Perseverance pays off for Eagles


Mothers for generations have echoed the, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ mantra.

The Big Walnut girls soccer team took that to heart after spending much of the game on the offensive side of the field without anything to show for it on the scoreboard.

The Golden Eagles finally broke though, though, when Grace Bodker got a second corner through to Avery Schone for the game’s only goal to give them a 1-0 win over Bloom-Carroll in a Division II district semifinal Tuesday night in Sunbury.

Bodker sent a corner kick from the right side that found Schone, but her shot was deflected out by the BC defense.

“(BC goalkeeper Jenna Keefe) is not tall, so it was easy for our players to get on the end of it,” Bodker said. “The first one, I was just kind of serving it to see if we could get on the end of it or if they were aggressive in the box or not. They weren’t as aggressive as we are. We’re really good at getting on the end of crosses. So, I did it again.”

Bodker’s second attempt pinballed off the heads of teammates Morgan Bodker and Rylee Bussen before Schone got a leg on it and sent in on the left side to finally make a dent on the scoreboard with 14:32 left in the game.

“When (Bussen) ran front post – it created a gap,” Schone said. “So, I just followed through to try to tip it in.”

BW spent most of the night with possession, but couldn’t get through the Bulldog defense.

“I thought we started the game well,” BW coach Chris Allen said. “We just needed to put the ball in the back of the net. They (gave us) a little bit of space to play, but I think we’ve also been – consistently throughout the season – moving the ball better. That’s been great for us … that’s been a strength for us.”

The fourth-seeded Bulldogs (16-2) didn’t have a shot, let alone a shot on goal, until the second half. Payton Carter finished with two saves for the second-seeded Eagles (11-2-4).

Carter got caught in traffic at the top of the box in the 68th minute and Makenzee Mason emerged with the ball. She sent a floater just wide right. That was as close to a goal as the Bulldogs came all night.

Keefe made 20 saves for the game – 10 in each half — to keep her team within striking distance.

“Our team is really good at persevering and working hard throughout the game,” Schone said. “This season we’ve learned a lot about never giving up. As the game went on we fought harder to make sure that we got that goal. So, I don’t think there was any doubt that we were going to score – it was just a matter of when.”

The Eagles advance to the district final round for the second consecutive season and there’s a familiar foe waiting for them. Top-seeded Granville advanced with a win over Olentangy Berlin.

“Even though I’m new – I definitely want to honor and continue the legacy that’s been here before,” Allen said. “Being here and getting an opportunity is great. (Granville is) a great team (with) a great coach. But, we definitely have the same things here as well.”

BW beat the Aces in a shootout last season.

Olentangy Orange 1, Dublin Coffman 0

Aurelia Johnson scored 45 seconds into the second half off an assist from Shazia Waggoner and Grace Poorbaugh and the defense made it hold up as the 10th-seeded Pioneers upset the fourth-seeded Shamrocks in a Division I district semifinal Tuesday in Dublin.

Olentangy 3, Hilliard Davidson 1

Sydney Richards, Kayla Primm and Kylee Beinecke each had goals to lead the fifth-seeded Braves to a 3-1 Division I district semifinal win over the visiting Wildcats Tuesday in Lewis Center.

Katie Scott and the Olentangy defense took care of the rest. Scott had six saves in the win, which set up a rematch of what amounted to an OCC championship game against sister school Olentangy Orange — a game the Braves won 2-1 Oct. 13 — in Saturday’s district final at a site and time to be determined.

Dublin Jerome 4, Olentangy Liberty 2

Emma Lindsey found the back of the net off a feed from Laura Bichsel to cut the Patriot deficit to 4-2 in the 31st minute, but that’s as close as things would get as the host and third-seeded Celtics held on for a Division I district semifinal win Tuesday in Dublin.

Sixteenth-seeded Liberty, which trailed 3-0 13 minutes in, also got a goal from Quinn Casey in the setback.

With the win, Jerome advances to Saturday’s district final against 12th-seeded Hilliard Darby.

Also: Granville 7, Olentangy Berlin 1


Top-seeded Olentangy Liberty handled its business Tuesday, notching a straight-set win over 17th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a Division I district semifinal at Franklin Heights.

The Patriots, who got a team-best 13 kills from Grace Clark and 40 assists from Logan Flaugh, won the first set 25-16 before sealing the deal with wins of 25-19 and 25-17 in the second and third, respectively.

Other standouts included Claranne Fechter and Abby Erickson, who combined for 21 kills; and Maile Steckelberg, who had 10 digs and two aces.

Next up, Liberty will take on 11th-seeded DeSales in Saturday’s final back at Franklin Heights. The action is set to start at 2 p.m.

Also: Olentangy def. Dublin Jerome 25-21, 25-16, 25-21


Bishop Watterson 4, Olentangy Orange 2


Ohio Wesleyan 3, Wittenberg 0

Big Walnut’s Kimberly Serna collects the ball in front of a Bloom-Carroll defender during the first half of Tuesday’s Division II district semifinal in Sunbury. Walnut’s Kimberly Serna collects the ball in front of a Bloom-Carroll defender during the first half of Tuesday’s Division II district semifinal in Sunbury. Ben Stroup | Gazette
Big Walnut clips Bloom-Carroll 1-0 in district semi

By Michael Rich

For the Gazette

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at [email protected].

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