Emma Sears admits that her family's decision to move to central Ohio just before her freshman season was a big change after living in Laguna Beach, California, for a few years.

For Dublin Jerome High School girls soccer coach Kelly Brothers, the move into the school district by Sears and her twin sister, Bronwen, was "pretty comparable to hitting the lottery."

The Celtics again are a Division I district title favorite after reaching a regional semifinal in 2016 and finishing as a regional runner-up last fall with program veterans such as the Sears sisters and junior forward Riley Mullady leading the way.

"In the beginning of this season, it was hard for us to click together, but since then, we've bonded a lot more," said Emma Sears, an Ohio State commit. "We've learned to work with each other's talents. In all the years I've played on Jerome's varsity team, I've noticed that we're really technically sound and try to do our best in possession."

Jerome lost to Upper Arlington 4-1 on Sept. 18 but took a four-game winning streak into its game Oct. 9 at Scioto.

The Celtics were 11-3 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before facing the Irish and close the regular season Thursday, Oct. 11, at Pickerington North, which is the district's second seed.

Jerome is the third seed and opens the district tournament Oct. 18 at home against 24th-seeded Newark or 30th-seeded Central Crossing.

Through 14 games, Emma Sears had 10 goals and nine assists after finishing with 13 goals and making second-team all-state last season. She scored 17 goals and was third-team all-state as a sophomore.

"Emma is an absolute asset to our team," Brothers said. "She has had a great senior season. She has done everything we've asked of her and more.

"The twins have been so much fun to coach and watch grow up over the last four years and they've made quite an impact on the Jerome soccer program."

Emma and Bronwen's father, Robin Sears, played football at Wittenberg but the family was living in New Jersey when the twins were born. They also lived in England for two years before moving to California.

Bronwen recently committed to play for Miami University.

"It's going to be hard not having her with me since college is coming up," Emma said. "We started playing when we were really young and it just clicked. I definitely enjoy soccer with it being a team sport and I couldn't imagine not being on a team. I also enjoy the energy and intensity every time until the whistle blows."

Through 14 games, Mullady had 14 goals and Sophie Magilligan had 10, tying Emma Sears for second-most on the team.

"I've had more assists this year than scoring myself," Emma Sears said. "I definitely think I haven't been as selfish this year and have played with my teammates more this year because we've played so well together. I enjoy playing them good balls to finish."

Boys soccer team continues to grow

Although coach Nate Maust thought that Coffman "outplayed us most of the game" in their matchup Oct. 4, the boys soccer team still ended up with a 1-all tie.

The Celtics, who took a 1-0 lead early in the second half on a goal by Young Mu Lee before the Shamrocks tied it with 11 minutes remaining, have gone through a growing season in which sophomores and juniors are taking on most of the major roles.

"Coffman played a good game and we were lucky to be (in a scoreless) tie at the half," Maust said. "We're still young, but at least we're growing. It was nice to get that first goal. Right now, we're very junior- and sophomore-heavy on the field. (Midfielder Luke) Fassett is our one senior playing on the field a lot."

Jerome was 5-4-5 overall and 4-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before closing the league schedule Oct. 9 against Scioto. The Celtics complete the regular season Thursday, Oct. 11, at Olentangy Orange.

Seeded 11th, Jerome will open the Division I district tournament Wednesday, Oct. 17, at home against 46th-seeded Walnut Ridge. The winner plays 40th-seeded Watterson in the second round Oct. 20 at the home of the higher seed.

Second-seeded New Albany, which Jerome lost to 3-1 on Sept. 27, could be looming in a district semifinal and the Celtics could get another shot at Coffman in a district final if both teams get that far.

"It's one of those years where once you get past the top five anybody can play with anybody on any given night," Maust said.

Boys, girls golfers compete at district

On Oct. 9, the boys and girls golf teams each competed at Division I district tournaments.

The boys were at Apple Valley, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

That followed a sectional championship performance by the Celtics, who shot 290 to top an 11-team field Oct. 2 at Denison Golf Club. Senior Jackson Chandler was runner-up (69), senior Mason Wagner was third (70) and junior Ethan Snyder was fifth (73). Also competing were sophomores Ryan Miller (78) and Tyler Groomes (84).

The girls team competed at district at Cooks Creek, where the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Gray Course.

At sectional Oct. 2 at Royal American, the Celtics shot a 335 to place second behind Orange (306) as the top three teams moved on.

Junior Ash Abhang placed fifth (77) and junior Caitlin Yant was 10th (81) for the Celtics. Also competing were sophomores Lindsay Mayo (88) and Izzy Adams (89) and freshman Emma Sparling (91).

Tennis players set for district

The girls tennis team will compete in the Division I district tournament as well as in the OTCA team tournament over the next few days.

At a date that had yet to be determined at the beginning of this week, the Celtics will play Orange or Upper Arlington in a district final of the OTCA tournament, with the winner advancing to the state tournament Oct. 21 at Reynoldsburg.

Jerome beat Olentangy Liberty 3-1 on Oct. 1 in an OTCA semifinal to improve to 12-5.

In the OHSAA district tournament, junior Reagan Resor faces Olentangy's Nour Khayat, sophomore Lalasa Nagireddy plays UA's Emma Wang and junior Katherine Wang faces Thomas Worthington's Sarina Xie in first-round singles matches. In doubles, junior Kavya Alagappan and sophomore Izzy Seikel play Liberty's Lexie Brengartner and Ellie MacDowell in a first-round match.

At sectional held Oct. 5 and 6 at Reynoldsburg, Nagireddy lost 6-0, 6-0 in the final to Pickerington North's Cassie Alcala, last year's state runner-up.

Katherine Wang finished third and Resor was fourth in singles, while Alagappan and Seikel finished third in doubles.

Runners set for league meet

The boys and girls cross country teams will compete in the OCC-Cardinal meet Saturday, Oct. 13, at Hilliard Davidson.

The boys finished 11th (335 points) in the 21-team Les Eisenhart Invitational on Oct. 6 at Thomas Worthington behind champion Gahanna (115) as Elliott Cook was first (16 minutes).

The girls also finished 11th (326) in the 20-team meet as Audrey Cook took 45th (21:12) to lead the way.

Field hockey team preps for tourney

The field hockey team is seeded 11th for the district tournament and opens Tuesday, Oct. 16, at sixth-seeded Orange in a second-round game.

The winner plays fourth-seeded Watterson or 16th-seeded Scioto on Oct. 23 in a district semifinal at a site to be announced.

The Celtics were 6-9 overall and 2-5 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division before playing Olentangy Berlin on Oct. 10.

Jerome lost to Bexley 4-0 on Oct. 3 and fell to Rocky River Magnificat 3-1 on Oct. 6.

Volleyball team preps for tourney

The girls volleyball team was 13-7 overall and 8-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Delaware on Oct. 9 and closes the regular season Thursday, Oct. 11, at Scioto.

The Celtics lost to the Irish 10-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-16 on Sept. 13.

Jerome bounced back from a 14-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 15-9 loss to Hilliard Darby on Oct. 2 by beating Hilliard Bradley 25-12, 25-20, 25-19 on Oct. 4.

The Celtics are seeded 12th in the Division I district tournament and open Monday, Oct. 15, at home against 40th-seeded Northland. The winner plays host to 43rd-seeded Marion Harding on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in a second-round match.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek