The Thomas Worthington High School boys soccer team pulled off an upset of host and ninth-seeded Upper Arlington in dramatic fashion in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
Senior Nate Baer converted the Cardinals' fifth and final penalty kick in the shootout to give 21st-seeded Thomas a 3-2 victory over the Golden Bears on Oct. 20.
The Cardinals outscored UA 5-4 in the shootout, with goalkeeper Rye Conley stopping the Bears' second penalty kick. The teams were tied at 2 through regulation and two overtimes.
"We played a great game and we didn't go in there intimidated," said coach David Fairchild, whose team improved to 6-10-2. "That's a testament to the schedule. We intentionally set up a very difficult schedule and six of our losses were one-goal games.
"We lost to UA 2-1 (on Sept. 11) and we felt we shot ourselves in the foot in that one. We had that first game in the back of our minds going in. We knew we could play with them."
The Cardinals shot second in the shootout and Andrew Gao, Aaron Cockerham, Drew Holman and Eddy Swift all made their chances ahead of Baer.
"We've got 14 seniors and they've been tested, so we knew we could do it," Fairchild said. "We celebrated a little bit on the field and then really kicked it up in the locker room. There was singing and dancing in there. Heck, the coach even got involved in the dancing, but I hope there's no video of it."
Thomas, which beat 33rd-seeded Northland 2-0 in a first-round home game Oct. 17, played at sixth-seeded Olentangy in a district semifinal Oct. 24. The winner plays fourth-seeded Pickerington North or 31st-seeded Westerville North in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at a neutral site.
The district champion plays Olentangy Liberty, Westerville Central, Hilliard Bradley or Hilliard Darby in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 31, at a neutral site. The regional final is Nov. 3.
Girls runners capture district title
The girls cross country team won the Division I, district 1 title and the boys team was runner-up in its district 1 race Oct. 20 at Darby.
Both teams will compete in the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North, where the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to state Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway.
Competing in windy conditions, the girls team totaled 36 points to edge runner-up Liberty (38) in the 15-team field as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional.
Gia Napoleon placed second of 102 runners in 18 minutes, 30.4 seconds, followed by Lydia Miller (third, 19:05.8), Carina Napoleon (fourth, 19:21.1), Morgan Edwards (10th, 19:56.8), Michelina Guerra (17th, 20:32.7), Naya Roebke (28th, 21:18.9) and Sydney Cropper (56th, 22:46.6).
"We knew it was going to be a battle," coach Andy Cox said. "When you have three of the top four finishers, it's a great way to start. But I think the key was Morgan Edwards finishing 10th and Michelina Guerra taking 17th. Our top five were outstanding. The top 20 make all-district, so it was a great day.
"We did the things we've worked on, closing the gap from No. 1 to No. 5. Regional is always a challenge, though, so we have to stay focused and run our best and let things take care of themselves."
The boys team scored 89 points to finish behind only Gahanna (63) in a 13-team field.
Nate Johnson placed fifth (career-best 16:04.8) and Zubin Jha was sixth (16:09.4) to lead the Cardinals, followed by Jack Caine (21st, 17:07.1), Noah Silliman (24th, 17:16.4), Andres Mira (33rd, 17:30.6), Victor Nash (45th, 17:57) and Macario Etienne (49th, 17:59.5).
"It was a very competitive district and we entered thinking that we could finish anywhere from second through sixth and we didn't want to be left behind," coach Bill Darling said. "We needed a top-five finish and to finish second, we couldn't be happier. The boys had a great performance.
"We ran a lot better as a team than we thought we would, despite the conditions making the course about 30 seconds slower than normal. But it's postseason and you throw the clock out because it's all about placement now."
Field hockey team wins tourney opener
The second-seeded field hockey team defeated 17th-seeded Lancaster 9-0 in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 16, giving coach Terri Simonetti Frost her 300th career victory.
Bella Avila scored four goals and Sarah Charley and Mollie Estepp both scored two to lead the Cardinals, who improved to 16-1 and played host to eighth-seeded New Albany in a district semifinal Oct. 23.
"(The milestone is) a nice achievement, but it stems from having great players who buy into the system and want to keep the tradition alive and hand it down," said Simonetti Frost, who is in her 20th season with the Cardinals. "Once you establish that, you can continue to turn it over. It also comes from being backed by family and a good school administration. Everyone puts in the hard work to have this success."
Simonetti Frost coached one year at Grandview before arriving at Thomas, posting six victories with the Bobcats.
The Thomas-New Albany winner plays third-seeded Kilbourne or fifth-seeded Liberty in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at Liberty. The district champion advances to a state semifinal Nov. 2 at UA.
Girls soccer team falls to Shamrocks
The 25th-seeded girls soccer team tested fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman, but fell short in a 2-1 loss to the Shamrocks in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18.
The Cardinals, who beat 26th-seeded DeSales 2-0 in the first round Oct. 15, finished 4-10-3.
Thomas is losing seven seniors in Riley Adams (defender/midfielder), Anna Fenker (defender), Annie McClure (forward), Caroline McGill (midfielder), Mackenzie Peeke (midfielder), Maddy Sever (defender) and Delaney Steele (midfielder/defender).
Among the expected returnees are juniors Brooke Ackley (goalie), Eve Hertz (forward), Abbey Midnight (midfielder/forward) and Sophia Tyler (midfielder) and sophomores Grace Florence (midfielder), Peyton Hughes (midfielder), Jazmine Rogers (midfielder), Claire Sever (forward), Tatum Snyder (defender) and Ella Tyler (defender).
Girls volleyball team ousted by Pacers
The 25th-seeded girls volleyball team lost to 15th-seeded Delaware 25-18, 25-20, 22-25, 25-19 in the first round of Division I district tournament Oct. 16 to finish 8-15.
The Cardinals are losing eight seniors in Meredith Althouse (libero), Liz Clemens (outside hitter), Becca Hobbs (defensive specialist), Layne Keegan (setter/outside hitter), Cat Jackson (opposite hitter), Abby Philips (middle blocker), Gabrielle Ramsay (opposite hitter/middle blocker) and Brie Wright (middle blocker).
Expected to return are juniors Celeste Sanfrey (setter) and Rosa Spurgeon (defensive specialist) and sophomore Grace Matthews (defensive specialist/outside hitter).