Throughout the postseason, the Big Walnut High School girls soccer team knew it would have to get past the defending state champion.
But for the second year in a row, the Golden Eagles' season came to a close against Cincinnati Indian Hill in a Division II state semifinal.
Anna Podojil scored the decisive goal with 11 minutes, 25 seconds left to lift the sixth-ranked Braves to a 2-1 victory on Nov. 6 at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia.
Indian Hill, which defeated the Golden Eagles 4-0 in a state semifinal last season on its way to winning its first state title, improved to 17-2-3 and played Bay Village Bay in the state final on Nov. 9 at Mapfre Stadium.
Big Walnut, which was ranked ninth in the final state poll, finished 14-3-4 overall.
"I don't know that (Indian Hill) possessed the ball that much," first-year coach Chris Allen said. "They were very direct and were trying to get it to their best player up top."
Big Walnut trailed 1-0 before senior midfielder Grace Bodker scored on a penalty kick with 19:29 left in the first half.
During their postseason run, the Golden Eagles won their second regional championship with a 3-0 win over New Concord John Glenn on Nov. 3 at Lakewood and their third consecutive district title with a 1-0 victory over top-seeded Granville on Oct. 27 at Westerville North.
Big Walnut, which was seeded second in the district, went 4-1 in the OCC-Capital Division to place second to New Albany (5-0).
"(The players have) come a long way," said Allen, who replaced five-year coach Drew Pitzer during the offseason and installed a new style of possession offense that needed time to develop. "I'm very proud of them for the journey that we've had. It's great to see and compare how we were from day one and how we finished the season."
The Golden Eagles, who posted 13 shutouts on the season, are losing six seniors in Bodker, defenders Erin Boehm and Rylee Bussen, forward/defender Adelee Gartner and forwards Alle English and Emily Neff.
Bodker and Bussen were named second-team all-league, while English was special mention all-league and Gartner was honorable mention all-league.
Among the expected returnees are juniors Payton Carter (goalkeeper), Haley Krinn (defender), Alexis Schone (forward), Avery Schone (midfielder), Kimberly Serna (forward) and Alyssa Tarney (defender) and sophomores Morgan Bodker (defender), Olivia Ramsey (goalie) and Ainsley Thompson (midfielder).
Morgan Bodker and Avery Schone, who had a team-high 13 goals and five assists, both were first-team all-league and Alexis Schone was second-team all-league.
Borland competes at state meet
Colbi Borland of the girls cross country team competed in her second consecutive Division I state meet Nov. 10 at National Trail Raceway.
The meet had been scheduled for Nov. 3 but was postponed because of flooding conditions on the course.
Borland, a junior, advanced to state by finishing 17th (19 minutes, 33.4 seconds) of 133 runners in the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North, behind champion Gracie Sprankle of Olentangy Liberty (18:23.1). The top 20 runners advanced to state.
Last season at state, Borland finished 59th of 173 runners in 19:14.5.