The Granville High School boys lacrosse team's games with New Albany have become one of the most intense matchups in all of central Ohio.

The Granville High School boys lacrosse team's games with New Albany have become one of the most intense matchups in all of central Ohio.

A Division II Central Region semifinal last Wednesday likely further advanced the cause, too. After dropping the regular-season matchup 11-7 on May 7, the visiting Blue Aces turned the tables by eliminating the Eagles 15-10.

"It's just the opposite of last year when we beat them early in the year (10-3) and they came back to beat us in the tournament (14-11 in a regional final)," coach Kurt Hansen said. "That's what a rivalry is - you can't take each other lightly no matter what the circumstances are."

The third-seeded Blue Aces improved to 10-7 overall with their ninth victory in 11 games while advancing to play top-seeded Dublin Jerome in the regional final last Saturday. The Celtics improved to 16-4 by defeating fourth-seeded DeSales 15-2 in last Wednesday's other semifinal. Second-seeded New Albany finished 12-6.

The regional champion plays in a state semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against either Cincinnati Mariemont or Cincinnati Indian Hill. The state final is at 4 p.m. Saturday.

"We just didn't let them get on any long runs," junior attacker Nick Caravana said of last Wednesday's victory. "Last year, that came back to haunt us in the tournament game we played with them."

The Eagles fell behind 4-1 early, but they closed to within 5-4 late in the second quarter and 11-9 late in the third. The Blue Aces seemed to have an answer for every run, though, and Caravana's unassisted goal gave them a 14-9 advantage with six minutes remaining in the game. He also scored consecutive goals unassisted to make it 9-5 late in the first half.

"Usually, it seems like we start fast and then try to hang on," senior attacker Dan Cathcart said. "Tonight we were solid all the way."

Caravana led Granville with six goals. Scott Keith added five goals and Cathcart had three. Jordan Wider also scored for the Blue Aces, who were 1-5 at one point early in the season. Goalkeeper Sudzy Steyn made 12 saves.

"I haven't talked with Kurt about this yet, but I want us to play next year at Denison University (in Granville)," New Albany coach Sean McGinnis said. "That'd be a great setting."

Even after splitting the past four meetings, Granville still holds an 8-4 advantage in the all-time series. That includes a 3-2 mark in the postseason.

"(Worthington) Kilbourne and (Dublin) Scioto have the Hard Road rivalry. I'm sure (State Route) 161 will work, too," McGinnis said. "This game, it just takes the rivalry up another notch."

SOFTBALL - Lakewood's Division II regional semifinal against LaGrange Keystone last Thursday in Bucyrus was postponed until last Friday because of thunderstorms. That winner advanced to meet Clyde in last Saturday's final.

The regional champion plays in the opening semifinal of the state tournament at 10 a.m. Thursday in Akron's Firestone Stadium. Entering last week's regional tournaments, the top six teams in the state poll remained in contention, a feat unequaled in the other divisions. The six teams included top-ranked Poland Seminary and the fourth-ranked Lancers, who were 25-5 following district play.

At a glance

Below is the schedule for the state softball tournament in Akron's Firestone Stadium:

THURSDAY - 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Division II semifinals; 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Division I semifinals;
FRIDAY - 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Division IV semifinals; 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Division III semifinals; SATURDAY - 10 a.m., Division II final; 1 p.m., Division I final; 4 p.m. Division IV final; 7 p.m., Division III final