Not always being in the spotlight didn't hinder the Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer team this fall.
The Shamrocks reached a Division I state semifinal last year as 2018 graduate Luke Kiley, who went on to be named Ohio's Mr. Soccer, led the way.
This season, players such as junior midfielder Connor DesRoches, senior midfielder Colin Kirkley and senior defender Ben Sarver emerged to lead Coffman to its eighth consecutive district championship and a third OCC-Central Division title in a row.
"This is a young team compared to the teams of the past," coach Brian Stoddard said. "We've been overlooked a little bit and that's OK. We've kind of motored along. ... For the biggest part, it's been a new batch of guys learning and growing on the job."
Coffman's season ended Oct. 31 with a 3-0 loss to St. Charles in a regional semifinal at Westerville Central. The Shamrocks, who finished 14-3-3, were seeded fifth for the district tournament and beat 11th-seeded Jerome 3-1 in a district final Oct. 27.
DesRoches, Kirkley and Sarver all were named first-team all-league. Senior defender Troy McConnaughey, junior midfielder David Urrea Partida and sophomore forward Ryan Sommerfeld were second-team all-league, senior defender Hank Keefer was special mention all-league and sophomore goalkeeper Trent McConnaughey was honorable mention.
Freshman Alex Anderson and junior Sotaro Fujiyoshi were key defenders. Others eligible to return include juniors Hussein Ali (forward), John Fuchik (midfielder), Joseph Gallo (midfielder) and Cade Williams (defender) and sophomores Jack Bailey (forward), Braden Shoaf (forward) and Roshan Singri (forward).
"While we weren't one of the biggest and fastest teams, we possessed the ball well and were creative in our attack," Kirkley said. "Being a captain this year was interesting because of a lot of the younger starters had little to no varsity experience in the past. This called for me to help give them confidence and let them know that they belong on the field."
Volleyball team losing strong seniors
Over the last four seasons with senior outside hitter Riley Wagoner and senior setter Jacy Sheldon serving as key players, the girls volleyball team extended the program's streak of league and district titles to 12.
The Shamrocks had their season end with a 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 14-25, 15-11 loss to Olentangy Liberty in a Division I regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Worthington Kilbourne, ending a run of three consecutive state tournament appearances.
Coffman, which finished 23-4 overall and 10-0 in the OCC-Central to extend its string of league victories to 145 matches, finished fifth in the final state poll.
"They've been a great senior class, just a lot of fun to be around and coach," coach Mary Anne Souder said. "They're not club players, except for Riley. They've just gotten better and better every year. Riley and Jacy have been four-year, six-rotation starters and the rest of them from their sophomore years on were starters. I thanked them for the memories because they've created a lot of them for Coffman volleyball."
Wagoner, who has committed to the University of Hawaii, was named district and OCC-Central Player of the Year and first-team all-state, while Sheldon, an Ohio State women's basketball commit, was named first-team all-league and all-district and third-team all-state.
The other seniors were Lexi Piekarski (libero/defensive specialist), Kaitlyn Kopyar (middle hitter) and Carmen Haefke (middle hitter).
Piekarski, who has committed to play women's lacrosse at Kent State, was second-team all-league. Haefke was special mention all-league and Kaitlyn Kopyar was honorable mention.
The top returnee is expected to be junior Sadie Brown, a 6-foot-1 middle hitter who was second-team all-league and has committed to Jacksonville State.
Juniors Mackenzie Curry (opposite hitter), Maddy Mayr (defensive specialist) and Angel Barrett (outside hitter/right-side hitter) also played key roles.
Junior Arianna Rowe is the favorite to take over at setter next season.
Others eligible to return include junior Torrey Seymour (defensive specialist), sophomores Julia Donegan (middle hitter), Kendal Kolba (defensive specialist) and Erin Peebles (outside hitter) and freshman Ruby Moore (outside hitter).
Liberty was the first Central District team to beat Coffman since the Shamrocks lost in a 2014 regional final.
"(Liberty is) a very good team," Souder said of the eventual regional champion.
"Their defense was out-of-control amazing. Usually the ball finds the floor a lot easier for us, and they were all over the place. They were finding our corners, and that's always been a weakness for us. I don't think we played bad. (Our players) did everything we asked and the momentum went (Liberty's) way at the end and that's the way it goes.
"(We've got) plenty coming back. We've got some big kids coming back. We'll definitely have some holes to fill, but there's enough there."