Second-year coach Ricky Konkolewski witnessed the potential of his Westerville North girls soccer team in a 1-0 loss at Olentangy Orange on Oct. 10 in a showdown for the OCC-Buckeye Division title.
The Warriors missed out on their first league championship since 1999, but Konkolewski saw what he needed to see from his team heading into the Division I district tournament.
"We showed in that game that we could play with anyone in the state," said Konko-lewski, whose team finished 3-2 in the league as Orange went 5-0.
"Orange is one of the best defensive teams we'll see in the state. When it's all said and done, (the Orange game) was for the OCC, but it also was a good atmosphere and a good litmus test for the postseason."
The Warriors enter the postseason as the fourth seed and at 12-3-1 overall, their best record since going 12-4-3 in 2009. With a victory over 44th-seeded Franklin Heights on Saturday, Oct. 19, in a second-round game, they would have their best record since going 16-4-2 in 2002. That season, North lost to Dublin Coffman 3-1 in a district final.
Konkolewski said the Warriors have a chance to win their first district championship since 2007.
"Coming from a team that was the 20th seed last year, it's outstanding (to be the fourth seed)," he said. "Our goal has been to be a district champion, which means you are one of the top four teams. We're going into (the postseason) seeded for that."
Goalkeeper Abby Markley had seven saves against Orange. She is enthused about what lies ahead.
"We really deserved to be up there (in terms of seeding) as hard as we have worked and by getting our 12th win," she said. "We need to take each game step by step and focus on what's in front of us. We need to keep our heads in the game and be mentally prepared."
With a win over Franklin Heights, the Warriors would advance to a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at home against 11th-seeded Grove City, 12th-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 42nd-seeded Westland.
"I don't think there's a tougher conference in the state (than the OCC-Buckeye)," Konkolewski said. "For us to be hanging with those teams and beating each other up, it's soccer at its best. There are great players and a lot of emotion in these games."
Cross country teams prepare for district
The boys and girls cross country teams will compete in the Division I district meet Saturday, Oct. 19, at Hilliard Darby.
The girls are in district 2 and the boys are in district 3. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Paige Miracle (ninth, 20 minutes, 1.1 seconds) led the girls in the OCC-Buckeye meet Oct. 12 at Davidson, as the Warriors finished fourth (118 points) behind champion Olentangy Liberty (38).
Also scoring were Audrey Smith (21st, 20:39.2), Amanda Cooper (28th, 20:53.2), Emily Widman (37th, 21:31.1) and Hannah Hutto (38th, 21:33.6).
The boys finished sixth (152) behind champion Orange (32) as Isaiah Hutcherson (18th, 17:00.3), Andrew Bracken (29th, 17:38.8), Dillon Lauer (33rd, 17:48.9), Robert Houser (50th, 18:42.9) and Owen DeTemple (51st, 18:45.0) scored.
Boys soccer team begins district play
The boys soccer team opened the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 at home against 26th-seeded Darby.
The 18th-seeded Warriors entered the game at 8-5-3 overall.
The winner plays 13th-seeded Dublin Coffman or 51st-seeded Briggs on Saturday, Oct. 19, in the second round at the home of the better seed. North tied Coffman at 1 on Sept. 3.
The district semifinal is Tuesday, Oct. 22, against fifth-seeded Dublin Scioto, sixth-seeded Davidson or 28th-seeded Canal Winchester at the home of the better seed. The Warriors defeated Canal Winchester 4-0 on Sept. 26.
Jacob Gruber scored as the Warriors ended the regular season with a 3-1 loss to Orange to finish 0-4-1 in OCC-Buckeye play.
Girls volleyball team starts postseason
The girls volleyball team defeated 35th-seeded Whetstone 25-14, 25-19, 25-7 at home Oct. 14 in the first round of the Division I district tournament against. The 31st-seeded Warriors improved to 6-17.
North played top-seeded Orange on Oct. 16 in the second round, and that winner advanced to a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Central Crossing against 18th-seeded Canal Winchester, 24th-seeded Pickerington Central or 39th-seeded Briggs.