The first Saturday of November featured thrilling moments for three Dublin Coffman High School sports programs.
On Nov. 4, the girls volleyball team advanced to its third consecutive state tournament by defeating DeSales 25-13, 25-18, 25-21 in a Division I regional final at Worthington Kilbourne.
Around the time the volleyball team was celebrating its title, senior Lucas Bons of the boys cross country team was having a medal placed around his neck while standing on the awards podium at the Division I state meet at National Trail Raceway.
Later that day, the boys soccer team qualified for the Division I state tournament for the first time by beating Jerome 5-0 in a regional final at Scioto.
Boys soccer team sweeps Celtics
The win over Jerome in the regional final gave the boys soccer team a season sweep of the Celtics, after beating them 2-1 on Sept. 14.
The Shamrocks advanced to a state semifinal against Beavercreek on Nov. 8 at London.
The winner plays Cleveland St. Ignatius or Medina in the state final Saturday, Nov. 11, at Mapfre Stadium.
"It's like a Coffman curse," senior Matt Stritar said. "We can get to this game but can't get over it. This year, we finally got over the hump."
Against Jerome, Emeka Eneli scored on a free kick with 17 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first half and Luke Kiley scored 10 minutes later off a pass from Jake Lister to make it 2-0.
In the second half, Kiley and Eneli each added a second goal and Ben Sarver scored as the Shamrocks improved to 18-1-2.
Beavercreek was 20-0-2 before playing the Shamrocks.
St. Ignatius was 15-3-2 and Medina was 15-1-5 heading into their state semifinal Nov. 8 at Nordonia.
The Shamrocks beat St. Ignatius 5-2 on Oct. 7.
Coffman beat Hilliard Darby 5-1 in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Hilliard Bradley, as Eneli scored two goals and Kiley, Noah Paoletti and Steven Madias each scored one.
"Everything was going our way (against Jerome) and we finished mostly every (scoring) opportunity we had," Kiley said.
"It's an unreal feeling. I've been playing for four years on varsity and we've lost (in regional finals) two of the last three years, and to get over that hump is the greatest feeling ever."
Volleyball team returns to state
Winners of 15 matches in a row and heading back to familiar territory, the girls volleyball team believes it's ready for a strong showing when it competes in the state tournament at Wright State University.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, the Shamrocks will face Cincinnati Ursuline Academy in a state semifinal. The winner plays Massillon Jackson or Cleveland St. Joseph Academy in the state final at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.
Coffman is 25-2, with one of its losses coming to Ursuline Academy, 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 16-25, 15-9 on Aug. 26.
"I think we're ready," senior setter Jennifer Schulze said. "Ursuline won in five when we played them, but that was our first big match of the year, so we've all grown a lot since then. It's exciting to be going back because everyone at our school is so supportive of us."
Coffman, which lost in the state final to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame in 2015 and fell to Toledo Notre Dame Academy in a state semifinal last year, hasn't lost a set since losing to Mount Notre Dame 25-12, 21-25, 25-17, 28-26 on Sept. 16.
Ursuline Academy beat Mount Notre Dame in a regional final Nov. 4.
Coffman beat Olentangy Orange 25-15, 26-24, 25-11 in a regional semifinal Nov. 2 as Riley Wagoner had 23 kills and Dana Axner had 17 digs.
Against DeSales, Wagoner had 13 kills, Schulze had eight kills, Mackenzie Curry had seven kills and Jacy Sheldon had 16 digs.
Ursuline Academy enters the state semifinal at 26-1, while St. Joseph Academy is 24-3 and Jackson is 25-1.
"I feel like we've seen a lot (of challenges) this year," coach Mary Anne Souder said. "We know it's going to be a battle. We match up well with Ursuline. They've got a good defense, we've got a good defense. They've got good outsides, we've got good outsides. They're very well-rounded."
Bons places sixth at state meet
Bons capped his prep cross country career with a second consecutive finish on the state podium.
After placing fifth at state a year ago, Bons finished sixth of 183 runners in 15 minutes, 34 seconds Nov. 4. He was third among central Ohio competitors.
"I was a little disappointed by how the race went as a whole," Bons said. "I'd hoped to be a little farther up, but it's hard to be mad about sixth place. Being on the podium again felt great. I just feel lucky to have made it there two years in a row."
Bons, who is considering competing collegiately at BYU or Stanford, was joined at state by sophomore Alex Dediu.
In his first state appearance, Dediu placed 114th (17:02.9).
According to coach Chad Biegler, Bons got off to a slow start this season because of bursitis before rounding into form.
"Steadily he got better all year," Biegler said. "I don't think he felt great, but that's the nature of distance running. Sometimes you feel great, sometimes you don't. Given that, to get first-team all-Ohio is a great finish."
The Shamrocks were OCC-Central Division runners-up, scoring 60 points Oct. 14 at Darby to finish behind Hilliard Davidson (24) and ahead of Upper Arlington (60), Marysville (99), Central Crossing (130) and Westland (189). Bons won the league title (15:33.09).
Bons captured the district 1 championship Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial in 15:17.56 as the Shamrocks finished third (88) of 16 teams, behind Davidson (45) and Lancaster (78).
At the regional meet Oct. 28 at Pickerington North, Coffman was 10th (231) of 16 teams, behind champion Davidson (91), as Bons took fourth (15:48.91) and Dediu was 20th (16:25.82).
Also competing in the postseason for the Shamrocks were seniors Ryan Bosworth and Arnaldo Gonzalez-Calero, junior Cameron Hull, sophomore Colin Gagne and freshman Nate Brown.
'Good group' of girls runners coming back
Of the girls cross country team's seven postseason competitors, four are eligible to return.
Senior Ellie Weber, who has committed to run for Ohio State and placed 26th (19:22.69) in the Division I regional meet, will be the biggest loss.
"We have a good group coming back," coach Greg King said. "We've got a core group of sophomores that have run 21 minutes. Plus, we've got a bunch of freshmen. We should be a better team next year than we were this year."
Coffman finished fourth (88) in the OCC-Central meet, behind Davidson (22), UA (53) and Marysville (77) and ahead of Central Crossing (155) as Weber placed 10th (19:59.33).
Then in the district 1 meet, the Shamrocks were fifth (118) of 11 teams, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (42), as Weber placed seventh (19:02.41).
Coffman was 12th (304) at the 17-team district meet as the top five moved on to state.
Other key seniors included Dimitra Herbei, Delaney Marsalek and MacKenzie Meshcer.
Junior Leah Jablonski was the team's No. 2 runner at the league meet and throughout the postseason.
Others eligible to return include sophomores Lydia Ainsworth, Willow Hayward, Katherine Kinzeler, Grace Marsalek and Emma Niswonger and freshman Natalie Conrad.