A pair of big first-half performances sent the New Albany High School boys lacrosse team to a Division II Central Region semifinal.

A pair of big first-half performances sent the New Albany High School boys lacrosse team to a Division II Central Region semifinal.

The fourth-seeded Eagles led Bexley 14-5 in a play-in game on May 18 before eventually posting a 16-10 victory. They then led Olentangy 9-0 at halftime in a first-round game en route to a 12-5 win on May 20, marking their eighth win in nine games.

"We got out in front early in both games and kept the foot on the gas," said coach Sean McGinnis, whose team was 12-6 overall before playing second-seeded DeSales in a regional semifinal on May 25. "Our goalkeeper (Connor Hinson) got our transition started, George (Brand) was strong on defense and the attack was led by Braden (Passias) and (Clyde) Wallace.

"But we let down maybe a little bit after that. No lead is safe in the tournament and we have to keep that in mind going forward."

The Eagles lost five of their first nine games before winning six in a row. The winning streak began with a 17-5 win over Gahanna in an OCC-Ohio Division game on April 27 and ended with an 11-7 loss to Worthington Kilbourne in the regular-season finale on May 13.

It's not unusual for the Eagles, who also advanced to a regional semifinal last spring, to make a run in the tournament.

"Our boys really like to play postseason lacrosse with a narrow focus," McGinnis said. "When you put a single game in front of them the way the tournament is played out, they're usually able to get it done. Once again, this team really turned a corner late in the year and is playing its best lacrosse right now."

•The girls team concluded the regular season by defeating Dublin Coffman 17-4 on May 20 to win the OCC-Buckeye title with a 6-0 record.

"It's great for the kids to win the league and every (league) game, especially," said coach Dave Ferguson, whose team won a fifth consecutive league title but first in the OCC-Buckeye. "I think this was by far the toughest OCC division we've played in."

The Eagles, seeded third in the Division I South/Central Region tournament, improved to 14-3 overall by beating Kilbourne in a regional semifinal 19-4 on May 23. The winner plays at Mason or West Chester Lakota West in a regional final on Thursday, May 26.

New Albany, which is struggling with injuries, had a first-round bye and opened the postseason by defeating Watterson 24-2 in the second round on May 18 as Emily Newman scored five goals.

Ferguson had moved senior Sam Arey, who will play goalkeeper at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., into the midfield earlier this spring, but she now is back in goal after starter Hannah Sommerlot suffered a concussion. Sommerlot will not return, Ferguson said, and two other players also have suffered concussions.

The regional champion advances to a state semifinal on June 3 at Gates Mills Hawken, where its opponent likely will be Cleveland Heights, which is the state's top seed overall, according to the laxpower.com rankings.

New Albany, which captured Division II state titles from 2007-09 and was a state semifinalist last year in Division I, lost to Cleveland Heights 17-10 on May 7.

"They're a very good team, obviously, but there was only a one-goal differential (with the Eagles trailing 7-6) at the half when we played them earlier," Ferguson said. "Hannah got hurt in that game and wasn't able to go in the second half."