Featuring two dynamic offensive threats and 14 seniors, the Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer team hit a new plateau this season.
The Shamrocks won their first Division I regional championship to advance to the state tournament, where they lost to Beavercreek 1-0 in two overtimes in a semifinal Nov. 8 at London.
For newcomers like Andrew Heckaman, it was an experience that won't soon be forgotten.
"It was great," said Heckaman, a senior forward who moved in from Valdosta, Georgia, during the offseason. "I got to be with really good people and it's bittersweet, but I wouldn't change (the experience)."
Coffman, which finished 19-2-2 overall, had one of its best scoring chances against Beavercreek with 24 minutes remaining in regulation when Beavers goalkeeper Liam Dipple made a diving save on a shot by senior forward Luke Kiley.
Kiley had another shot on goal stopped by Dipple with 3:50 left.
Beavercreek scored the game's only goal on a header by Joshua Fleck off a corner kick with 5:29 left in the second overtime.
"I thought we actually dominated portions of the game," Shamrocks coach Brian Stoddard said. "It's disheartening to lose (the way we did). They're a big, physical team."
Beavercreek was ranked second in the final state poll, while Coffman was third.
"I think it was an even game for sure, but they made the most of their (scoring) chance," Heckaman said. "They might have created a little bit more chances. Luck played a little bit into it."
The Shamrocks went 4-0-1 in the OCC-Central Division to defend their league title, finishing ahead of Marysville (3-0-2), Hilliard Davidson (3-2), Upper Arlington (2-2-1), Westland (1-4) and Central Crossing (0-5).
Seeded second in the district tournament, Coffman beat 39th-seeded Lancaster 7-0 in the second round Oct. 21, 13th-seeded Thomas Worthington 4-1 in a semifinal Oct. 25 and 27th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 4-1 in a final Oct. 28 to win its seventh consecutive district title.
The Shamrocks then defeated Hilliard Darby 5-1 in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 and Jerome 5-0 in a regional final Nov. 4 before falling to Beavercreek.
Coffman, which also beat Jerome 2-1 on Sept. 14, lost only one game in the regular season, falling 2-1 to Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 14. The Patriots were the district's top seed but lost in a district final.
"I suppose I'll appreciate (what we accomplished) in time, but right now I feel like we should have won the whole thing," Stoddard said. "Fortune just didn't fall our way."
Among the Shamrocks' seniors were Kiley, Heckaman, midfielders Emeka Eneli, Luke Holland and Nick Turner, defenders Jake Lister, Noah Paoletti and Matt Stritar and goalie Jack Wallberg.
Kiley, a Georgetown University recruit, scored 24 goals and was named OCC-Central and district Player of the Year.
Eneli, a Cornell recruit who was in his first year with the Shamrocks after previously playing for Crew Academy and scored 23 goals, and Stritar also were named first-team all-league.
Heckaman, Lister, Paoletti and Turner were second-team all-league.
Paoletti, who scored six goals, has committed to play for Denison and Wallberg is an Ohio Northern recruit.
Among the expected returnees are juniors Colin Kirkley (midfielder) and Ben Sarver (defender) and sophomore Connor DesRoches (midfielder).
DesRoches, who scored six goals, made first-team all-league, while Kirkley was special mention all-league and Sarver was honorable mention all-league.
Others eligible to return include juniors Hank Keefer (forward) and Troy McConnaughey (defender), sophomores Joe Gallo (midfielder) and David Urrea Partida (midfielder) and freshman Trent McConnaughey (goalie).
"It was a great season and a great year with those seniors," Stoddard said. "It hurts right now."