Cristina DiLorenzo and Francesca DiLorenzo of the New Albany High School girls tennis team had lost just one set between them the entire season entering the Division I state doubles final Oct. 20 at Elysium Tennis Center in Plain City.
Standing on the other side of the court was the team responsible for that loss, Dublin Jerome's Emma Stein and Sarah Stein.
The Steins were able to win a set again, but the DiLorenzos took two.
Cristina, a senior, and Francesca, a sophomore, defeated the Steins 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to win the state championship in a match that was similar to their district final meeting seven days earlier at Hilliard Davidson, also won by the DiLorenzos 6-4, 3-6, 7-6.
"At district, things definitely came together for us," Cristina said. "We didn't think this would really happen. Our first set (against the Steins) was really smooth. We were very aggressive and made the volleys. They put pressure on us, but this was my last chance. I wasn't really expecting it, but it was good to do it."
The DiLorenzos -- who had been singles players in the regular season -- trailed 2-1 in the third set, but took 3-2 and 5-3 leads before Francesca's forehand to the baseline sealed their title.
"We just had to stay mentally tough in our heads and that we had to close out points," Francesca said. "We didn't practice that much together until the sectional. Last week we worked really hard."
The sisters barely were threatened en route to the state final. They defeated Lynn Kelly and Nina Cepeda of Mason 6-1, 6-0 in the first round, beat Alivia Arnold and Lauren Daugherty of North Canton Hoover 6-0, 6-1 in the second round and got by Jerome's Eleanor Bullock and Caitlyn Merzbacher 6-0, 6-2 in a semifinal.
Cristina DiLorenzo is the Eagles' only loss to graduation. The rest of the team is expected to return, including juniors Carol Vitellas, Priyal Reddy and Alyssa Seneviratne and sophomores Francesca DiLorenzo, Jane Haffer, Sydney Setnar and Emily Zhong.
Seneviratne and Setnar went 3-1 to finish second in doubles in the Reynoldsburg sectional Oct. 4 and 6 and were 0-1 at district. Vitellas was second in singles at sectional and lost in the second round at district. Haffer and Reddy were third and fourth, respectively, in singles at sectional and lost their first-round matches at district.
New Albany was 21-2 overall and had 82 points and a 7-0 record in the OCC-Capital Division to win the league title ahead of Olentangy (62, 6-1), Olentangy Orange (55, 5-2), Big Walnut (44, 4-3), Delaware (36, 3-4), Watkins Memorial (18, 2-5), Mount Vernon (14, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (2, 0-7).
Boys golf team places 4th at state
A fourth-place finish in the Division I state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course left boys golf coach Andrew Norman excited and his team hungry.
Nick Karzmer shot 160 to place 11th overall and make second-team all-state, followed by Jackson Moss (162), Jack Carter (163) and Grant Oehler (166). Avery Schneider, who was disqualified for the first round after an improper drop, shot a 77 on the final day.
"I felt like our team had a good shot at finishing top four because the Central District teams have been strong all year," said Norman, whose team shot 644, 14 strokes behind champion Dublin Jerome. "The one thing that hurt us was our lack of experience, but we showed a lot of improvement from day one to day two. We were tied with Dublin Coffman for fifth coming into (the final round), so I'm glad we were able to improve on that."
Schneider, a junior along with Moss, wasn't as pleased.
"I'm not really happy with this, and I'm not sure that anyone on our team was either," Schneider said. "We could have done better, but I guess we did pretty well for it being our first time here."
New Albany went 28-0 in the OCC-Capital to win its third consecutive league championship ahead of Mount Vernon (20-8), Olentangy (20-8), Orange (18-10), Big Walnut (13-15), Watkins Memorial (9-19), Delaware (4-24) and Franklin Heights (0-28).
In a sectional tournament Oct. 2 at The Players Club at Foxfire, the Eagles won with a 298 as Carter and Schneider shot 72 and shared medalist honors. They were followed by Moss (75), Oehler (79) and Karzmer (80).
They won their first district championship Oct. 9 at Apple Valley, shooting 298 again. Schneider shot 71 to earn medalist honors, followed by Oehler (74), Moss (75), Carter (78) and Karzmer (80).
New Albany loses Carter, Karzmer and Oehler to graduation. Carter has committed to Iowa State.