The boys soccer team lost 1-0 to Bishop Watterson High School Oct. 28 in double overtime during the district final of the state tournament.
The tournament began Wednesday, Oct. 18 at home against Buckeye Valley High School. The game started slowly, with only one goal in the first half from senior Nolan Place. In the second half, the team found another gear, scoring three goals to win 4-0.
They built momentum in the next round with a 6-1 win over Johnstown High School, advancing to the district final, where they fell to Bishop Watterson.
Sophomore Eli Rosen explained their expectations were set high after losing the 2022 state championship game on penalty kicks.
“We did have a lot of seniors leaving last year, but we had some unfinished business, as our coach would say,” he said.
Senior Augie Reber attributed their loss in the game against Bishop Watterson to their nerves, causing the team to feel rushed as they played.
“It was a district final against a very hard team,” he said. “So knowing that, we go out there, playing like we’re nervous instead of how we usually do.”
Senior Ethan Nguyen added his excitement to be playing in the game against Bishop Watterson was greater than his nerves.
“Getting to play in that big of a game brings nerves and excitement, so yes, it was very frantic, but there was also a lot of passion being shown,” he said. “The other team played in a very particular style that made us feel frantic, but we settled in eventually.”
Nguyen explained even though they didn’t return to the statewide rounds of the tournament, the team accomplished a lot this season.
“We were one of the top teams in Ohio,” he said. “We were number one in the district, we won the league outright, we were undefeated in the league, we have the top player of the league, Andrew Martin, we beat our rival Columbus Academy. We all had individual successes, and everything goes to help building a culture.”
Rosen said the team remains ambitious for next season.
“Even though it’s a different team next year, we still have a lot of talent and our expectations are still high,” he explained. “It will take time to adjust, but as long as I’m still here, we still have unfinished business.”
The team’s talent has not gone unrecognized. Multiple players won all-league honors, including seniors Drew Martin, Nolan Place, Augie Reber, Ethan Nguyen, Eli Tyson and Miles Redding, along with sophomore Espen Price. Drew Martin was also awarded Central Buckeye League Player of the Year.
Reber said although the game did not go how he wanted it to, he still had a good time playing alongside his high school teammates.
“We definitely could’ve gone further, but at the same time, we put up a good fight against a really good team,” he said.
Nguyen said it was a successful season and he is proud of all his teammates.
“I’m going to miss playing with them,” he said. “I thought we all grew as people and individuals since the beginning of the season, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”