When the Watterson High School girls soccer team played its CCL finale Oct. 1 at DeSales, it competed on a turf field that is much larger than its grass field at Hagely Field.
The Eagles quickly adapted to the different surface, however, and beat the Stallions 2-0 to win the CCL championship outright for the second consecutive season and for the fourth time in 12 years.
In addition to last season, Watterson also won outright league titles in 2002 and 2009. It shared the league title with DeSales in 2005, 2006 and 2010.
The Eagles finished 4-0 in the CCL this fall, ahead of DeSales (3-1), Hartley (1-2-1), Columbus School for Girls (1-3) and Ready (0-3-1).
"It's a big deal to win the CCL outright because we didn't want to have to share it with anyone," coach Alyx Portier said. "DeSales' field is much longer and wider than ours, so there's a lot more room to play on, and they have turf, so the ball rolls a lot quicker on their field. We love our home field, but we need to get used to playing on turf fields if we're going to go far in the (Division I) tournament, so this was nice practice for the tournament. ... It felt good to beat our rival on their home field to win the CCL."
Two freshmen starters scored against DeSales in center midfielder Priscilla Severance, who put the Eagles ahead 1-0 midway through the first half, and forward Emily Gantz, who scored off a pass from center midfielder Ellie Gantz less than three minutes before halftime.
"We have a young team, but we're starting to prove ourselves as having a good team, so that means our future looks good," Portier said. "We've had three to four freshmen in our starting lineup at times this season and they are playing well."
The Eagles, who lost to Hudson 3-1 on Sept. 5, were 7-1-4 overall before playing Wellington on Oct. 8 and Westerville North on Oct. 9.
"Ellie Gantz has been our leading scorer and Priscilla Severance and Emily Gantz are doing well offensively, too," Portier said. "Marissa Wierzbicki is our goalkeeper and a senior captain, and (defender) Bryn McQuade has been very solid in the back."
The Eagles will wrap up their regular season by playing Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Capital University before preparing for the Division I district tournament.
The Eagles are seeded sixth of 40 teams and have a first-round bye. They will play host to 17th-seeded Upper Arlington in the second round Oct. 17.
Boys soccer team earns share of CCL title
The boys soccer team tied St. Charles for first in the CCL standings at 3-1, ahead of DeSales (2-1-1), Hartley (1-2-1) and Ready (0-4).
The Eagles beat DeSales 1-0 on Sept. 24 behind a goal from midfielder Paul Mokrzan and clinched a share of the league championship Oct. 1 when the Stallions defeated St. Charles 2-1.
The Eagles, who were 9-4 overall before playing Columbus International on Oct. 3 and Watkins Memorial on Oct. 8, are the top seed in the Division II district tournament and have a first-round bye. They will play host to 16th-seeded Buckeye Valley or 21st-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek in the second round Oct. 17.
Seven tennis players advance to district
All seven members of the girls tennis team who competed in the Division I sectional tournament Oct. 3 and 5 at Upper Arlington placed in the top four in singles or doubles to qualify for district, which will be held Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Hilliard Davidson.
At sectional in singles, Lauren Ghidotti went 4-0 to place first, Courtney Brown went 3-1 and placed second and Maria Jeric went 2-2 and placed fourth.
In doubles, Elise Miller and Sydney Simmons went 3-1 and placed third and Mollie Godbout and Sophia Wible went 2-2 and placed fourth.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at district will advance to state Oct. 18 at Ohio State and Oct. 19 at Davidson.
Girls golf team takes second at sectional
The girls golf team finished second (343) in the 11-team Division I sectional Oct. 1 at Mentel Memorial, behind Dub-lin Coffman (302), to advance to district, which was held Oct. 8 at The Links at Groveport.
Erin Harper led the Eagles with a 68, followed by Abigail Meyers (87), Ellie Kairis (92), Avery Wakefield (96) and Mia Karam (97).
The top two teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team at district advanced to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Boys golfers finish sixth at district
The boys golf team ended its season in the 12-team Division II district Sept. 30 at River Greens, as it finished sixth (331) behind state-qualifiers East Liverpool (313), DeSales (321) and Bloom-Carroll (324) and did not have any individual qualifiers for state, which will be held Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at NorthStar.
"We were only seven strokes out of third place, so we really were on the cusp of qualifying for state," coach Olin Mela-ragno said. "We're extremely disappointed not to make it, but we shot three strokes under our average at district and our young team learned what it will take to make it to state in the future."
Watterson won the 11-team Division II sectional Sept. 24 at The Players Club at Foxfire with a 326, ahead of runner-up Johnstown (332).
Junior David Shepherd led the Eagles with a 79, followed by senior Seth Cones (82), sophomore Nick Naderhoff (82), junior Brian Sapp (83) and sophomore Nick DiCello (92).
Watterson shot a 330 to finish fourth in the CCL postseason tournament Sept. 21 at Cooks Creek, behind St. Charles (304), DeSales (318) and Hartley (328) and ahead of Ready (448).
Shepherd led the Eagles with an 81, followed by Cones (82), Naderhoff (83), DiCello (84), Sapp (86) and junior Phil Campisi (87).
Shepherd was first-team all-CCL.
"Winning sectional was a big highlight of our season," Melaragno said. "I knew St. Charles was heads-and-shoulders above the rest of us in the CCL, but finishing behind DeSales and Hartley was disappointing. It also was disappointing that the CCL preseason tournament was rained out (Aug. 9) and we had to rely on one tournament to decide the CCL.
"We're losing our senior captain (Cones) who played in every varsity match for us, but the rest of our top players are coming back, and I think the experience we gained this year should go a long way next year."
Football team takes 2-4 record into bye
The football team got a boost to its Division IV Region 13 playoff hopes when it beat Cincinnati LaSalle 23-20 in overtime Sept. 27, but it lost to visiting Hartley 35-14 on Oct. 4 in a non-league game of CCL schools.
The Eagles are 2-4 as they prepare for their CCL-Silver Division opener Oct. 18 at DeSales.
Through six games, senior running back Walter Green has rushed for a team-best 188 yards and one touchdown and senior running back Cody Calhoun has 155 yards rushing and three scores. Their touchdowns are the only ones on the ground this season for Watterson.
Junior quarterback Sam Maglicic has thrown for 288 yards and two touchdowns, with senior wide receiver Ryan Urquhart, who has seven catches for 129 yards and one touchdown, and junior wide receiver Alex Loscko, who has seven catches for 52 yards, being his top targets.
Against Hartley, Watterson gave up 373 total yards and a season-high point total. Maglicic was 3-for-6 passing for 29 yards with three interceptions. Calhoun rushed 15 times for 60 yards and two touchdowns and Green had 45 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Senior linebacker Eli Kirk had 10.5 tackles to lead the defense for Watterson, which trailed 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter.