Strong team chemistry helped the Worthington Christian boys soccer squad reach a Division III district final and earn a share of the MSL-Ohio Division championship this season.
The top-seeded Warriors lost to fourth-seeded Grandview 3-2 in two overtimes in a district final Oct. 26 at Olentangy Orange to finish 13-2-4 overall.
Worthington Christian went 4-0-2 in the MSL-Ohio to share the league title with Wellington.
"They played their hearts out (against Grandview)," coach Dan Roads said. "We had an incredible season. Throughout the entire season, if you look at the successes we had, we won the MSL championship and you do all of these great things. It stings a lot when we taste it and (the district championship) doesn't happen, but we're going to be ready for next year.
"We have some great, great juniors, a great junior class and a great senior class. Those groups have jelled really well together. We've never had a problem bringing the classes together. We have a great mix and they're all exceptional guys."
The Warriors beat fifth-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek 5-1 on Oct. 23 in a district semifinal behind four goals by junior midfielder Tyler Kindberg.
Against Grandview, Kindberg and junior midfielder Levi Yoder each scored, but the Bobcats scored the winning goal with 10 minutes, 56 seconds left in the second overtime.
"We worked so hard the whole season," Kindberg said. "From the start, the (district final) is where we knew we wanted to get to. I've seen huge improvements from last year to this year out of our junior class. These guys have definitely worked on their games."
Senior defender David Rettstatt and Kindberg both were named first-team all-league. Senior midfielder Bryce Lawrence, junior midfielder Trent Wenger and Yoder made the second team and senior forwards Jeremy Owusu-Sarfo and Jodi Owusu-Sarfo both were honorable mention.
Junior goalkeeper Ethan Kraynak should be another key returnee.
Others eligible to return include juniors Will Cain (def-ender), Scott Ruane (defender) and Zach Thomas (midfielder), sophomores Tommy Anthony (forward), Cam Broadfoot (midfielder), Caleb Denorme (goalie), Kael Oosterbahn (midfielder) and Grant Woodfin (defender) and freshman Matt Yorder (defender).
The Warriors have been to a district final in each of Roads' 12 seasons as coach.
"We've been playing really well together and we've got really good depth on our bench, so if one of our starters comes out, we can play one of our subs," Wenger said.
Volleyball team had strong season
After finishing 8-14 last season, the girls volleyball team improved to 20-4 overall and won the MSL-Ohio championship this season with a 12-0 mark under first-year coach Chelsea Meyers.
The fifth-seeded Warriors had their season end with a 25-13, 25-8, 25-14 loss to third-seeded Johnstown in a Division III district semifinal Oct. 23 at Mount Vernon Nazarene.
"I'm so pleased with how the season went overall," Meyers said. "I honestly didn't expect that my first season coaching would go as well as it did. I was just really lucky to have such an incredible group of girls who love to work hard and compete. The thing I was most impressed with was the mental game of our girls. Since the girls really supported and loved each other, it was easy for them to band together and compete as one unit."
Gabi Burford (setter), Isabelle Gilham (right-side hitter), Jenna Kray (middle hitter) and Maddie Patrick (outside hitter) comprised the senior class. All four were key players, and Kray was the team's leader in kills.
Juniors Claire Dalton (defensive specialist), Libby Dalton (setter/right-side hitter), Alyssa Frumkin (middle hitter/outside hitter) and Mary Lake (outside hitter) and freshmen Liv Fenstermaker (libero) and Abby Urbancic (defensive specialist) also played key roles.
Also eligible to return is sophomore middle hitter Anna Schwartz.
"Although we are losing some major players with our seniors, I'm excited to see our younger players step up next year," Meyers said. "Our defensive specialists will continue to be a solid foundation for our success next year."
Girls soccer team losing five seniors
Over the last four seasons, the girls soccer team has had a combined record of 47-12-15 with two Division III district runner-up finishes.
Midfielder Lillia Bishop and forwards Mianna Hartings and Eliana Styer were among the seniors who played key roles for the Warriors, who were seeded third in this year's district tournament and lost to top-seeded Grandview 3-0 in a district semifinal Oct. 22 to finish 11-5-3 overall.
"Overall, I was pleased with the season," coach Steve Raikes said. "The effort and physicality were there, but we struggled with consistency in our style of play and finishing at times. (It was) a good group of ladies to be around. While we had a few poor games at the beginning of the season, the defense was a nice surprise."
Worthington Christian went 1-2-1 in its first four games but went on to post five shutouts and tie Buckeye Valley for third in the nine-team MSL-Ohio at 4-3-1, behind champion Columbus Academy (8-0).
Hartings finished with 12 goals and Styer scored nine as both were named first-team all-league.
The top returnee next season should be junior Riley Myers, who scored 18 goals and was first-team all-league. Junior defender Emma Sanders was second-team all-league and Bishop, junior goalie Alex Friedman, sophomore defender Keaton Cox and sophomore forward Paige Tomallo were honorable mention all-league.
Others eligible to return include juniors Erin Davidson (forward), Faith Kray (midfielder), Maya Kurzenknabe (midfielder) and Elia Raikes (defender), sophomores Blessing King (defender), Paige Tomallo (forward) and Abby Windsor (midfielder) and freshman Maria Klausman (defender).