The Dublin Coffman High School girls soccer team lost to Pickerington North 1-0 in overtime in a Division I regional final on Nov. 6 to finish 14-3-4, a year after the Shamrocks lost to Medina 4-0 in the state final.
Despite a shorter tournament run, coach Marc D'Auteuil believes his squad was stronger this season.
"This team definitely had more talent and experience, but we didn't catch the same breaks that we caught in the tournament last year," D'Auteuil said. "Last year, the ball seemed to bounce our way in the close games, and this year it didn't. That's just soccer."
The Shamrocks enjoyed a successful regular season, beating rival Dublin Jerome 1-0 on Sept. 16 and downing eventual Division I state champion Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 2-0 on Sept. 18.
But Coffman tied both Hilliard Davidson (at 1 on Sept. 28) and Upper Arlington (at 0 on Oct. 12) en route to finishing second in the OCC-Central Division at 5-0-2, behind Davidson (6-0-1) and ahead of Upper Arlington (5-1-1), Thomas Worthington (3-3-1), Worthington Kilbourne (3-3-1), Hilliard Darby (2-5), Westland (1-6) and Central Crossing (0-7).
"We were the only team to beat Walsh Jesuit, who was the best team in the state," D'Auteuil said.
The second-seeded Shamrocks opened the district tournament on Oct. 21 with a 7-0 win over visiting Delaware. They beat Thomas Worthington 2-0 in a semifinal Oct. 26 at home and fourth-seeded Davidson 1-0 in the final on Oct. 30 at Scioto.
Coffman defeated UA 1-0 in overtime in a regional semifinal on Nov. 3 at Scioto before losing to North on the same field.
"Beating Davidson and UA in the tournament was big because they were good teams with some dangerous players," D'Auteuil said. "Obviously, Pickerington North is a very good team, too, but I thought we had the better of play. We just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net and they scored on their one good chance."
The Shamrocks will lose three starters in goalkeeper Cassie Lawrence, defender Olivia Evans and defender Kenzie Schlemitz.
Evans, a University of North Carolina-Charlotte recruit, was first-team all-district and all-league.
Schlemitz, a Bowling Green recruit, was first-team all-district and all-league. Lawrence was special mention all-league.
With those three players leading the way, the Shamrocks had 14 shutouts and gave up nine goals.
Eight starters are expected to return in sophomore forward Grace Filler, freshman forward Sam Edwards, freshman defender Amanda Stratton, junior defender Talia Tullis, junior midfielders Mel Bomberger and Ashley Stratton, sophomore midfielder Bailey Wilson and freshman midfielder Jenna Phillips.
Wilson, who had 14 goals and 10 assists, Bomberger and Edwards were second-team all-league. Stratton was honorable mention all-league.
"We're losing only three starters, so we're going to be good again next year," D'Auteuil said.
•The fifth-seeded boys team finished 9-5-4 after being upset by Olentangy Liberty 2-1 in a Division I district semifinal on Oct. 27 at Coffman.
Coffman beat Avon Lake 3-0 on Aug. 28 at Crew Stadium and Westerville Central 1-0 on Sept. 2 on the way to a 5-0-1 start.
But the Shamrocks struggled down the stretch and finished fourth in the OCC-Central at 3-2-2, behind Thomas (7-0), Darby (4-1-2) and Kilbourne (4-3), and ahead of UA (3-3-1), Davidson (2-2-3), Central Crossing (0-6-1) and Westland (0-6-1).
Coffman opened the district tournament with a 6-0 victory over Briggs on Oct. 23 at home before losing to Liberty.
"We started off really well before we hit a rough point in the season where every game was a struggle," coach Steve Watts said. "We're in a rough conference and we had some tough losses. Then we started playing well again late in the season and beat DeSales (4-2 on Oct. 7) and Worthington Christian (2-1 on Oct. 14) for two big wins before the tournament."
Coffman will need to replace five senior starters in forwards Nick Louwers and Drew Pang, and midfielders Peter Ehrenfried, Logan Johnson and Mitch Rudibaugh.
Pang had 11 goals and nine assists. He was first-team all-district and all-league. Louwers, who scored 11 goals, was first-team all-league. Rudibaugh was honorable mention all-league.
Starters who are expected to return are junior midfielders Ray Gans and Zak Leedom, sophomore goalkeeper Trent Rantala, junior defenders Hanley Cummings, Tanner Halm and Derek Molzahn, and sophomore defender Justin Garcia.
Garcia was second-team all-league. Leedom, who had three goals and 13 assists, was special mention all-league.
"It will be a challenge to replace the 22 goals we're losing between two seniors," Watts said. "But we've got our entire defense and our goalkeeper back, and I think Zak Leedom will be the best player in central Ohio next year. Plus, our junior varsity A team went 13-1-2."