MASON -- With the New Albany High School girls lacrosse team entering unfamiliar territory, Sam Arey knew it was her turn to step up.
The sophomore goalie stopped a shot on goal with less than two seconds remaining and then retreated behind the goal to help the Eagles earn a 13-12 victory over Chagrin Falls on Friday.

"I knew if I didn't come up with the ball, it could be the end of our season," said Arey, who made 13 saves. "I was a little bit scared to be honest. It's a tough position to be in. I had to keep my head held high, and I kept thinking, 'I have to stop this. I have to stop this.'"

"Sam was outstanding," coach Scott Hamilton said. "She made some good stops and had some good clears. She was able to find the open girl and get the ball up the field."

Arey's save helped the Eagles return to the Division II state final for the third consecutive season.
New Albany, which improved to 19-2, will face Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in the state final at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mason. The Blazers were 14-4 after defeating Columbus Academy 13-8 on Friday. The Blazers defeated the Eagles 9-5 on April 25.

Against the Tigers, Molly Hamilton had four goals and three assists and Andrea Ebeling scored four goals to lead the Eagles. Cara Hernandez added three goals and had one assists, and Murphy Ferguson had two goals.

During last year's trip to the state final, New Albany wasn't really tested in the postseason as it won its tournament games by an average of 16 goals, including a 21-2 win over West Chester Lakota West in the final.

Hamilton said playing in five games this season decided by two goals or fewer helped his team not panic when it fell behind 9-7.

"We were trying to get them to move the ball a lot offensively," Hamilton said. "When we moved the ball on offense, we had them chasing us on defense and we had a lot of open girls. When we ran to the ball on top, they would double team us and make it very challenging for us."