Coach James Gerdes laid out the stark reality to his Grandview Heights boys soccer team after it closed the regular season Oct. 12 with a 2-all tie against visiting Centennial.
The Bobcats have won five consecutive Division III district championships, but it will take work to win a sixth. That journey begins for fourth-seeded Grandview on Monday, Oct. 21, at home against 17th-seeded Marion Pleasant or 20th-seeded Harvest Prep in a second-round game.
"It's all business now," said Gerdes, whose team enters the postseason at 7-5-4. "No more mistakes. No more missed opportunities. It's win or go home.
"There's certainly pressure that comes from the previous successes, but we tell them that that should be motivation for them to not let that drop. We just have to stay focused."
Grandview trailed the Stars 1-0 until junior forward Henry Murphy scored off an assist from senior defender Ravi Kumar with 16 minutes, 50 seconds to play. Centennial regained the lead with 13:14 to play, and the Bobcats needed a score on a free kick by senior forward Ross Day with 15 seconds remaining to earn the tie.
"I feel like we move the ball a lot better than in the beginning of the season and our communication has really improved," said Day, who leads the Bobcats with 14 goals and seven assists. "At the beginning no one was talking and we didn't have much chemistry, but we have become more of a team. We're meshing better together."
The second-round district winner will play third-seeded Liberty Union, 12th-seeded Madison Christian or 14th-seeded Millersport in a semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed. Grandview tied Liberty Union at 1 on Sept. 7 and defeated Madison Christian 7-0 on Sept. 14.
"There is always pressure in Grandview," said senior forward Lance Trares, who has seven goals and two assists. "Soccer is a really big sport and historically we're really good at it. There is a lot of pressure, and no one is going to feel sorry for us.
"We have to stay determined. When we lose our focus we get in trouble. If we just stay focused for the whole game and play our game, we'll be fine."
The district final is Oct. 26 with top-seeded Worthington Christian as the likely opponent. The Bobcats lost to the Warriors 3-1 on Sept. 4 in MSL-Ohio Division play.
Gerdes said his team has the potential to win its sixth district title in a row if it keeps its focus.
"We have been up and down," he said. "We have shown moments of playing really well and then we have moments when the basics are not there. We have been drilling it into the guys that it's about every minute of every game and not just about showing it in patches. I'm confident if we can keep everyone healthy and focused I think we have a good chance of progressing."
Football team renews rivalry with Barons
The football team will attempt to win its second consecutive game when it plays host to Buckeye Valley on Friday, Oct. 18, in MSL-Ohio action.
The Bobcats and Barons were in different divisions of the Central Buckeye League from 1977-90. Grandview won the last meeting 17-14 in 1986.
Buckeye Valley dropped to 0-7 overall and 0-3 in the MSL-Ohio after losing to Columbus Academy 49-6 on Oct. 11.
The Barons have alternated Andy Anthony and Anthony Hughes at quarterback. Anthony was 9-for-14 passing for 72 yards against the Vikings, and Hughes was 5-for-9 for 54 yards with one touchdown and one interceptions. Andre Ash rushed 14 times for 69 yards.
Grandview got a big performance from senior running back Darreion Davis in a 20-13 win over Liberty Union on Oct. 11 in league play. He rushed for 202 yards on 27 carries with touchdowns of 14 and 5 yards.
The Bobcats had a 20-7 lead at halftime but needed a late interception by Charlie James to secure the victory.
Girls soccer team enters district play
The girls soccer team is the top seed for the Division III district tournament and is looking for a third consecutive district title.
The Bobcats open in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19, against eighth-seeded Ready or ninth-seeded Fisher Catholic. They defeated Ready 2-1 on Sept. 21.
The winner plays in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, against third-seeded Worthington Christian, sixth-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek, 10th-seeded Johnstown or 14th-seeded Madison Plains at the home of the better seed.
The Bobcats finished the regular season 12-3-1 overall and 6-2 in the MSL-Ohio after losing to Worthington Christian 2-1 on Oct. 9. Zoey Miller scored and goalkeeper Addi Holcomb had five saves.
Girls volleyball team begins postseason
The 12th-seeded girls volleyball team opened the Division III district tournament Oct. 15 at fourth-seeded Northridge.
The winner plays ninth-seeded Pleasant in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19, at the home of the better seed.
The Bobcats finished the regular season 12-10 overall and 4-8 in the MSL-Ohio after losing to Columbus School for Girls 15-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-23 on Oct. 10.