Manny Day almost single-handedly carried the Grandview Heights High School boys soccer team to its second consecutive Division III regional championship.
The senior forward totaled nine goals in two regional contests, leading the fifth-ranked Bobcats into a state semifinal against third-ranked Miamisburg Dayton Christian on Nov. 7 at London.
Day entered the state semifinal with 48 goals on the season.
"I am locked in right now," he said. "At the beginning of the season I felt like this, but then in the middle, I was kind of out of rhythm. I have been pretty mentally focused over the past few weeks."
The semifinal winner plays eighth-ranked Archbold or Kirtland in the state final Saturday, Nov. 10, at Mapfre Stadium. Archbold was 20-1 entering its state semifinal, and the Blue Streaks defeated top-ranked Toledo Ottawa Hills 2-1 in a district final. Kirtland was 17-1-3.
The Bobcats also reached a state semifinal last season, losing to eventual state champion Cincinnati Summit Country Day 3-1. The Silver Knights moved up to Division II this fall.
"We played there last year so we know that the stakes are higher," defender Sam Freeman said. "We know the pressure and the intensity. We know that everything goes up a level and our whole team will need to bring it up even more."
Day scored all three goals in a 3-0 victory over Berlin Hiland in a regional final Nov. 3 at Sparta Highland. Goalkeeper Lance Trares had 11 saves.
The first goal for Day came with 9 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first half. He also scored with 33:50 left and with 16:33 to play.
"That first goal meant so much because when they played their last game (a 1-0 regional semifinal win over South Webster) they put all of their defenders back," Day said. "We thought that if they had scored then that would happen and we wouldn't have that many chances. That (goal) opened it all up for us."
With the game scoreless with 24:40 remaining in the first half, Trares came out for a save, only to slip to the ground. A Hiland player then kicked the ball past Trares for what appeared to be a sure goal, but Freeman came in from the left and deflected the ball away.
"Defensively, we have been working all season on that type of situation," coach James Gerdes said. "We play a formation that sometimes gives up that type of chance. We play a fairly high defensive line and every now and then someone will get in behind. It's one of those things we do every day in practice is clear (scoring) opportunities like that."
In a regional semifinal, Day scored six times in a 7-2 rout of 10th-ranked Wellington on Oct. 31 at Gahanna. Freshman Jack Mollette scored off an assist from Day to account for the other goal, and Trares had four saves.
"Last year our team was packed with seniors and our expectations might have been a little lower at the start of this season," Freeman said. "We just really stepped things up, and it feels great to be able to make it back to the (state tournament)."
Girls soccer team falls in regional semi
The girls soccer team's postseason run ended Oct. 30 when it lost to eighth-ranked Zanesville Rosecrans 2-1 in a shootout in a Division III regional semifinal at Lakewood.
The 10th-ranked Bobcats were outscored 3-1 in the shootout and finished to 15-3-2 overall.
Rosecrans went on to beat Albany Alexander 1-0 in two overtimes Nov. 3 in the regional final.
The semifinal was tied at 1 after regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods. Senior defender Adelle Bechtel scored for Grandview in the best-of-five shootout.
Claire Creeks scored for the Bishops with 10:18 left in the second half, but sophomore defender Carlie Orr tied the game for the Bobcats with 17 seconds left in regulation.
Senior goalie Ruby Gentile had five saves.
"We played well against Columbus Academy (in a 1-0 shootout win in a district semifinal Oct. 24) and Worthington Christian (in a 2-0 win in a district final Oct. 27), but we didn't play as well (against Rosecrans)," said coach Mike Merna, who completed his 15th season. "We were second to balls all night and we were a little bit flat."
The Bobcats had a standout season, winning their second consecutive district championship and tying Worthington Christian for the MSL-Ohio Division championship at 4-0-2.
Grandview also played Worthington Christian to a scoreless tie Aug. 29. The Bobcats were seeded second for the district tournament while the Warriors were the top seed and the fourth-ranked team in the state.
Sophomore forward Tayler Pierce (first-team all-league) led the Bobcats in scoring with 19 goals and five assists, followed by senior midfielder Olivia Girardi (7 goals, 3 assists), freshman forward Zoey Miller (honorable mention all-league; 6 goals, 3 assists) and senior midfielder Whitney Schaefer (second-team all-league; 4 goals, 5 assists).
Midfielder Maddie Arndt (3 goals, 1 assist), Bechtel, Gentile (first-team all-league; 85 saves, 15 goals allowed in 20 games), Girardi and Schaefer comprised the five-player senior class.
"Our seniors did an awfully good job for us this year," Merna said. "They did so much for us. One of them, Maddie Arndt, didn't play (against Rosecrans) because of a (leg) injury. She's an energy player and we really needed that in this game."
Junior defender Hallie Georskey (second-team all-league), Orr (honorable mention all-league) and sophomore midfielder Tia Thomas (first-team all-league; 3 goals, 1 assist) lead the expected returnees. Other starters expected back are sophomore midfielder Lindsey Bertani and freshman defender Abbie Baxter.
"Every year there are challenges replacing seniors and next year will be no different," Merna said. "We will have a lot of holes to fill, especially replacing Ruby in goal."
State cross country moved back one week
Junior Chris Miller and sophomore Derek Amicon will compete for the boys cross country team in the Division III state meet Saturday, Nov. 10, at National Trail Raceway, and senior Nina Amicon will represent the girls team.
The meet was postponed Nov. 3 because of poor course conditions caused by rain.