Columbus Academy girls soccer coach Matt Thompson consoled each player following his team's 4-2 loss to Cincinnati Country Day in a Division III state semifinal Nov. 5 at Xenia.
Thompson thanked the three seniors for their contributions to the program and told the underclassmen to focus on the future.
Playing in their first state tournament, the Vikings fell behind 3-0 in the first half and could not recover to finish 16-4-2 overall.
Senior forward/midfielder Annalise Grammel and junior forward/midfielder Katie Schiano scored, and sophomore goalkeeper Sophie Spolter had 11 saves.
"It was an unbelievable season," Thompson said. "I told them regardless of what happens (Nov. 5) give everything that you have and then we walk off with our heads high.
"There's so much to be proud of, and that doesn't make the hurt go away. Over time it will feel pretty good."
Thompson credited the seniors for helping the Vikings reach the state tournament.
"They have done so much for the program and for their teammates," he said. "They're a special group. ... They've set the bar high for future classes."
Academy earned its first state berth with a 2-0 win over MSL- Ohio Division rival Zanesville Rosecrans in a regional final Nov. 2 at Coshocton.
The Vikings defeated Grandview, another league rival, 1-0 in a district final Oct. 26 at New Albany.
Academy won the MSL-Ohio title at 8-0 and turned in a solid defensive performance all season, allowing just 14 goals.
Senior defender Sarah Neltner was a key contributor behind that effort and was named league Player of the Year.
Schiano led the team in scoring with 14 goals and three assists and was first-team all-league. Grammel had four goals and 13 assists and was first-team all-league.
Spolter, who had 97 saves, and senior midfielder/defender Emma Belford were second-team all-league. Junior defender Hannah Clay and sophomore forward/midfielder Aniah Crockett were honorable mention all-league.
Another key returnee should be junior forward Olivia Archibald, who had 12 goals and two assists.
Thompson was named league Coach of the Year.
Others expected to return are juniors Allison Bergman, Ashwini Gunawardena and Maggie Walther, sophomores Zora Brown, Evie Gee, Liesel Goldfarb, Kennedy Jackson, Isabella Kaswinkel, Mary Kate Prall, Isabel Robeano, Diana Ulbrich and Emma Yakam and freshmen Claire Cahall, Jasmine Evans, Georgia Gross, Adelaide Kaufman, Noel Sedlock and Feesha Slootsky.
Boys soccer team falls in state semi
The boys soccer team also reached the state tournament, losing to Tipp City Tippecanoe 1-0 in a Division II semifinal Nov. 6 at London to finish 13-4-5 overall.
Junior goalie Luke Budzik had six saves.
"They did everything I thought they would do and we did everything I thought we could do," coach Ron Leach said. "We played extremely well (Nov. 6). Our game plan was solid. We tried to sneak a ball through a couple of times, and we knew they were going to be very physical and come at us."
Senior Sam Massick, who previously played for Crew SC Academy and was in his first season with the Vikings, led the team in scoring with 33 goals and 14 assists. He was named first-team all-district and all-league.
Senior defender Charlie Mueller also was first-team all-district and all-league. He had three goals and six assists.
"Charlie was the glue in the backfield," said Leach, whose team loses nine seniors. "That's going to be a tough one to lose."
Junior midfielder Jonah Houston, who had three goals and 14 assists, was second-team all-league and third-team all-district.
"Everyone doubted us from the beginning and I couldn't have asked to go out with a better group of guys," Houston said. "We made it this far. We made it to (the state tournament). It's all we wanted."
Junior defender Jared Kass was second-team all-league and seniors Blake Chiovaro (forward) and Elias Marquez (midfielder) were honorable mention all-league. Chiovaro had seven goals and four assists.
The Vikings went 2-1-3 in the MSL-Ohio to finish third behind co-champions Wellington and Worthington Christian (4-0-2).
Others expected to return are juniors Finn Cassady (defender), Grant Edwards (midfielder), Campbell Gwin (defender), Sonari Hart (defender) and Ebube Nwoke (midfielder), sophomores Max Popp (midfielder), David Wunsch (midfielder) and Zach White (midfielder) and freshmen Gabe Eribo (midfielder), Jonah Hara (defender) and Leo Kass (forward).
"The kids should be really proud of themselves," Leach said. "This was a great journey for us. Getting to (the state tournament) and battling hard and being proud of their play, that's what it's all about."