Little about the New Albany High School girls soccer team reclaiming the OCC-Capital Division championship went as the Eagles planned.
A sustained downpour that started less than a minute into the Eagles' Oct. 2 home game against Watkins Memorial left the field a quagmire in spots. Sophomore forward Kyra Zuiderwig, not senior goalkeeper Megan Jayes, made what turned out to be the key saves of the game when the Warriors caught Jayes out of position minutes into the second half and Zuiderwig scrambled to the ground and somehow stopped two shots.
With 5 minutes, 29 seconds to play, sophomore forward Megan Glass converted on a penalty kick to score the only goal of a game that ended with 4:14 to play when a member of Watkins Memorial's coaching staff did not leave the stadium after getting a red card.
"There's so many things, so many stories," said coach Chad Schuler, whose team entered this week with records of 9-3-2 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Capital. "Girls that have been banged up who come out here day after day and they don't complain -- every team has that, but the girls play so hard. It's been a lot of fun to coach them. I'm happy for them. This (league championship) was one of our goals. We shouldn't have let it slip away last year. We did and we learned from our mistake. That's what every quality team strives to do."
New Albany won consecutive OCC-Capital championships in 2009 and 2010 and finished second to Hilliard Bradley last year. Before an Oct. 9 game at Mount Vernon, the Eagles had won seven of their eight previous games.
"We keep pushing," said Glass, whose goal against Watkins Memorial was her third of the year. "We've had tough games and a (2-1) setback on (Sept. 29) against Granville, but our team spirit is just amazing. We all are very positive and so close and keep encouraging each other. We keep working harder and harder every day."
Glass' penalty kick came after a tripping call.
"Two sophomores today played their hearts out for the seniors, and that's what it's all about," Schuler said of Glass and Zuiderwig. "We like to just reload, and that's what we've done this year. It's exciting."
Tennis players advance to district
The girls tennis team advanced all three singles players and both doubles teams from the Division I sectional tournament Oct. 4 and 6 at Reynoldsburg to the district tournament Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at Hilliard Davidson.
Senior Cristina DiLorenzo and her sister, freshmen Francesca DiLorenzo, went 4-0 and defeated teammates Alyssa Seneviratne and Sydney Setner, a junior and sophomore, respectively, 6-0, 6-3 in the doubles final.
Junior Carol Vitellas lost 6-0, 6-3 to Chillicothe's Taylor Sprouse in the singles final. Sophomore Jane Haffer lost to Vitellas 6-0, 6-1 in a semifinal, but recovered to defeat junior teammate Priyal Reddy 6-1, 6-3 in the third-place match.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at district advance to the state tournament Oct. 19 at Ohio State and Oct. 20 at Davidson.
Football team wins again
The football team won its fifth consecutive game, cruising past previously undefeated Olentangy 33-14 on Oct. 4 to improve to 5-2 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Capital.
Senior quarterback Darron Lee and senior running back Alan Watson each ran for two touchdowns in the second half, and the Eagles scored 26 unanswered points after leading 7-0 at halftime to turn the game into a blowout.
Lee scored from 1 and 32 yards in the third quarter, and his interception of Olentangy's Andrew Horstman set up another touchdown. Watson scored from 72 and 2 yards, and the Eagles' defense shut down Olentangy's previously potent running game. The Braves fell to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the league.
"It was apparent to anybody that we were trying to get Darron isolated in the open field because he's a tremendous athlete," coach Mark Mueller said. "Finally, there in the third quarter, we were able to put it all together."
The Eagles play host to Big Walnut on Friday, Oct. 12. The Golden Eagles are 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Capital.
Girls golf season ends
The girls golf team shot 442 and placed seventh in a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 2 at Oakhaven, falling four places shy of qualifying for district.
Sophomore Megan Dressel shot 98 to lead the Eagles, followed by junior Madison Fixari (108), sophomore Ellie Billisits (113), junior Amanda Giroux (123) and freshman Maggie Archer (126). District-qualifying teams were Dublin Jerome (323), Watterson (348) and Hilliard Bradley (367). The individual qualifiers were Taylor Dencer of Olentangy (86), Brittany Stevens of Olentangy Orange (89) and Alex Weingarth of Dresden Tri-Valley (90).
Dressel missed much of the season because of a separated shoulder sustained in early September.
Archer started the season on junior varsity and participated in the final two rounds of the OCC-Capital tournament. She shot 49 on Sept. 19 in a 188-209 loss to Orange at Winding Hollow.
New Albany tied Dublin Scioto for fifth in the OCC-Capital with a 5-19 record, behind Jerome (24-0), Olentangy Liberty (20-4), Orange (16-8) and Olentangy (12-12) and ahead of Pickerington Central (2-22).
"This year forced our players to develop some toughness and focus on their games," coach Darryl Sycher said. "They had a lot of chances to work on their games. Course management was key and I saw them get better at that."