Notebook: St. Charles soccer team pleased to make it through season

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Junior forward Kellen Karas, right, is among the top players expected to return for the St. Charles soccer team. The Cardinals finished 13-4-2 and won their third consecutive CCL championship.

Fifth-year coach Chris Vonau and the players on the St. Charles soccer team weren’t pleased that they came up short in an effort to win the program's fourth Division I district championship in five seasons, but that was only part of the picture.

When the eighth-seeded Cardinals lost to 11th-seeded Thomas Worthington 3-1 in a district semifinal Oct. 29 at home, they were able to find solace in making it through a season that had more hurdles than any other.

The team started practice Aug. 1 along with most programs in the state, but had its season stopped Aug. 17 when school officials announced the suspension of athletics because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. That decision was reversed three days later and the Cardinals were able to continue a season that had been in doubt.

“I think to be honest, we were thankful that we got to have a season,” said Vonau, whose team finished 13-4-2 overall. “We’re disappointed to be done, but you could see the visible sigh of relief of playing 19 games in a six-week period and the toll it took on everyone.

“It wasn’t what we expected or wanted. We were disappointed, but we were still appreciative that we were able to get through it.”

The Cardinals won their third consecutive CCL championship, going 4-0 to finish ahead of runner-up DeSales (3-1).

St. Charles had a small senior class in forward Danny Marino (second-team all-league; 7 goals, 6 assists), defenders Joe Roberts (first-team all-league) and Brady Westin (first-team all-league) and midfielder Brady West (second-team all-district, first-team all-league; 8 goals, 11 assists).

The Cardinals expect to return their leading scorer in junior midfielder Gabe O’Reilly, who had nine goals and six assists and was first-team all-district and all-league. Junior forward Thomas Hohmann had seven goals and four assists.

Sophomore goalie Charley Valachovic (second-team all-league) had nine shutouts.

Junior forwards Kellen Karas, Yannick Lambe and Will Saas, sophomore defenders Connor Morgan and Colin Sullivan and freshman midfielder Eli Bush are other key players expected to return.

“We have four graduating, and we have a lot coming back,” Vonau said. “We expect that we are going to be good next year.”

Olivia Mitchell was one of seven seniors on the Bexley girls soccer team, which reached its first district final since 2013 and won its first league championship since 2011.

•The Bexley girls soccer team reached its first district final since 2013 and won its first league championship since 2011 despite bouts with injury and the coronavirus.

The third-seeded Lions lost to fifth-seeded Hartley 2-1 in overtime in a Division II district final Oct. 31 at home to finish 10-4-2 overall. They were playing without one of their top scorers in senior forward Aly Cox, who suffered a knee injury in a 1-0 loss Oct. 17 to Gahanna in the regular-season finale. They also played without three players who were in quarantine after coming in contact with people who tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We overcame a lot of challenges with the COVID restriction and other things thrown at us throughout the season,” second-year coach Scott James said. “It was nice to see the seniors show great leadership and help us do things that we haven’t done in a while like win the league and reach a district final.”

Senior midfielder Maddy Young scored for the Lions against Hartley. In 2013, Bexley defeated DeSales 2-0 in a district final before losing to Granville 4-1 in a regional semifinal.

Bexley went 6-1-1 in the MSL-Ohio. In 2011, the Lions tied Columbus Academy and Granville for the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio title at 7-1.

Cox (first-team all-district and all-league; 8 goals, 3 assists), defender Lauren Fournier (honorable mention all-league), defender Sammi Nack (second-team all-league) and Young led a seven-player senior class.

Junior forward Grace Heilman (first-team all-district and all-league) led the team with 11 goals and eight assists, and freshman forward Isabel Niermeyer (second-team all-league) had six goals and six assists. Junior forward Ava Joseph (honorable mention all-league) and sophomore forward Sofie Sheridan (second-team all-league) both had four goals and three assists.

Junior midfielder Sydney Tyler had two goals and four assists, and junior goalie Katie Jude had 52 saves and seven shutouts.

Junior defender Lillian Hoyer and sophomore midfielder Molly O’Dell are other key players expected to return.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

BEXLEY GIRLS SOCCER

Record: 10-4-2 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Bexley (6-1-1), Worthington Christian and Grandview (both 5-1-2), Columbus Academy (4-3-1), Columbus School for Girls and Wellington (both 3-2-3), Buckeye Valley (2-4-2), Zanesville Rosecrans (1-7), Whitehall (0-8)

Seniors lost: Brooke Cowan, Aly Cox, Lauren Fournier, Olivia Mitchell, Sammi Nack, Maddy Young and Camila Melgar Zubieta

Key returnees: Grace Heilman, Lillian Hoyer, Ava Joseph, Katie Jude, Isabel Niermeyer, Molly O’Dell, Sofie Sheridan and Sydney Tyler

Postseason: Defeated Hamilton Township 7-0; def. Worthington Christian 2-0; lost to Hartley 2-1 (OT) in Division II district final

ST. CHARLES SOCCER

Record: 13-4-2 overall

CCL standings: St. Charles (4-0), DeSales (3-1), Watterson (2-2), Hartley (1-3), Ready (0-4)

Seniors lost: Danny Marino, Joe Roberts, Brady West and Brady Westin

Key returnees: Eli Bush, Thomas Hohmann, Kellen Karas, Yannick Lambe, Connor Morgan, Gabe O’Reilly, Will Saas, Colin Sullivan and Charley Valachovic

Postseason: Def. Grove City 3-1; def. Gahanna 3-0; lost to Thomas Worthington 3-1 in Division I district semifinal