The Bexley High School boys soccer team was unbeaten through 11 games, but six is the number foremost on the players' minds.
The Lions have an annual quest to go 6-for-6 in trophies, running from the preseason to the Division II state championship game. They have one trophy and went for another against Columbus Academy on Oct. 4.
"That's our goal, to go 6-for-6 in trophies; that's what we call it," senior forward Grant Heilman said. "We already won one (trophy) from the Athens tournament in the preseason and the second is the Ingwersen Cup, which goes to the winner of the Academy game. After that it's for the (MSL-Ohio Division), district, regional and state. Those are our goals every year."
The Lions were 9-0-2 overall and 2-0-2 in the MSL-Ohio before playing the Vikings. They won their first nine games before tying Worthington Christian at 1 on Sept. 25 and playing Grandview to a scoreless tie Sept. 27.
It's a better start than the Lions had in their two state championship seasons. In 2003, they finished 22-1 but lost their opener to Gahanna 2-0. They also lost to Gahanna 3-0 in the second game of 2005 en route to going 19-1-3.
"We all know each other really well," senior midfielder Owen Rupp said. "We have six seniors and all of us have been playing together since we were like 8 (years old)."
That chemistry has led to success, as the Lions have rediscovered their winning ways after finishing 8-10 last fall. It was their first losing season since going 7-9-2 in 2011.
"I think we have a lot of talent, but we've definitely played some tough teams," senior midfielder James Powers said. "It wasn't our goal to go undefeated. ... It would be nice (to go undefeated), but starting 9-0 was pretty nice since we only had eight wins last year."
Second-year coach Jay Scott knew his team had potential, but was afraid it might go untapped like last fall.
"I take a large chunk of that (responsibility from the losing season)," he said. "It was my first year as a head coach and I think it took a while for us to jell and find out what's going on. We didn't give up. Even the last game, (a 4-1 loss to Watterson) in (the second round of) the tournament, we kept fighting but couldn't get to where we needed to be to reach our potential."
Scott had the players work in the offseason to build bonds on and off the field. That effort has paid dividends.
"(The success) is not necessarily a surprise, especially with all of the work in the weight room and the conditioning that we did," Scott said. "We always had the talent, it just was getting them to buy into what we were looking for in an esprit de corps type of thing where it was us as a unit. It has been a total team effort from all 18 guys on varsity."
Football team looks
to limit mistakes
The football team dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the MSL-Ohio with a 38-7 loss to Academy on Sept. 28.
The Lions play Friday, Oct. 6, at Teays Valley, which improved to 4-2 by defeating Fairfield Union 27-0 on Sept. 29. It will be the first meeting between Bexley and Teays Valley.
"We have to come out and execute the game plan better, and that comes down to me," first-year coach Nathan Castorena said. "We have too many penalties, bad special teams, and that's on me. We have to coach this team harder. We're an undisciplined football team right now and we have to put the kids in a position to be successful."
The Lions had won four consecutive games against Academy. The teams were tied at 7 when Dorrian Moultrie returned a punt 42 yards for a touchdown with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left before halftime to give the Vikings the lead for good.
"The punt return was a big turnaround," Castorena said. "It comes back to special teams, penalties on defense, penalties on offense. It had a snowball effect."
Austin Masters intercepted a pass to set up Bexley's touchdown. Quarterback Anthony Welsh connected with wide receiver Tyler Mitchell for a 7-yard score with 9:54 left in the second quarter.
Mitchell also had seven tackles at linebacker before leaving the game with a foot injury.
Welsh was 10-for-15 passing for 123 yards, and Mason Remeis had eight catches for 108 yards. Isaiah McFadden had 67 yards rushing on 19 carries.
"Our record is no indication of the fight in our kids," Castorena said."
Boys golfers advance
to district tournament
The boys golf team was aiming for its third consecutive trip to the Division II state tournament when it competed at district Oct. 4 at Denison Golf Club at Granville.
Only the district championship team and the top individual not on that team advanced to state Oct. 13 and 14 at NorthStar.
The Lions reached district by winning a sectional title Sept. 26 at The Players Club at Foxfire by 17 strokes and having four of the top five individual scores.
Trevor Binau and Zander Kauffman were co-medalists with a 77, and Will Hoyer tied Jonathan Alder's Giuseppe Petrella for third with a 79. Micah Rubenstein was fifth with an 80.
Tyler Roberts (92) also played for the Lions, who shot 313 as a team.
Jonathan Alder (330) and Heath (368) were the other two district qualifiers.
Utica's Max Lepley (88) and the Liberty Union duo of Austin Young (88) and Nick Congrove (89) advanced as individuals.
Girls golf team
The girls golf team competed in a Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Royal American. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Cooks Creek.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state Oct. 20 and 21 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
*Oct. 9 -- At Lancaster
Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Oct. 7 -- At Pickerington North
Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Beechcroft
Oct. 11 -- At Upper Arlington
*Oct. 7 -- Home vs. Wellington
Oct. 11 -- At Columbus School for Girls
Oct. 5, 7 -- Division II sectional at Columbus Academy. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 12 at CSG and Oct. 14 at Upper Arlington.
*Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian. The Lions lost to the Warriors 25-18, 25-15, 25-17 on Sept. 12.
*Oct. 7 -- At Grandview. The Lions defeated the Bobcats 25-11, 19-25, 25-22, 25-18 on Sept. 14.
*Oct. 10 -- At Academy. The Lions defeated the Vikings 26-24, 21-25, 16-25, 25-17, 15-11 on Sept. 19.