win the (regional) title, especially after last year," Day said. "All of us were really upset after last year and we got together and said we're not going to let this happen again. We worked in the spring and summer a ton and played club soccer, and that helped a lot."
Ross Day and Wes Ryan also scored for Grandview in the regional final, and goalkeeper Jake Kelley had seven saves.
In a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Lexington, seven players scored in a 7-0 win over Zoarville Tuscarawas Valley. Manny Day, Ross Day, Evans, Ben Kelley, Indigo London, Ryan and Johnny Volker all had goals, and Jake Kelley had seven saves.
"It feels like this is what we have been working toward for a while, especially with all of the seniors and juniors," said London, a senior midfielder. "I feel like we always felt like we had a shot (at reaching a state semifinal), but it's good to see that hard work finally pay off.
"I think it shows what we're capable of doing. These last couple of games have showed what we can do when we play together."