The experience gained from losing in back-to-back district semifinals paid off for the Dublin Coffman girls soccer team in its first Division I district championship run since finishing as the state runner-up in 2014.
The top-seeded Shamrocks beat eighth-seeded New Albany 3-0 in a district final Oct. 26 at Westerville North to improve to 13-1-5.
Coffman played Westerville North in a regional semifinal Oct. 29 at Westerville Central, with the winner facing Marysville or Olentangy Orange in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 2, at a site to be announced.
"Our main emphasis was playing as a team and working together," senior forward Simone Rivard-Roberts said. "We knew mistakes would happen and we had to push through. A lot of us have been here a long (time) and it's always been our goal to get really far."
The regional champion plays West Chester Lakota West, Cincinnati Seton, Loveland or Beavercreek in a state semifinal Tuesday, Nov. 5, at a site to be announced, with the state final slated for Nov. 9 at Mapfre Stadium.
"Our team this year is full of experienced and younger players who are extremely eager to play," coach Costa Kalorides said. "That type of mix creates a high level and talented training environment that allows our players to compete and further develop as soccer players."
Coffman beat 25th-seeded Westerville Central 1-0 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 when Rivard-Roberts scored a minute into the second half off a pass from Kinsey Crabtree that she got from Lara Schober.
Then in the district final, Rivard-Roberts scored with 16 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first half, Addie Vaccari added a goal a short time later and Coffman benefited from an own goal with 21:17 remaining.
Coffman's only loss through 19 games came against Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, 1-0 on Aug. 24. Walsh Jesuit also was a district champion.
The Shamrocks beat Orange 2-0 on Aug. 27, North 4-1 on Sept. 3 and Marysville 7-0 on Sept. 24.
Beavercreek, which won last year's state title, was 19-0 and took a 43-game winning streak into its regional semifinal against Loveland on Oct. 29. Loveland was 15-3 entering that contest.
Lakota West was 18-0-2 and Seton was 13-3-2 entering their regional semifinal that same night.
Dediu preps for state cross country meet
Senior Alex Dediu of the boys cross country team will make his second appearance at the Division I state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
At regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North, Dediu ran 16 minutes, 0.1 seconds to finish fifth as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.
Dediu finished 114th (17:02.9) at state in 2017 but didn't advance out of district last year.
"I was (at state) my sophomore year, but I ended up getting sick last year at district, so I'm glad to be healthy and I don't feel burned out at all," Dediu said. "I feel like I've been saving everything for state."
Coffman finished 11th (244 points) in the 16-team regional, behind champion Gahanna (100).
Dediu stayed in the front pack for most of the regional race. Pickerington North's Matt Duvall (15:33.8) won the title for the second year in a row and Jerome's Elliott Cook placed second (15:49.6).
"I knew Elliott and Matt were going to go out hard and break away, so I latched on pretty early and paid the price a little bit in the second half," Dediu said. "We were running five-wide going into the woods."
Also competing for the Shamrocks were sophomore Noah Clemens (60th, 17:10.4), freshman Liam Shaughnessy (61st, 17:13.6), senior Shashwat Rao (77th, 17:24.9), junior Ryan Loynes (84th, 17:31.3), sophomore Isaac Frank (100th, 17:48.6) and senior Colin Gagne (107th, 18:02.6).
The girls team finished seventh (207) in the 17-team regional meet, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (36).
Junior Abigail Scherer finished 32nd (19:54) to lead the Shamrocks. She was followed by senior Emma Niswonger (41st, 20:14.3), freshmen Olivia Oiler (51st, 20:22.5), Bailey Morris (62nd, 20:32.5), Alexis Marsico (65th, 20:34.8) and Morgan Halli (81st, 20:47.9) and sophomore Kendal Starr (83rd, 20:48.8).
Boys soccer team falls in district semi
The 13th-seeded boys soccer team had its run of eight consecutive Division I district championships end with a 3-0 loss to fifth-seeded Scioto in a district semifinal Oct. 22.
Coffman, which finished 10-8-1, is losing 10 seniors, led by Hussein Ali (defender), John Fuchik (forward), Connor DesRoches (midfielder), David Urrea Partida (midfielder) and Cade Williams (midfielder).
"We're losing three or four seniors from the starting lineup," coach Brian Stoddard said. "We have a large group of talented juniors next year, including seven or eight starters, along with a number of guys who saw significant playing time off the bench this year who'll be able to step into full-time starting roles nicely. In addition, we have a number of underclassmen, both from the current varsity team as well as some guys from the (junior varsity) squad, who will either be starters or challenge for significant playing time in 2020."
Juniors Trent McConnaughey (goalkeeper), Braden Shoaf (midfielder), Roshan Singri (midfielder) and Ryan Sommerfeld (forward) should be among the top returnees.
Others eligible to return include juniors Jack Bailey (forward), Felipe Flores Cruz (midfielder), Sean Gore (defender), Jered Harper (goalie) and Lucas Sarver (defender), sophomores Alex Anderson (defender) and Soshi Tanaka (forward) and freshman Andre Roberts (midfielder).