Even though the Columbus School for Girls lacrosse team closed the regular season by losing seven of eight games, coach Brittney Zerhusen felt good about the way her squad was playing heading into the Division II South/Central Region tournament.
The Unicorns were competitive in each of their final three regular-season games, including setbacks against Division I teams in Dublin Jerome (15-14 on May 5) and Thomas Worthington (20-14 on May 8) and a Central Independent League loss against a Division II squad in Watterson (13-12 in overtime May 7).
CSG finished 3-4 in the CIL and was 4-10 overall before playing Big Walnut in its tournament opener May 12.
"We've been very competitive against some of the best teams on our schedule and we're starting to peak at the right time," Zerhusen said. "We're finally starting to put everything together and we're playing as one unit. If we continue to play this way, good things should happen for us."
Without its leading scorer in senior midfielder Sophie Sugar, CSG rallied from a five-goal deficit to defeat Granville 11-10 in a league game May 1.
"We came back to beat Granville, which was a big highlight because we did it without Sophie in the game," sophomore defender Charlotte Lennox said.
"We were getting a little discouraged about our losses, but that game gave us some confidence."
Sugar returned and scored five goals at Jerome, while Erin Balasky had three goals and Sam Ziegler had two.
Against Watterson, Balasky scored seven goals, Sugar had three and Gennie Faber had eight saves.
Against Thomas, Sugar scored six goals, Balasky and Molly Bokor each scored two, Olivia Feldman, Mo Ostrowski, Kaitlyn Yale and Ziegler each scored one and Meg Wilson had 10 saves.
"(Thomas) was definitely one of the tougher teams we've played thus far, but we came together and brought the intensity we needed to compete with them," Sugar said. "They're a much bigger school ... but we played hard until the last whistle. Even though we lost, we're proud of our effort and I think the momentum we gained from this game will carry over into the tournament."
The CSG-Big Walnut winner advanced to a second-round game Thursday, May 15, at Columbus Academy. The winner advances to a semifinal Tuesday, May 20, against Cincinnati Country Day, Cincinnati Indian Hill or Middletown Fenwick.
The Unicorns, who lost to Bexley 13-11 in the first round of the tournament a year ago, lost to Academy 19-9 on April 8 and to Fenwick 12-6 on April 12.
"Columbus Academy is our big rival, so we want to play them again," Zerhusen said. "We both have increased our level of play since we played them early in the season, so it would be a good battle. We just need to keep working hard and getting better."
Track team set for league, district meets
The track and field team scored 141 points to win the 11-squad Africentric Classic on May 9 ahead of runner-up Licking Heights (133).
Emma Harris, Anna Tierney, Grace Tierney and Eleanor Smith won the 3,200-meter relay (10 minutes, 9.64 seconds). Also finishing first were Harris, Isabella Pesavento, Ayla Kazemi and Smith in the 1,600 relay (4:04.96), Rebecca O'Donovan in the shot put (32 feet, 9 1/2 inches), Tierney in the 1,600 (5:59.79) and 3,200 (12:23.57), Smith in the 400 (59.43) and Harris in the 800 (2:29.3).
"I was impressed with the way our girls performed," coach Elon Simms said.
"The weather was rainy and extremely windy, and that in itself can make an athlete want to quit. The 3,200 relay started off with a win, although it wasn't a time that we were expecting. However, as the meet went on, the momentum began to change (and) we ... dropped some times and threw further distances in a few areas."
CSG competes in the CCL meet Thursday, May 15, and Saturday, May 17, at DeSales. The Unicorns finished second (112) behind DeSales (114) a year ago.
CSG also will compete in the Division III district meet Tuesday, May 20, Wednesday, May 21, and May 24 at Whitehall.
"After this weekend, I like the way we look going into the CCL," Simms said. "It's the end of the school year and season, so it can be tough to stay focused and not stray away from the goals we set individually and as a team. But looking at the CCL, it's simple. We've got to focus on just competing. The girls know that for this meet, it is less about the time and more about beating people at the line. All the teams in the CCL will be going after that team title and we are focused on doing that too."