With a 2-0 victory over Lancaster on Oct. 8, the Reynoldsburg boys soccer team put an exclamation point on a regular season in which it celebrated a league championship for the first time in almost two decades.
The game also provided an example of one of the squad's biggest strengths: defense.
The Raiders, who had posted seven shutouts before opening the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 at home against 52nd-seeded Independence, also have shown they know how to support their teammates in other ways.
During a 2-1 victory over Pickerington Central on Sept. 24, junior goalkeeper Brady Frydl learned his father, Jeffrey Frydl, had a health scare while attending the game.
"I had so much going through my mind," Frydl said. "I can't remember exactly what the score was, but it was close. I walked over (to see how he was doing) because I just wanted to make sure he was in good hands, but I stayed in the game. (My teammates) all texted me after the game, asking me, 'Brady, how's your dad?' I love that."
Frydl has been part of a defense that is led by senior Nate Russell and also features seniors Collin Bradley, Jackson Harms and Kevonn Rayford.
The Raiders finished 4-0-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division to capture their first league championship since winning the first two OCC titles in program history in 2001 and 2002. Coach Tony Labudovski was a key player both of those seasons.
Reynoldsburg tied Pickerington North at 1 on Oct. 3, but the Panthers also tied Grove City by the same score Oct. 10 to settle for a runner-up finish at 3-0-2 in the league.
"The whole month of September, we didn't lose a game," Labudovski said. "We feel confident. One of our goals was to win the OCC and (it's) good for this program."
Reynoldsburg went 9-4-6 last season and reached a district semifinal, but its offense has been more productive this fall.
After being shut out five times and scoring 25 goals last season, the Raiders had 46 goals heading into the tournament and had not been shut out.
Senior forward Nick Wallace scored both goals against Lancaster and had 21 in the regular season.
Reynoldsburg's only regular-season loss came Aug. 29 when it fell 3-1 to Upper Arlington, which earned the 11th seed in the district.
The Raiders received the 12th seed. If they beat Independence, they'll play host to 14th-seeded New Albany or 16th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in the second round Thursday, Oct. 17, with the winner to play eighth-seeded Olentangy Orange, 47th-seeded Columbus West or 48th-seeded Zanesville in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the better seed.
"I didn't expect this season to go as well as it has been," Frydl said. "This defense is (outstanding). They're organized, they listen to each other. When we've needed players, they've stepped up big."
Runners set to begin postseason
The boys and girls cross country teams are preparing for Division I district competition Saturday, Oct. 19, at Hilliard Darby.
The boys are in district 3 and the girls are in district 2. The top six teams and top 24 individuals in both races advance to the regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
On Oct. 12 in the OCC-Ohio meet at Lancaster, the boys finished fifth (110) behind North (33), Gahanna (36), Lancaster (78) and Pickerington Central (104) and ahead of Grove City (173). The girls also were fifth (112), behind Gahanna (40), Lancaster (47), North (76) and Central (92) and ahead of Grove City (172).
Junior Seth Davis led the boys with an eighth-place finish (16 minutes, 49.7 seconds), followed by senior Wendesen King (12th, 17:07.1), juniors Mars Davis (21st, 17:23.1), Mekhi Dejarnette (44th, 18:41.4) and Dominic Sabo (45th, 18:43.3), senior Grant Boone (49th, 19:37.5) and sophomore Andy Potter (51st, 20:07.8).
"Seth Davis and Mars Davis are kind of chasing (King) in practice, so it's really helped them out in their training that we've had three guys in the (16-minute range), which has been big for us," coach Bill Crane said.
Junior Avril Moyer is a two-time regional qualifier who turned in a runner-up finish (19:39.5) in the girls league meet, followed by junior Kristin Sheets (21st, 21:45.8), sophomore Abby Robinson (25th, 22:05.2) and juniors Alyse Powell (39th, 23:46.4) and Macy Thompson (42nd, 23:52.7).
"Avril Moyer has been taking some huge steps up," Crane said. "Right now everybody in the program this year has dropped significant time."
Boykins closes season at district
Junior Jamison Boykins of the boys golf team had his season end at the Division I district tournament, his first appearance at that level.
On Oct. 8 at Apple Valley, Boykins shot 78 to tie for 26th as Westerville Central's Josh Qian and Pickerington North's Carson Bellish each carded 70 to earn the district's two individual berths to state.
Boykins shot 42 on the front 9 but came back with a 36 on the back.
"I played pretty well on the back 9," he said. "It was pretty cool (to be at district). It was intense. I will be grinding in the offseason."
Boykins averaged 80.25 during the four rounds of the OCC-Ohio tournament to earn second-team all-league honors. The Raiders went 0-20 to finish sixth behind champion Pickerington Central (16-4).
Boykins qualified for district by shooting 75 in a sectional Oct. 2 at Turnberry, tying for third overall.
"(Boykins) started making some putts," coach Scott Brewer said. "Putting on the back 9 made the difference (at district). I think in the future when he gets here again next year, just starting the round off by being more confident (will help him)."
The Raiders lose just one key player to graduation in Spencer Daugherty.
Sophomores Evan Litton and Alex Perez averaged 104.5 and 105, respectively, in the league tournament, but Perez turned in a 91 and Litton had a 99 at sectional.
Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 16 -- Played 23rd-seeded Dublin Scioto in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner visits 15th-seeded Olentangy Berlin in second round Oct. 19. Winner plays eighth-seeded New Albany, 24th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 36th-seeded Whetstone in district semifinal Oct. 23 at home of better seed. The Raiders are seeded 22nd.
Oct. 16 -- Played seventh-seeded Scioto or 42nd-seeded Northland in second round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays 10th-seeded Gahanna, 23rd-seeded Dublin Jerome or 25th-seeded Delaware in district semifinal Oct. 22 at Central Crossing. The Raiders are seeded 29th.