Bexley High School boys soccer coach Jay Scott likes how the postseason provides a new beginning.
The Division II district tournament gives the Lions a chance to take everything they have worked on during the regular season and put it together in a cohesive package.
Third-seeded Bexley was 11-6 after defeating 10th-seeded Centennial 5-0 on Oct. 20 in a second-round home game.
"We kind of look at it like it's season No. 2," said Scott, whose team played host to fifth-seeded Granville on Oct. 24 in a district semifinal. "We don't even look at it as an extension of what we did in the regular season. "We were moving guys around in the regular season and we made some changes in our formation earlier in the season. We were trying to tweak that all throughout the course of the season. Hopefully we will have our mental mistakes at a minimum and the mechanics of our new formation down (during) the postseason."
The Lions won their first four games then hit a lull. In their final eight games of the regular season, they scored only eight goals and were limited to one goal or fewer six times, including three shutouts.
"We have had an up-and-down season as far as our consistency goes," Scott said. "I think we're on a higher level and kind of on a roll right now. ... We have had some injuries and we have been shuffling players around to try to get that taken care of, but we're getting some of them back. The (seven days) we (had) since our last regular-season game and our (district) opener (against Centennial) helped us a lot."
The Lions closed the regular season with a 1-0 loss Oct. 13 to Watkins Memorial, one of five Division I programs they faced this season.
"Our schedule has been pretty tough and that will help us (in the postseason)," senior midfielder Will Simpson said. "After (losing 3-0 on Oct. 9 to) St. Charles, a very good Division I team, I think facing them will help us a lot. (In the postseason), we won't see any team as good as St. Charles."
One of the best games Bexley played in recent weeks was a 3-2 win over Whitehall on Oct. 10 in MSL-Ohio Division play. Senior midfielder Christian Roddy said it was the kind of effort that would be needed in the postseason.
"Our team has really good chemistry," he said. "We have had some good comebacks, like being down 2-0 to Whitehall and winning 3-2. We have a lot of grit and we'll use that in the postseason."
Simpson, Charlie Breyfogle, Ford Cowan, Miles Joseph and Ted Schoedinger scored against Centennial.
The Bexley-Granville winner plays second-seeded Columbus Academy, seventh-seeded Olentangy Berlin, 11th-seeded Buckeye Valley or 22nd-seeded Licking Valley in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at a neutral site to be determined. The Lions lost to Academy 2-1 on Sept. 26 in league play and fell to 1-0 to Berlin on Oct. 4.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Coshocton. The regional final is Nov. 3.
"I think we had high hopes when we started strong and then faltered a little bit," senior defender Grant Halliday said. "I think we can still go far in the tournament."
Cross country teams advance to regional
The boys and girls cross country teams will compete for state berths in the Division II regional meet Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
The top seven boys teams and top 28 individuals will advance to state Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway. The top six girls teams and top 24 individuals will qualify for state.
The boys finished second (64) in the district 2 race Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby behind Jonathan Alder (46) as the top four teams advanced to regional. Nicholas Hall (fourth, 17 minutes, 1.9 seconds) and Theo Snowden (sixth, 17:15.0) led the Lions, followed by Miles Feinknopf (11th, 17:29.5), Spencer Stevenson (21st, 18:00.8), Dylan Abel (22nd, 18:01.1), Elliot Roe (23rd, 18:01.7) and Miller MacDonald (28th, 18:12.0).
The girls were third (73) at district behind Buckeye Valley (61) and Jonathan Alder (64) as the top five teams advanced. Claire MacDonald was runner-up (19:26.6) to Jonathan Alder's Maddie Davis (18:58.2).
Maria Steinke (eighth, 20:16.2) was next for Bexley, followed by Ally Grieshop (18th, 20:50.6), Kayleigh Place (21st, 20:59.3), Anna Politi (29th, 21:32.3), Hannah Hayden (35th, 21:57.5) and Ella Hayden (48th, 22:31.5).
