After failing to put anything into the back of the net through regulation and a pair of overtimes, the Big Walnut and Granville girls soccer teams took out their frustrations during penalty kicks.

The teams combined to start a perfect 10-for-10 and, after both misfired on the sixth and made the seventh, the second-seeded Golden Eagles hit their eighth and got a huge save from keeper Payton Carter to wrap up their second straight Division II district championship Saturday at Westerville North High School.

Morgan and Grace Bodker, Kaitlin Meade, Rylee Bussen, Emma Padgett, Alexis Schone and Adelee Gartner each made their respective penalty kicks, something Big Walnut has spent plenty of time practicing since the postseason began.

“As soon as tournament play begins, we work on PKs every night,” BW coach Drew Pitzer said. “We usually spend about 45 minutes to an hour on them at every practice. With four 0-0 ties this season, we knew it may come to this … so we were prepared.”

Pitzer said he knew his girls were prepared enough to take down the top-seeded Blue Aces heading into penalty kicks, but wanted to make sure they were relaxed enough to execute.

“Heading into PKs, my job was to keep the girls calm,” Pitzer said. “All I said was, ‘This is fun.’ I also let them know how confident I was in them and that it was just like practice and what we’ve worked on.”

Needless to say with an eight-round, sudden-death PK scenario, it took a total team effort to secure the win.

“I’m very proud of this group of kids,” Pitzer said. “Every single one of them has played a part in this season and worked to put us in this position. They are a unit, they trust each other and they play for each other, which is all you can ask for as a coach. They deserve this … and I’m excited to see how far they can go.”

Next up, Big Walnut will take on Unioto in Tuesday’s D-II regional semifinal at Bloom-Carroll High School. Action is set to start at 7 p.m.

Olentangy Liberty 3, Olentangy Orange 1

The Patriots got the best of both worlds Saturday, winning a district title and avenging an earlier loss to the rival Pioneers with a 3-1 win in a Division I district championship at Dublin Jerome.

Liberty, which led 1-0 before Orange scored a pair of goals in the final seven minutes to win the regular-season matchup, opened the scoring in Saturday’s tournament tilt when Abby Townsend buried a shot into the far corner in the 14th minute.

The second goal came less than 10 minutes later. The Patriots won a battle for the ball deep in the Pioneer end, with Townsend setting up Gia Gaetano for a goal to make it 2-0 in the 22nd minute.

Laura Bichsel made it 3-0 in the 66th minute, putting the game out of reach with a left-footed blast that slipped past a diving Orange keeper and just inside the far post.

The win sets up a showdown against Hilliard Darby in Tuesday’s regional semifinal at Westerville Central High School at 7 p.m.


Nathan Rothert headed in a corner kick to give Liberty a 1-0 lead late in the first half, but Westerville South battled back to upset the top-seeded Patriots in penalty kicks and win Saturday’s Division I district final at Dublin Jerome.

A red card forced Liberty to play a man down in the 57th minute and the Wildcats capitalized immediately, scoring off the ensuing free kick. The kick was blocked by the Patriot wall, but South punched in the rebound to even things up.

The game remained tied until penalty kicks, when the Wildcats parlayed an early edge into the upset win.

Also: Dublin Jerome 1, Olentangy 0.


Taylor Metzler had a team-best eight kills, Sidney Gossard added seven kills and six blocks and Carrigan O’Reilly added 40 assists to lead the Olentangy Orange volleyball team to a three-set win over Pickerington North in Saturday’s Division I district final at Franklin Heights High School.

The Pioneers won the first set 25-19 before sealing the deal with respective wins of 25-20 and 25-16 in the second and third.

“I think everyone stepped up and contributed today,” Orange coach Katie Duy said. “They were extremely competitive and disciplined throuhout the match.”

The win sets up a regional semifinal showdown against Dublin Coffman Thursday at Worthington Kilbourne. Action is set to start at 6 p.m.

Also: Gahanna Lincoln def. Olentangy Liberty 25-23, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19; DeSales def. Olentangy 25-12, 25-16, 25-16.
Liberty girls soccer, Orange volleyball also win district crowns

By Ben Stroup

[email protected]