Kenston vs. Alliance
What: Division II Northeast 2 District final
When: 6 p.m., Oct. 26
Where: Ravenna, 6589 North Chestnut Street
Records: Kenston 7-11-1, Alliance 14-4-2
What's next: The winner advances to a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Oct. 31 against Streetsboro or Canfield at Streetsboro.
What to look for: It could be argued — maybe even still — Kenston might be a year away from being one of The News-Herald coverage area's premier sides and a deep postseason contender again, given how young the Bombers are. Don't tell them that, though, as they're back aiming for a district crown amid what was allegedly a reloading campaign, one of four area sides still standing. A meatgrinder of a regular-season schedule had Kenston prepared as it went to Berkshire on Oct. 23 and delivered a poised 1-0 result over the potent Badgers. The Bombers' middle-of-the-park physicality was noteworthy, a team effort in that regard including Reese Cochran (eight goals, five assists in 2023), Bria Devlin (4-1) as a holding mid, Gabby Soltis and more. Sophomore striker Olivia Muzzio (6-3), who netted the match-winner at Berkshire, is a talented young performer with width and run-anticipation sense beyond her years. Junior Ashlyn Hunter (7-5) has also logged a solid season in the attack. Alliance avenged a regular-season loss to always formidable West Branch to get here. The Aviators are a balanced side in the offensive third, with Avery Horning (13-6), Royhal Hawkins (11-5), Ava Dickey (10-4) and Mady Lake (9-2). Whatever happens here, this will undoubtedly be a building block for Coach Jonathan Kostoff's side in the long term with so much quality returning.