The New Albany High School girls lacrosse team's road through the Division II, South Region tournament has seemed to get a bit easier each of the past three seasons.

The New Albany High School girls lacrosse team's road through the Division II, South Region tournament has seemed to get a bit easier each of the past three seasons.

In 2007, the Eagles beat Hartley 12-3 in a regional semifinal but had to hold off a late rally from Wellington for a 9-8 win in a regional final. Last year, New Albany beat Hartley 20-2 in a regional semifinal and Wellington 13-6 in the regional final.

This season, the Eagles have faced virtually no resistance on their way to a third consecutive state tournament appearance. New Albany has beaten each of its three postseason opponents by at least 15 goals, including an 18-3 decision over Cincinnati Seton in a regional final May 21. New Albany led Seton 3-0 after 18 minutes, but scored six goals in a three-minute span and five more goals in the first 10 minutes after halftime.

"(Molly Hamilton) was sending the draws out to the girls and they were just sucking them up," coach Scott Hamilton said. "They couldn't stick with us on (the draws). That hurt them."

The ease with which the Eagles have rolled through the regional tournament doesn't mean they necessarily should expect to roll through the state tournament the way they did last season, when they won both games by at least 11 goals. New Albany, which is 19-2, will face Chagrin Falls in a semifinal Friday at Mason. The Eagles went on the road to beat Chagrin Falls 19-13 on May 9.

Chagrin Falls is 15-4 overall and beat Shaker Heights Laurel 24-9 in a regional final May 21. The Tigers are led by attacker Megan Takacs, who was one of the top scorers in the state last season with 100 total points.

"She's really good, and we've just got to be conscious of where she is," coach Hamilton said. "Last time we played them, (our) girls moved the ball really well. There were lots of open girls. They played a zone defense, and we just have an offense that beats zones. We can play against that."

The winner Friday will play Saturday at Mason against Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown or Columbus Academy. Hathaway Brown, which is 14-4, beat visiting New Albany 9-5 on April 25. Academy is 12-4 but lost to the Eagles 14-10 on May 5. The Vikings has won five consecutive games since.

Coach Hamilton said he is happy with the way the Eagles have improved their transition game, which was apparent against Seton. The defense has also been strong in the postseason, allowing just 10 goals in three games. Seton did not score until 2 minutes, 8 seconds remained in the game.

Sam Arey, who is in her first full season in goal, said she has started to feel at home in goal late in the season.

"I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable, and I'm not as nervous anymore," Arey said.

"She's bossing us around more, which is always good," defender Lauren Thomas said. "We always need it."

Molly Hamilton, Cara Hernandez and Murphy Ferguson competed in the Schoolgirls Division of the Women's Division National Tournament last Saturday and last Sunday in Bel Air, Md.

Molly Hamilton and Hernandez played on the Eastern Great Lakes 1 team, which was coached by coach Hamilton. Ferguson played for the Eastern Great Lakes 2 team.

Eastern Great Lakes 2 went 3-2 and finished fifth in its eight-team divisionand Easter Great Lakes 1 went 2-2-1 and finished seventh it its 10-team division.

•The boys team opened the Division II, Region 3 tournament last Tuesday against Bexley.

The winner will play today against third-seeded Wellington or sixth-seeded Watterson in a regional semifinal. The higher seeded team will play at home, and since New Albany is seeded second, it would be guaranteed of a home game against either opponent.

Wellington, which was 9-5 before last Tuesday, beat New Albany 7-6 on April 23. Watterson was 4-13 before last Tuesday and lost to New Albany 7-3 on May 12.

The winner will play Saturday against top-seeded Granville, fourth-seeded DeSales, fifth-seeded Gahanna or eighth-seeded Olentangy Orange. The higher seed will play at home. Before last Tuesday, Granville was 13-3, DeSales was 13-4, Gahanna was 8-10 and Orange was 5-10.

New Albany finished the regular season at 9-7 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division, tied with Westerville South for fifth behind Olentangy (6-0), Westerville North (4-2), Westerville Central (4-2) and Olentangy Liberty (2-3) and ahead of Orange (0-5).