Depending on the situation, senior midfielder Connor DesRoches of the Dublin Coffman boys soccer team could be lined up just in front of the back line or driving toward the goal with the attackers.
It's a freedom that he appreciates.
"I would say that I would fit into more of a center midfielder position, but depending on the situation, I kind of fit myself into a specific role," DesRoches said. "My coaches let me do that, which I appreciate. I've played multiple positions over my career, so I feel comfortable at pretty much any position. With my club team, I usually play center back and that's probably where I'll end up playing in college. High school helps me more in my ball development because I get more touches playing higher on the field."
During the past three seasons as Coffman added to its run of consecutive Division I district championships that now sits at eight, DesRoches was on the field for almost all of the key minutes.
He started 10 games as a freshman in 2016 when the Shamrocks were regional runners-up and was a regular starter in 2017 when they were state semifinalists as well as last fall when they fell to St. Charles 3-0 in a regional semifinal.
After getting off to a 2-5-1 start this season, Coffman seems to be back on track with the 6-foot-2 DesRoches leading the way.
After recording 13 goals and six assists while earning first-team all-OCC-Central Division honors last fall, DesRoches had 13 goals through 14 games this season.
The Shamrocks had won six games in a row and were 8-5-1 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central before closing league action Oct. 8 against Upper Arlington, including a 2-1 win over Jerome on Oct. 1 behind goals by Lucas Sarver and Roshan Singri.
Then in a 4-2 victory over Central Crossing on Oct. 3, Coffman trailed 2-0 but cut its deficit to 2-1 on a goal by Coy Ragland and DesRoches scored late in the first half to tie it.
DesRoches, who also scored the game-winning goal against the Celtics, has committed to play for Ohio State, where he'll join former Coffman standouts Luke Kiley and Matt Kiley.
"You just don't see too many guys his size who not only have the physicality and pace but are so technical," coach Brian Stoddard said. "He was probably one of the best two or three guys on the field (last season in the regional semifinal loss) when we played St. Charles. He's pretty important."
Coffman will need help to defend its OCC-Central title considering it lost to Hilliard Davidson 1-0 on Sept. 10 and the Wildcats are first in the league at 4-0 heading into their game Thursday, Oct. 10, at Marysville.
Still, the Shamrocks could have opportunities to correct some of their early season disappointments.
Seeded 13th, Coffman will play host to 51st-seeded Briggs on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in the first round of the district tournament, with the winner facing 18th-seeded Westerville North or 26th-seeded Hilliard Darby in the second round Oct. 17. The Shamrocks tied North at 1 on Sept. 3.
Coffman likely would play at sixth-seeded Davidson in a district semifinal Oct. 22.
The Shamrocks close the regular season Saturday, Oct. 12, at home against Cincinnati Moeller, which is ranked fourth in the state.
"We're a younger team, (but) I think we're starting to find ourselves," DesRoches said.
"We want to put in more goals, but it all starts defensively. Not letting in goals is more important than scoring goals, in my opinion."
Boys, girls golfers advance to district
On Oct. 8, the boys and girls golf teams both competed in Division I district tournaments.
The boys were at Apple Valley, where the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to the state tournament Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The girls competed at New Albany Links, where the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
It marked the second consecutive season in which the boys team entered district after winning a sectional championship.
On Oct. 1 in a 15-team sectional at Darby Creek, the boys shot 299 to finish first and earn one of four district-qualifying berths.
Senior Jacob Hazen shot 71 to earn medalist honors and senior Sam Sellman tied for second (72) of 78 golfers. Senior Connor Mitchell (tied for 12th, 77), sophomore Klay Redman (tied for 21st, 79) and senior Cameron Seery (tied for 35th, 82) also competed.
"I was just happy for the boys to put together one of their better rounds of the year when it counted," coach Scott Sutherland said. "We prepare all year for the sectional and district tournament and their hard work paid off at Darby Creek."
The girls earned a sectional runner-up finish with a 324 on Oct. 2 at Blacklick Woods, behind New Albany (286), as the top three teams advanced to district.
Junior Annika Manjunath shot a 77 to tie for sixth of 54 golfers, behind five players from New Albany.
Freshman Ellie Lim was eighth (79), followed by junior Ava Guilliams (tied for 10th, 83), senior Jenna Lynn (tied for 14th, 85) and sophomore Megan Kestner (tied for 33rd, 101).
Five tennis players move on to district
The girls tennis will be represented by one singles player and both of its doubles teams at the Division I district tournament Thursday, Oct. 10, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Reynoldsburg.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the state tournament Oct. 18 and 19 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
In a sectional Oct. 3 and 5 at Hilliard Bradley, freshman Dasha Chistyakova, who was the third seed in singles, beat Gahanna's Aubrey Thomas 6-2, 6-0 to qualify for district and went on to finish third.
In doubles, senior Claire Feit and freshman Emily Yoshino were seeded first and beat their teammates, senior Abby Walker and junior Ria Singhal, 6-3, 6-1 for the sectional championship. Walker and Singhal were seeded third but edged the second seed, Scioto's Maddy Baughman and Maggie Szabo, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a semifinal.
Also competing at sectional in singles were senior Hannah Qin, who lost to Scioto's Nicole Santoso 6-0, 6-1 in a quarterfinal to finish one win shy of advancing to district, and junior Cassi Shough, who lost to top-seeded AnhThi Thai of Bradley 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman cross country, field hockey, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 12 -- OCC-Central meet at Hilliard Davidson
Oct. 15 -- At 10th-seeded Jerome in second round of district tournament. The Shamrocks are seeded 14th.
*Oct. 10 -- At Upper Arlington
Oct. 12 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Oct. 19 -- Home vs. 45th-seeded Columbus West in second round of Division I district tournament. The Shamrocks are the top seed.
*Oct. 10 -- At Upper Arlington. The Shamrocks defeated the Golden Bears 25-13, 25-16, 25-23 on Sept. 17.
Oct. 17 -- At 11th-seeded Big Walnut or home vs. 38th-seeded Westerville South in second round of Division I district tournament. The Shamrocks are seeded 12th.