The Pickerington High School North girls soccer team watched a two-goal lead evaporate in just more than five minutes late in its Division I district final against seventh-seeded Hilliard Darby on Oct. 31 at Westerville North.

The Pickerington High School North girls soccer team watched a two-goal lead evaporate in just more than five minutes late in its Division I district final against seventh-seeded Hilliard Darby on Oct. 31 at Westerville North.

But coach Greg Van Kannel swore he didn't worry about the second-seeded Panthers' psyche.

"Being tied didn't faze us," Van Kannel said. "The girls were not upset. We weren't at a point where we feared losing the game. I think we were thinking more about (going to) overtime."

As it turned out, North didn't need to worry at all, as Cameron Shedenhelm's header off a corner kick found the back of the net with 55 seconds left in regulation to give the Panthers a 3-2 victory.

Cameron Dees assisted the winning goal and scored on a penalty kick in the first half.

Shedenhelm scored midway through the second half, also on a header off a corner kick from Aleece Lukacsko, to stake the Panthers to a 2-0 lead.

"At tournament time, you never know what to expect. It was kind of crazy," said Van Kannel, whose program won its ninth district championship. "It's always exciting. I guess you wouldn't complain about winning 3-0, but to win a district title, at the end of the day you don't care how you do it. It's just sweet."

The Panthers advanced to the district final by defeating 27th-seeded Watkins Memorial 5-0 in a semifinal Oct. 27 at home. Shedenhelm scored twice for North, which scored all of its goals in the first half.

North was 14-1-4 before playing Olentangy in a regional semifinal Nov. 3 at Gahanna. The winner plays Olentangy Liberty or Upper Arlington in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 7, at Westerville Central.

The regional champion will play Centerville, Cincinnati Turpin, Loveland or Springboro in a state semifinal Tuesday, Nov. 10, at a neutral site to be determined.

Of those teams, North defeated Liberty 2-1 on Sept. 10.

"It's a pretty even (regional) field and all three of (the other teams) will be tough to beat," Van Kannel said. "If we get that far, we played Liberty before and that will be a tough game, probably tougher than when we saw them. We would have our hands full with any of those teams."

North boys fall to Celtics in overtime

North's boys team fell agonizingly short of its first Division I district championship Oct. 31, as Dublin Jerome's Ben Sobotka scored with 13 minutes, 19 seconds left in the second overtime to give the top-seeded Celtics a 2-1 win at Westerville North.

Senior forward D.J. Reedus erased a 1-0 deficit for the sixth-seeded Panthers by scoring with 58 seconds left in the first half.

Senior goalkeeper Peyton Van Kannel made seven saves.

"The ball was bouncing around the turf. People were pushing, shoving, holding and grabbing and (Jerome) poked the goal in," coach Darrin Monhollen said of the game's final sequence. "We had five or six good, quality opportunities in the overtime that we could have finished. The guys played hard. They have all year. It is disappointing that either team had to lose."

North finished 14-2-3 overall and 6-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division, placing second behind Gahanna (7-0) and ahead of Central (4-2-1), Grove City (4-3), Gahanna (2-4-1), Reynoldsburg (1-3-3), Newark (0-5-2) and Lancaster (0-6-1).

The Panthers advanced to a district final by edging 11th-seeded New Albany 1-0 in a semifinal Oct. 28 at Canal Winchester. Senior midfielder Nick Snyder scored with about 15 minutes to play, and Van Kannel made five saves.

North took a first-round bye and defeated 15th-seeded Dublin Scioto 2-1 in a second-round game Oct. 24 at home.

Reedus (team-high 16 goals) and Snyder (10 goals) both earned first-team all-league honors and were first- and third-team all-district, respectively.

Senior defender Darion Bright, senior midfielder Jordan Dees and junior midfielder River Allbaugh (8 goals) were second-team all-league. Van Kannel was special mention all-league and senior defender Skylan Gaston was honorable mention all-league.

Monhollen was league co-Coach of the Year with Gahanna's Matt Kovach.

Central boys lose in district semifinal

Central boys coach Brad Monhollen tipped his hat to eighth-seeded Westerville North after the host Warriors defeated the 13th-seeded Tigers 2-0 in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 28.

"They simply played better on the turf than we did, which limited our opportunities and maximized theirs," said Monhollen, whose team finished 11-5-2 overall. "For teams (such as Central) that don't have turf, it is always difficult going into the tournament and playing teams that have it and play on it more frequently. It's a distinct competitive advantage, for sure."

Central took a first-round bye and defeated 21st-seeded Hilliard Bradley 2-0 in a second-round game Oct. 24 at home.

The Tigers had two four-game winning streaks this year, with the first coming to start the season and the second taking place between Oct. 6 and Oct. 24 to end the regular season and begin the tournament. Central also went 7-1-1 between a 3-2 loss to Pickerington North on Sept. 17 and its win over Bradley.

"The boys kept the team concept alive and promoted it throughout the season," Monhollen said. "We kept getting better throughout the season and had our best game against Hilliard Bradley in the tournament. The weather and field conditions were horrendous, but we kept playing through. ...

"There were a lot of tight spots in the season that our defense kept us in a lot of games and our offense found ways to win."

Junior midfielder Bojan Mitrev and freshman forward Michael Chilton were named first-team all-league. Senior forward Steven Bauers was second-team all-league, junior defender Ryan Blankenship was special mention all-league and Dalton McElwain was named honorable mention all-league.

Freshman helps lead Central girls

Another transitional season for Central's girls team came to an end with a 1-0 loss to 16th-seeded Watterson in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 22 at home.

Sophomore goalie Olivia Droese made 10 saves for the 15th-seeded Tigers, who finished 8-6-2 overall and 4-2-1 in the OCC-Ohio.

Freshman forward Abby Augustyniak had a team-high nine goals, ahead of senior forward Rachel Van Bramer (8) and senior defender Samantha Grim (4).

The Tigers were coached for virtually the entire season by Lazaro Fuentes, who began the year as Bob McGee's assistant but was promoted to interim head coach when McGee stepped down after one game. McGee resigned Aug. 25, citing conflicts between coaching and his full-time job as a probation officer for Franklin County Municipal Court.

Central placed fourth in the OCC-Ohio, behind North (6-0-1) and Gahanna and Grove City (both 5-1-1) and ahead of Lancaster (3-4), Newark (2-5), Reynoldsburg (1-6) and Groveport (0-7).

Senior defender Amanda Augustyniak and Van Bramer were first-team all-league. Grim was second-team all-league, Abby Augustyniak was special mention all-league and junior midfielder Lydia Gates was honorable mention all-league.