The Worthington Kilbourne boys soccer team scored two first-half goals on its way to a 4-1 win over seventh-seeded Dublin Jerome in a Division I district final Oct. 26 at Olentangy Berlin to capture its first district title since 2011.
The Wolves, who were the top seed in the district, were 16-0-3 before playing St. Charles in a regional semifinal Oct. 30 at Westerville Central. The winner faces Olentangy Liberty or Westerville Central in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 2, at a site to be determined.
The regional champion will play Cincinnati St. Xavier, Cincinnati Moeller, Liberty Township Lakota East or Cincinnati Elder in a state semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 6, at a neutral site. The state final is Nov. 10 at Mapfre Stadium.
"The Central District keeps getting larger and more difficult," coach Jon Sprunger said. "To be one of four (district champions) out of 52 (teams in the district) is a great accomplishment, but we're not done yet."
Matt Kott and Keegan Smith scored first-half goals and Jimmy Sauder and Ethan Nestingen each scored in the second half against Jerome. Goalkeeper Tyler Katz had two saves.
Kilbourne had plenty of motivation entering the district tournament after missing out on the OCC-Cardinal Division title. The Wolves went 4-0-3 (15 points) in the league to place second behind Dublin Scioto (5-1-1, 16 points).
Sprunger told his team before the game against Jerome to "make it right" and that beating the Celtics would "make your season," and the Wolves responded.
Kilbourne and Jerome had played to a 1-all tie in league action Aug. 27.
"All of us wanted to get revenge," Sauder said. "This season has been our revenge tour because last year we lost to Scioto in (a district semifinal) and this season we beat them 4-1 (in league play Sept. 17). We tied (Jerome) earlier this season and came back again and beat them 4-1, so we just have that revenge mentality."
Two boys runners, girls team reach state
The girls cross country team placed third (158 points) of 17 teams at the Division I regional meet Oct. 26 at Pickerington North, behind Hilliard Davidson (36) and Thomas (149), to advance to state Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals at regional qualified for state. It will be the Wolves' first state appearance as a team.
"I have to say we were very surprised and happy," coach Katie Scocozzo said. "We were hoping for fifth place and we ended up third and pretty close to second. I couldn't be happier."
Senior Sasha Bomser led the Wolves, placing ninth of 130 runners in 18 minutes, 58.3 seconds. Her sister, freshman Toby Bomser, finished 12th (19:07).
"Sasha has run strong for four years and she's definitely brought it together this year racing with her sister, who has been right by her side the whole season," Scocozzo said. "Toby is a really strong runner and we hope to see her running with us again the next three years."
Also scoring were sophomore Riley Tate (33rd, 19:55.6), freshman Evelyn Ambler (67th, 20:36.9) and junior Sylvia Long (70th, 20:38.1).
"I think (Tate) dropped almost a minute since last year, getting under 20 minutes, and that has really helped our team a lot," Scocozzo said. "... I think (Ambler) started the season somewhere around 23 minutes. She has come a long way since the beginning of the season. Sylvia has dropped almost a minute since last year."
The boys team will be represented at state by seniors Tanner Williams and John Cuozzo, who placed fourth (15:54.9) and 11th (16:14.9), respectively, out of 125 runners at regional.
The Wolves finished 14th (256) of 16 teams, behind champion Gahanna (100).
Sophomore Luke Miller (79th, 17:26.5), senior Gabe Knuth (93rd, 17:40.1) and junior Will Bartram (110th, 18:07) also scored for the Wolves.
Season ends for girls volleyball team
The 13th-seeded girls volleyball team started slow and couldn't recover in a 25-21, 25-15, 21-25, 25-20 loss to eighth-seeded Hartley in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 22 at Whitehall.
"We just didn't come prepared to play," coach Meladee Hopkins said. "We were playing scared and we didn't play with confidence."
The Wolves finished 17-7 a year after going 22-4, winning the OCC-Cardinal title and reaching a district final.
"Nobody expected us to be as good as we are," said Hopkins, whose team had lost seven players from last season to graduation. "We've got a couple of spots where we've got to fill some holes (for next season), but we've got a lot of kids coming back."
The Wolves again are losing seven seniors, including outside hitter Olivia Karhoff (202 digs, 170 kills, 21 aces), setter Ellie Ishida (321 assists, 16 aces) and libero Olivia Cheung (129 digs).
Among the players expected to return are junior middle hitters Lauren Bair (235 digs, 112 kills, 102 blocks, 19 aces) and Lily Podolan (158 kills, 49 blocks), junior setter Grace Cummings (268 assists, 106 kills), sophomore outside hitter Zeynep Yildez (288 digs, 189 kills, 52 aces) and junior defensive specialist Morgan Beals (125 digs, 27 aces).
Bair was named first-team all-league, Karhoff and Yildez were second-team all-league and Podolan was honorable mention.
Boys water polo team finishes 13th at state
The boys water polo team lost its first two games in the 14-team state tournament held Oct. 25 at Cincinnati Princeton and Mason but won its finale to finish 13th.
The 10th-seeded Wolves opened with a 13-8 loss to third-seeded Cincinnati Sycamore and fell to eighth-seeded Napoleon 7-4 before beating 12th-seeded Sylvania 18-5 to finish 12-19 on the season.
"Kilbourne played really well," coach Rick Yurich said. "It broke my heart that they lost that second game. We had chances to take the lead early, but Sycamore was a slightly better team than us. Napoleon, we were absolutely the better team, but their goalie played the game of his life and we couldn't put the ball in the goal."
At state, junior Andrew Winget had nine goals, five assists and three steals, senior Mitchell Fisher had eight goals, six steals and four assists, senior Matt Gerold had five assists and four steals and junior goalie Jake Tefund had 27 saves.
Winget finished the season with 84 goals, 56 steals and 38 assists, Fisher had 63 goals, 44 steals and 34 assists and Gerold added 42 goals, 26 assists and 25 steals. Junior Drew Harvey added 12 goals, 25 assists and 35 steals and Tefend had 285 saves.
Senior Thomas Rzymek (25 steals, 25 assists, 14 goals) is another key loss for Kilbourne.
Other expected returnees include a group of first-year players in junior Riley Najera, sophomore Conor O'Brien and freshmen Nathan Ambler and Christopher Richner.
"I love our new players," Yurich said. "All those guys are going to be so much better next year. They were good for (being) first-year players, but I'm excited for their future as well as our three returning juniors. But we need to add more people to the team next year."