Members of the New Albany High School boys golf team took a handful of pictures after finishing the second and final day of the Division I state tournament Oct. 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
After a ninth-place finish, it was tough for a few of the Eagles to muster smiles. But coach Andrew Norman used every opportunity to remind his golfers of the heights they had reached.
"We've been here two years in a row and won our division of the OCC four years in a row," Norman said. "I know the guys are a little down right now -- they had higher hopes coming in -- but I'm pleased with the way things have worked out the last few years."
Senior Avery Schneider shot a 167 to lead the Eagles, who carded a 672. Dublin Jerome shot a 641 to win its third consecutive state championship, five shots ahead of runner-up Pickerington North in the 12-team field.
Senior Jackson Moss shot a 168, followed by juniors Austin McNutt (171) and Matt Wininger (171) and senior Jackson Kallner (179).
"We thought we had potential to play better and we probably did," said Norman, whose team was fourth at state in 2012. "With the weather elements being as tough as they were, we had to come out and hunker down and figure out a way to make par in the elements. We let the numbers get away from us a little bit."
New Albany went 27-1 in the OCC-Capital to finish ahead of Olentangy (24-4), Mount Vernon (19-9), Big Walnut (14-14), Olentangy Orange (13-15), Worthington Kilbourne (8-20), Delaware (7-21) and Franklin Heights (0-28).
Schneider and Wininger's rounds of 73 in a sectional Oct. 1 at Granville Golf Course led the Eagles to a first-place finish (299).
Schneider's medalist round of 68 carried New Albany to the third and final state-qualifying berth in the district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley. The Eagles shot a 308, behind Jerome (299) and Pickerington North (305).
"It was a good year," Schneider said. "We just had two tough rounds (at state)."
Haffer, Cash fall in first round at state
Freshman Alex Cash and junior Jane Haffer of the girls tennis team fought back from a first-set loss to force a decisive third set in the first round of the Division I state tournament Oct. 18 at Ohio State, but lost to Toledo Notre Dame's Teagan McNamara and Alicia Nahhas 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Haffer, who mostly played singles in the regular season, teamed with Cash to finish first at sectional and fourth at district.
"They fought for it and came up a little bit short, but that doesn't define you," coach Marc Thomas said. "Winning or losing doesn't define you. The way you respond does."
Cash and Haffer's state appearance capped a season in which the Eagles were 17-1 overall and ranked first in the state for four weeks. They finished 7-0 with 41 points in the OCC-Capital, ahead of Orange (37, 6-1), Olentangy (28, 5-2), Big Walnut (22, 4-3), Kilbourne (17, 3-4), Delaware (17, 2-5), Mount Vernon (6, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (0, 0-7).
New Albany was third (12 points) in the OCC's first-place tournament Sept. 28 behind Jerome (17) and Upper Arlington (13) and ahead of host Pickerington Central (8).
Also at district, the doubles team of senior Alyssa Seneviratne and junior Sydney Setnar fell a win short of qualifying for state.
New Albany loses two seniors in Seneviratne and Carol Vitellas.
Also expected to return is junior Francesca DiLorenzo, who was injured much of the season.
"We lost only one match all year. I'll take that," Thomas said. "We have a team of great players. It's one of those things where you have to celebrate the little things along the way and put the big things in perspective."
Girls volleyball team reaches district semi
The girls volleyball team defeated a familiar opponent to get to an unfamiliar place.
New Albany, seeded 10th in the Division I district tournament, swept visiting Big Walnut 25-15, 26-24, 25-12 in a second-round match Oct. 16 to advance to a semifinal for the first time since 2005, when the Eagles were in Division II. New Albany, which plays fourth-seeded Grove City on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Bloom-Carroll, never has won a district championship.
"Every extra day we get at this point is a gift," said coach Karen Morlan, whose team is 18-6. "All season, we've been trying to get them to play from start to finish without having lulls in the middle and what-not. (Against Big Walnut) they pushed for every point from the first point to the last. It's pretty exciting that they're playing so well right now."
The Eagles' 25-19, 25-23, 25-23 win over 26th-seeded Westerville South in the first round Oct. 14 was their first tournament victory since 2009. New Albany and Big Walnut split two regular-season OCC-Capital meetings.
The semifinal winner will play fifth-seeded Kilbourne or sixth-seeded Westerville Central in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Bloom-Carroll. The district champion will play Central Crossing, DeSales, Hilliard Darby or Olentangy Liberty in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Hilliard Davidson, where the regional final will be played Nov. 2.
New Albany did not play Grove City during the regular season. Of its potential district final and regional semifinal opponents, the Eagles split two OCC-Capital matches with Kilbourne, winning 25-15, 25-22, 25-18 on Sept. 12 and losing 19-25, 26-24, 25-22, 21-25, 15-10 on Oct. 8.
"We had so much energy and fire and moved our feet so well on the court that we had a feeling we'd be able to go this far," senior libero Lauren Bressler said.
Cross country teams roll through district
The boys and girls cross country teams combined to put five runners in the top 10 of their Division I district races Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial, and New Albany advanced both squads to the regional Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pickerington North.
Junior Dennis Maloney was third (16 minutes, 14.32 seconds), junior Zack Buck was fifth (16:26.66) and classmate Ben Iten was seventh (16:31.17) in district 1 as New Albany finished second (46 points) behind Davidson (29).
Also competing were juniors Alex Quillin (15th, 16:57.51) and Brian Krugh (16th, 16:58.64), senior Chris Ryan (19th, 17:06.92) and sophomore Eyob Alemayehu (36th, 17:50.68).
The top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional in district 1, as did the top six teams and top 24 individuals in district 3, in which the girls were third (114) behind champion Upper Arlington (64).
Senior Eliza Matt was second (18:59.86) and sophomore Charlotte Matt was eighth (19:35.43). They were followed by freshman Jessica Zaper (20th, 20:08.88), seniors Lexi Simpson (41st, 21:01.97) and Catherine Ralston (43rd, 21:04.88), junior Becca Adams (57th, 21:33.21) and sophomore Anna Weibel (63rd, 22:00.94).
From regional, the top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to state Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
Boys soccer team cruises to tourney win
Eight players scored one goal each Oct. 19, and the boys soccer team beat visiting and 42nd-seeded Licking Heights 8-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
Fifth-seeded New Albany improved to 13-1-3 and advanced to play sixth-seeded Davidson in a district semifinal Oct. 23. The winner will play fourth-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 17th-seeded Jerome in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville South, with the district champion advancing to face Franklin Heights, Kilbourne, Liberty, Pickerington North or St. Charles in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Gahanna.
That winner will play in a regional final Nov. 2 at Jerome.
Of its potential district final and regional semifinal opponents, New Albany defeated North 3-0 on Sept. 26 and Franklin Heights 3-0 on Sept. 3, tied Kilbourne at 0 on Oct. 1 in an OCC-Capital game and lost to Bradley 2-1 in its opener Aug. 17.
Girls soccer season ends
Junior goalkeeper Ashton Shearer saved four of five shots Oct. 19 and the girls soccer team outshot host Westerville South 14-5, but the Eagles' season ended with a 1-0 loss to the 13th-seeded Wildcats in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
New Albany, which was seeded 16th and opened the postseason Oct. 15 with a 6-0 home win over 31st-seeded Newark, finished 9-9.
Junior midfielder Megan Glass scored three goals against Newark.
Field hockey team falls in tournament
The field hockey team was outshot 16-1 in its district tournament opener Oct. 15, losing to Watterson 6-0.
Junior goalkeeper Michaela Master made 10 saves for the Eagles, who trailed 2-0 at halftime and finished 5-9-1.