Football team preps for Silver Knights
The football team is 1-8 heading into the season finale Friday, Oct. 26, at home against Ready.
The Silver Knights are 3-6 after losing to Whitehall 49-14 on Oct. 19. Jack Foley led Ready with 89 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 25 carries, increasing his season totals to 1,399 yards and 16 touchdowns on 231 carries.
The Lions finished 0-5 in the MSL-Ohio with a 56-0 loss to London on Oct. 19. Patrick Beck led the offense with 25 yards rushing on 18 carries as Bexley was held to minus-8 total yards.
Field hockey team reaches district semi
The ninth-seeded field hockey team was 10-8 before playing top-seeded Academy in a district semifinal Oct. 23.
The winner plays fourth-seeded Watterson or sixth-seeded Olentangy Orange in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at Olentangy Liberty, and the district champion plays in a state semifinal Nov. 2.
The Lions won at 12th-seeded Dublin Coffman 2-0 on Oct. 18 in the second round. Phoebe Snowdon and Maddy Vincent both scored and Sally Sauer had three saves.
Girls volleyball team earns winning mark
The girls volleyball team won its first league title since 2007, tying Academy for the MSL-Ohio championship at 7-1.
"These girls have worked incredibly hard this year on many facets of the game, and we focused heavily on the fundamentals of volleyball," said coach Mindy Millard, whose team finished 13-11 overall. "The girls showed tremendous growth in in all areas of the game. However, I think the most remarkable accomplishment was not our stats but more so our development as a team.
"The girls put all the things they had learned during the season into each game and into each other. As our record shows, we won 10 of the last 12 (regular-season) matches we played."
The 10th-seeded Lions defeated 12th-seeded Columbus South 25-17, 25-7, 25-11 on Oct. 15 at home in the first round of the Division II district tournament. They lost at fourth-seeded Granville 25-7, 25-12, 25-14 in the second round Oct. 17.
Senior Josie Zox played at outside, middle and opposite hitter, leading the Lions in kills (123) and aces (49). She also had 48 blocks and 85 digs.
Senior defensive specialist Kaia Woodford had a team-high 94 digs, senior outside hitter Savannah Schwallie had 72 kills and 30 aces and senior libero Sierra Rogers had 73 digs and 29 aces.
Rounding out the senior class were middle blocker/outside hitter Eva Brady, defensive specialist Erin Fetters and libero Jess Levitt.
"These seniors hold a very special place in my heart," said Millard, whose team rebounded from finishes of 4-18 last season, 4-18 in 2017 and 1-22 in 2016. "From the moment they walked into the first open gym, I knew they had something special. They all had leadership qualities that complemented one another."
Top players expected to return include sophomores Anna Appling (setter/outside hitter; 40 aces, team-high 209 assists), Grace Glasser (middle hitter/outside hitter; 91 kills 40 blocks), Hayley Heideman (setter; 34 blocks, 19 aces 58 digs, 126 assists) and Katie Huefner (middle hitter; team-high 54 blocks, 75 kills, 26 aces) and freshman Giulia Viglietta (outside hitter; 78 kills, 17 aces, 61 digs).
Girls soccer team to return top scorers
The girls soccer team expects to return its top two scorers in junior forward Caroline Bunker (10 goals) and junior midfielder Laney Hoehnke (7 goals).
The fifth-seeded Lions finished 3-7-7 overall, losing at third-seeded Jonathan Alder 1-0 on Oct. 15 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.
They tied Academy for fifth (1-2-3) in the MSL-Ohio behind co-champions Grandview and Worthington Christian (both 4-0-2).
Goalkeeper Makayla Burzynski (79 saves), forward Emma Dressel (6 goals) and defenders Annie Muscarella and Ellie Wilson were the team's seniors.
Bexley also expects to return junior midfielder Claire Heilman (2 goals), sophomore forward Aly Cox (5 goals), freshman midfielder Grace Heilman (2 goals), freshman goalie Katie Jude (36 saves) and freshman midfielder Sydney Tyler (3 goals).