DeSales High School boys soccer coach Dominic Romanelli is 2-for-2 in his return when it comes to winning district championships, as the Stallions defeated Bexley 2-1 in two overtimes last Saturday when David Harper scored the winner.

DeSales High School boys soccer coach Dominic Romanelli is 2-for-2 in his return when it comes to winning district championships, as the Stallions defeated Bexley 2-1 in two overtimes last Saturday when David Harper scored the winner.

The Stallions' final game before Romanelli's arrival was in a 2006 district final when they lost to Bexley 1-0 in overtime. Since then, the Division II power in the Central District has shifted back to DeSales.

The loss to Bexley in 2006 left the Stallions searching for answers. They had dominated the district from 1990-2002 winning 14 district titles. The Lions' title in 2006 was their third in four years.

But things have changed the past two seasons.

Last Tuesday, the Stallions played The Plains Athens in a regional semifinal.

Bexley entered the district tournament unseeded, although both Romanelli and some of the players agreed that the Lions were the second-best team in the district.

Bexley had a chance to go into the bracket opposite DeSales, but instead chose the route that would set them up for a potential match against the Stallions, who kept that in mind last Saturday.

"Bexley came our route and they're a very good team," midfielder Nick Kellogg said. "We wanted to show everyone why we're the best team in the district."

Bexley took a 1-0 lead on a free kick with 18 minutes left in the second half, but Luke Froehlich scored to tie the score and send the game into overtime.

In the first overtime Bexley appeared to have scored on another free kick, but an offside penalty was called.

The winner last Tuesday will play at 3 p.m. Saturday at Watkins Memorial in a regional final against Warsaw River View or New Philadelphia, which also played last Tuesday. River View was 14-5 and had gone 8-1 its last nine. New Philadelphia entered the tournament having lost five in a row, but was 10-7-2 before last Tuesday.

The regional winner will play at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a state semifinal against Big Walnut, Dayton Carroll, Kettering Alter or Tipp City Tippecanoe.

•Melissa Thompson will represent the girls cross country team Saturday in the Division II state meet at Scioto Downs. The junior will be making her second appearance after finishing seventh in 19 minutes, 43.6 seconds in the regional behind champion Peyton Adkins (18:56.27) of Gallipolis Gallia Academy.

Claire Koberman also competed last Saturday, finishing 35th (20:54).

In previous years Thompson always had a teammate to keep up with during the big races -- she and Katie Rutherford, who is now running for Upper Arlington, qualified to state last year. However, Thompson was alone and had to focus on two Canal Winchester runners whom she knew would be in the lead pack at the end of the regional race.

Canal Winchester's Emily Pifer finished second (19:02.9) and her teammate Kaitlin Smith was fifth (19:16.93).

"I knew the Canal Winchester girls would get out," Thompson said. "I knew I would need to be with them and make sure I could see them."

Thompson, who also plays for the girls soccer team, trained this season by running before soccer practice. In previous years, she had to do most of her heavy mileage during the summer before school and soccer season started. That was the plan last summer, but she spent part of it nursing injury. With the girls soccer team being eliminated from the district tournament Oct. 16, Thompson was able to practice with the team last week. In preparation for Saturday's meet, she'll be training harder than most.

"With my training schedule I don't get near enough miles," Thompson said. "I'll have some harder workouts this week when everyone else is doing more resting."

Last year at state, Thompson finished 20th in 19:18.91.

The boys cross country team scored 303 points to finish 13th behind regional champion St. Clairsville (94). Vinny Balzano led the Stallions, finishing 34th in 17:45.24.

•The seventh-seeded girls volleyball team fell to second-seeded Hartley 25-22, 25-15, 25-21 last Saturday in a Division II district final at Pickerington North.

DeSales hung tough through the first game, taking 9-8 and 14-13 leads and tying the score at 19. But the Hawks took over after that, winning five of the next eight points in the first game. DeSales never got close in the second game and dropped a close third game.

The Stallions finished 12-12 overall and (4-6) in the CCL.

DeSales defeated Bexley 25-20, 25-14, 20-25, 22-25, 15-9 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 after roughing up Whitehall 25-21, 25-14, 25-13 in the first round Oct. 15 and downing fourth-seeded London 23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-13 in the second round.

A year ago, in coach Erin Scott's first season, the Stallions were 5-21 and lost in the second round. One of the team's primary goals was improving in the CCL after finishing 2-8 in the league last year.

The Stallions did that, finishing fourth behind Watterson (10-0), Hartley (8-2) and Ready (6-4) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (2-8) and Worthington Christian (0-10).

"We really worked on becoming a more skilled team," Scott said. "And I think the players really started to buy into the system and what we wanted to do."

A point of optimism for the Stallions is that most of the team is eligible to return next season. They'll lose three seniors in Megan Johnson, Jessica Miller and Shelby Strain.

Juniors Katelyn Becker, Jill Parker and Michelle Ritter are expected to lead a team next season that could also include juniors Angela Bianconi, Gabby Guanciale, Nichole Peterson and Ayla Sherman, as well as sophomores Leah Clarke and Kristina Hoying.