The Olentangy Liberty High School field hockey team could not overcome a slow start against top-seeded Thomas Worthington and lost 4-1 in a district final Oct. 31 at Dublin Jerome to finish 14-4-1 overall.

The Olentangy Liberty High School field hockey team could not overcome a slow start against top-seeded Thomas Worthington and lost 4-1 in a district final Oct. 31 at Dublin Jerome to finish 14-4-1 overall.

The fourth-seeded Patriots fell behind 2-0 in the first 5 minutes, 7 seconds and gave up a late first-half goal. Although junior midfielder Claire Buckey scored with 13:50 remaining in the game and the Patriots pressured and had a few chances, they couldn't get closer.

Thomas made it 4-1 with just under six minutes left.

"(The Cardinals) put us on our heels fast, which is their style of play," coach Marianne Flannery said. "They're well-organized and get into the offensive circle and capitalize on opportunities. They're a phenomenal team and I think they'll be the team to beat at state.

"But this loss doesn't define us. What does is watching our girls sprint after the ball in the final minute when we're down three goals. That's what we're about. We played with heart all season and I'm very proud of these girls."

The Patriots advanced to the final by beating fifth-seeded Upper Arlington 3-2 in overtime in a home district semifinal Oct. 27. Senior midfielder Karri Stadulis scored three times, including the winner 1:19 into overtime when she converted off a corner play.

Liberty never trailed, but allowed the Golden Bears to tie the game at 2 with 2:00 remaining in regulation.

The Patriots finished second (7-1) behind Thomas (8-0) and ahead of UA (6-2), Dublin Coffman (4-3-1), Orange (4-4), Jerome (3-4-1), Olentangy (2-6), Lancaster (1-7) and Dublin Scioto (0-8) in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division.

The host Patriots defeated 15th-seeded Olentangy 9-0 in their postseason opener Oct. 21.

Stadulis, one of six seniors on the roster, set a single-season program record with 27 goals and is a Kent State recruit. Senior defender Olivia Susi is a Ball State recruit.

Expected to return along with Buckey are juniors Maria Englehart (midfielder), Katie Flanagan (goalkeeper), Mara Hunter (forward), Cassidy Kershner (midfielder), Savannah Minardi (defender) and Katie Pione (forward), sophomores Grace Buckey (forward) and Mollie McCormack (forward) and freshmen Rory Ball (midfielder/defender), Kelly Martinez (goalkeeper) and Sienna Sakich (midfielder/defender).