It was a difficult end to a stellar season for the Olentangy Orange girls soccer team.
The Pioneers won the OCC-Buckeye Division championship as well as their first district title, but they fell short of their first state semifinal appearance by losing to Dublin Coffman 3-2 in two overtimes in a Division I regional final Nov. 2 at Westerville Central.
The loss stung, but third-year coach Tim Lawrence said his team would not be defined by the setback.
"This is the best season Orange girls soccer has ever had, so we can't complain," said Lawrence, whose team finished 15-3-4 overall. "We were so close, and our girls fought back."
Simone Rivard-Roberts scored the game-winner for Coffman with 10 minutes, 13 seconds left in the second overtime.
The Shamrocks jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Pioneers tied the game on first-half goals by senior midfielder Sophia Leonetti and sophomore midfielder Secora Johnson. Junior goalkeeper Amanda Poorbaugh had five saves.
Junior forward Morgan Scott scored twice and sophomore forward Camryn Earl added a goal as Orange defeated Marysville 3-0 in a regional semifinal Oct. 30 at Dublin Jerome.
In a district final Oct. 26 at Jerome, the third-seeded Pioneers beat sixth-seeded Watterson 2-0.
Orange went 5-0 in the OCC-Buckeye to win its second title in three seasons. Senior midfielder Grace Poorbaugh (4 goals, 3 assists) was league Player of the Year.
Senior defender Payton Kaufman and Leonetti (team-leading 12 goals, 4 assists) both were first-team all-league, and senior defender Keeley Galloway was second-team all-league.
"The seniors led this group, and they took us where we were," Lawrence said. "They were non-stop, and they were never going to let this team fail. I think a lot of the credit goes to them. They did everything they could."
Amanda Poorbaugh (second-team all-league; 84 saves) is a Penn State recruit. Other top returnees should include junior forwards Scott (9 goals, 2 assist) and Hannah Heald (4 goals, 2 assists), sophomore forwards Earl (7 goals, 5 assists), Abby Faulkner (honorable mention all-league; 2 goals, 3 assists) and Maia Kaufman (second-team all-league; 8 goals, 4 assists), Johnson (3 goals, 3 assists) and sophomore defender Ava Musgrove (special mention all-league).
"We have a nice core coming back and hopefully this can set the tone for future years," Lawrence said. "We have great players and we should keep moving forward."
Girls volleyball team loses in regional final
The girls volleyball team reached a Division I regional final for the second consecutive season but again fell short of reaching a state semifinal, losing to DeSales 27-25, 25-16, 26-28, 25-22 on Nov. 2 at Worthington Kilbourne to finish 22-5 overall.
Junior outside hitter London Davis led the Pioneers with 19 kills and three blocks, and sophomore outside hitter Molly Shomock had 10 kills and four blocks. Sophomore setter Hanna Borer had 34 assists, junior defensive specialist Addie Evans had 28 digs, senior defensive specialist Maya Hendricks had 25 digs and junior defensive specialist Abby Deshazo had three aces.
"We never gave up and we were able to fight back and win the third game," coach Katie Duy said. "DeSales has a few good seniors who were able to take over when they needed it."
Orange defeated Liberty 25-15, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22 in a regional semifinal Oct. 31 at Kilbourne.
In the district tournament, the top-seeded Pioneers defeated 14th-seeded Grove City 25-14, 25-21, 25-17 on Oct. 26 at Central Crossing to win their fourth title in a row.
Orange also won its first outright league champion-ship, going 10-0 in the OCC-Buckeye.
The senior class featured Hendricks (174 digs, team-high 42 aces), defensive specialist Nina Marin (150 digs, 35 aces) and right-side hitter Madison Moll (second-team all-league; 144 kills).
"We had our highest win total in my five years with 22 wins, we won the OCC for the first time outright and won our fourth district title," Duy said. "This is our most successful season by far, and (the seniors) were a big part of it."
Davis, a Kansas recruit, was district co-Player of the Year and first-team all-league. She had a team-high 254 kills and 32 blocks.
Borer (first-team all-district and all-league) led the Pioneers with 688 assists and had 178 digs and 41 aces. Evans (honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league) led with 372 digs and had 40 aces.
Junior middle blocker Tazmin Appiah (honorable mention all-league) had 128 kills and 37 blocks. Junior middle blocker Arianna Jackson led with 38 blocks and had 114 kills, and Shomock added 135 kills.
"We have a lot of experience and a lot of good kids coming back," Duy said. "They have been to back-to-back regional finals and that should help a lot going forward."
Benecke, Kenish lead runners at state meet
A pair of seniors led the boys and girls cross country teams in the Division I state meet Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
Senior Alex Kenish finished 78th (16 minutes, 33.3 seconds) for the boys, who placed 18th (370 points) of 20 teams behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (92).
Senior Brant Yocum (105th, 16:46.8), sophomore Bryan King (118th, 16:51.5), junior Jake Ethridge (123rd, 16:54.3), senior Cody Moore (154th, 17:14.1) and juniors Cole Benishek (169th, 17:27.6) and Lincoln Weber (185th, 17:57.3) also participated.
Senior Paige Benecke (65th, 19:27.2) led the girls, who finished 20th (442) behind champion Beavercreek (51).
Sophomores Corinne Hazel (110th, 19:54.9) and Abby Schroff (135th, 20:16.9), junior Media Patria (163rd, 21:13.3), seniors Olivia Dieckmann (165th, 21:18.3) and Allison Clifford (171st, 21:35.6) and freshman Lainey Garling (173rd, 21:51.8) also competed.
In the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Oct. 12 at Hilliard Davidson, the boys won their second consecutive league title with 32 points as runner-up Liberty had 42. The girls were runners-up to Liberty by one point, 38-39.