New Albany High School girls tennis coach Marc Thomas hopes a 5-0 victory over Pickerington Central on Sept. 12 made a statement about his team.
The Eagles handled the Tigers like no one has this year, sweeping every court. Usual No. 2 singles player Francesca DiLorenzo, a freshman, capped the win with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Central's Kyrah Thomas at No. 1 singles.
"That was a great win for this team. We played about as well against them as I could have hoped," said Thomas, whose team was 12-0 overall before facing Dublin Jerome on Sept. 17 and 4-0 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Watkins Memorial on Sept. 18. "Our record is great, but more than the record, this team is working hard every day. To them, every match is the biggest match of the year."
Powered by senior Cristina DiLorenzo, Francesca DiLorenzo and junior Carol Vitellas, the Eagles entered the week 36-0 in singles matches. Thomas has done some switching at doubles, making various teams of juniors Priyal Reddy and Alyssa Seneviratne, sophomores Emily Zhong and Jane Haffer and freshman Sydney Setner.
If the fact that just one Eagles' player, Cristina DiLorenzo, advanced to the state tournament last year is a constant motivator, no one is saying so outright. DiLorenzo advanced to the second round, defeating Toledo Central Catholic's Sandy Delp 6-2, 6-1 before losing to Westlake's Lauren Golick 6-3, 6-2.
"The thing I like most about this team is there hasn't been any complacency," Thomas said. "They're fired up every day to go out and prove how strong this team is. And our strength is we're incredibly deep. We have a lot of players who can do the job."
Football team again surpasses 50 points
The football team continued its resurgence with a 53-33 win at Olentangy Orange on Sept. 14 in the OCC-Capital opener for both teams.
The Eagles, who improved to 2-2, scored three touchdowns in a 94-second span in the second quarter. Quarterback Darron Lee threw a 10-yard touchdown to Carson Tunney to make it 14-3. Two plays from scrimmage later, defensive back Victor Chamberlain sacked Orange quarterback Kofi Hill, causing a fumble that linebacker Keith Emerson returned 19 yards for a 21-3 lead. Then after another lost Orange fumble, New Albany's Leslie Anokye scored from 1 yard.
New Albany scored 56 points on Sept. 7 in a 34-point win over DeSales.
Lee, who was 3-for-6 passing for 93 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 136 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries against Orange, credited his line for the team's recent success.
"I think after our first two losses we knew that we needed to finish, and that starts up front with our offensive line," Lee said. "Coach (Mark Mueller) tells us there's a fine line between confident and cocky. We're confident, but we're very humble. We know we have a lot of stuff to go back and work on."
Anokye added 119 yards on 16 carries for the Eagles, who play host to Franklin Heights on Friday, Sept. 21.
Boys golf coach loads up schedule
Boys golf coach Andrew Norman has no qualms about loading up the back end of the regular-season schedule with 18-hole tournaments featuring tough competition. The Eagles shot 305 to place third in the 28-team Wooster Invitational on Sept. 10, shot 308 to finish second in the Upper Arlington Invitational on Sept. 15 at Scioto Country Club, and have the Trojan Invitational (Saturday, Sept. 22), Watterson Invitational (Sept. 29) and Dublin Jerome Invitational (Oct. 6) remaining on the schedule.
"We feel we have to have those competitive events on our schedule to help the guys get ready for the district tournament. You want to play those better teams," Norman said. "We have some good golfers, but they can never get enough of playing in big matches. It builds their confidence in their abilities and lets them know how to be successful."
The Eagles entered the final OCC-Capital tournament, scheduled for Sept. 19 at Granville Golf Course, undefeated in the league at 12-0 pending the results of the Sept. 12 league tournament, during which there were scoring issues.
No. 1 player Jack Carter was averaging 72 entering this week, followed by Avery Schneider (74.5), Jackson Moss (74), Nick Karzmer (76) and Grant Oehler (78).