Rylee Bussen of the Big Walnut High School girls soccer team takes pride in her other family -- the one on the field that produced its 10th shutout of the season to advance to the Division II district final.
"The communication between everybody on the team, especially our back line, is just so consistent every game," said Bussen, a senior defender. "We're always talking and always communicating. We just want to make sure we're there for each other and nothing gets behind us."
The second-seeded Golden Eagles needed to play stout defense in their 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Bloom-Carroll in a district semifinal Oct. 23 at home.
Big Walnut, which was 11-2-4 before playing top-seeded Granville in the district final Oct. 27 at Bloom-Carroll, possessed the ball most of the game against the Bulldogs but had trouble finding the net.
Avery Schone scored the game's only goal when she got her leg on a second corner-kick attempt by Grace Bodker with 14 minutes, 32 seconds left. The ball struck the heads of Morgan Bodker and Bussen before Grace Bodker scored from the left side of the net.
Bloom-Carroll didn't have any shots on goal, not even any shot attempts, until the second half. Golden Eagles goalkeeper Payton Carter finished with two saves.
"We spent a lot of time on (Bloom-Carroll's) half of the field," said first-year coach Chris Allen, whose team beat ninth-seeded Licking Valley 8-1 in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 18 at home. "The big thing for us is defending together and not just counting on our back line. That's been a big strength for us, with the whole team defending and not just necessarily depending on our back line."
The district champion plays Fairfield Union, Chillicothe Unioto, Circleville or Waverly in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Bloom-Carroll. That winner faces Warsaw River View, Lisbon Beaver, New Concord John Glenn or Dover in the regional final Saturday, Nov. 3, at a neutral site to be determined.
The regional champion advances to a state semifinal Nov. 6.
Last season, Big Walnut defeated Granville 1-0 in a shootout in the district final and went on to win its first regional title before losing to Cincinnati Indian Hill 4-0 in a state semifinal.
Borland advances to regional meet
Colbi Borland of the girls cross country team competed in the Division I regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North, from which the top 20 runners advanced to the state meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at National Trail Raceway.
It was the third regional appearance for the junior, who qualified by placing fourth (18:54.2) of 104 runners in the district 3 meet Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby, behind Hilliard Davidson's Lindsay Stull (18:38.6), Olentangy's Lex Brookshire (18:43) and Davidson's Sophie Lewis (18:52.9).
The top six teams and top 24 individuals in district 3 advanced to regional.
The Golden Eagles finished 11th (261 points) of 15 teams, behind champion Davidson (25).
Also competing for Big Walnut were Grace Grunewald (50th, 21:12.9), Grace Unger (61st, 21:34.2), Sierra Sanders (70th, 21:54.1), Madi Yano (76th, 22:32.7), Alina Pecci (77th, 22:35.8) and Addie List (87th, 24:47.6).
The boys team finished 15th (429) of 21 teams in the district 3 meet, behind champion Pickerington North (55).
Jacob Krous finished 53rd (17:57.4) of 147 runners to lead the Golden Eagles, followed by Christopher Lee (70th, 18:21), Grady Hemingway (74th, 18:27), Drew Armstrong (109th, 19:01.3), Braden Buckler (123rd, 19:28.2), Jatan Pokar (124th, 19:28.3) and Owen List (128th, 19:39.1).
Volleyball team plays in district semifinal
The second-seeded girls volleyball team was 19-4 before playing ninth-seeded London in a Division II district semifinal Oct. 25 at Licking Heights.
The winner played fourth-seeded Granville or fifth-seeded Hartley in a district final Oct. 27 at Licking Heights.
The district champion plays Sparta Highland or Jonathan Alder in a regional semifinal Thursday, Nov. 1, at Heath. That winner faces Thornville Sheridan, Unioto, Gnadenhutten Indian Valley or East Liverpool in the regional final Saturday, Nov. 3, at Heath.
The regional champion advances to a state semifinal Nov. 9 at Wright State.
Football team closes season against Indians
The football team wrapped up its season Oct. 26 at Canal Winchester.
Big Walnut fell to 3-6 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Capital Division with a 28-19 home loss to Groveport on Oct. 19. Canal Winchester was 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the league entering matchup with the Golden Eagles.
Nathan Lawyer scored on runs of 8 and 2 yards and Caleb Meade made a 36-yard field goal against the Cruisers.
Groveport, which led 14-12 at halftime, rushed for 438 yards on 48 carries. The Cruisers' Jalil Underdown ran for 169 yards and three touchdowns on 16 rushes, and Emmanuel Anthony added 155 yards rushing.