As many of her DeSales High School girls soccer teammates mustered smiles while talking to each other and their fans after the Division II state final Nov. 9, senior defender Courtney Klosterman fought back tears.
Even having celebrated a state title last fall on the same field, Klosterman lamented that the Stallions couldn't get over the hump this year. In losing 5-0 to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit at Crew Stadium, DeSales fell behind 3-0 in the first half and was unable to get a shot off in the second half.
"They're very, very good," Klosterman, a University of Dayton recruit, said of Walsh Jesuit. "I can honestly say we lost to a better team. I'm proud of everybody. We fought to the very end, but they were a better team and the result showed that."
The Stallions, who lost 3-0 to Walsh Jesuit at home Oct. 6, were on the wrong end of the most lopsided game in the 28-year history of the girls state tournament. The Warriors, who went 21-0-2, won their state-record sixth championship.
Maddy John scored off a corner kick with 23 minutes, 38 seconds left in the first half, and 11 minutes later Abby Kithcart made it 2-0 on a floating crossing pass that eluded DeSales goalie Katerina Barrett.
Two minutes later, Notre Dame recruit Sandra Yu made it 3-0. The Warriors outshot the Stallions 21-2.
Barrett made eight saves for the Stallions, who finished 15-8-1 and lost their final five regular-season games. Seeded second in the district tournament, the Stallions defeated Columbus East (13-0 on Oct. 17), Jonathan Alder (2-1 on Oct. 20) and Hartley (3-0 on Oct. 24) before a Klosterman goal in overtime gave them a 1-0 win over top-seeded Granville in the district final Oct. 27 at Gahanna.
In a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Upper Arlington, DeSales defeated Hillsboro 1-0 on senior Alvi Shivley's goal in the final two minutes. It then beat Millersburg West Holmes 2-0 in a regional final Nov. 3 at Zanesville and Cincinnati Indian Hill 1-0 in a state semifinal Nov. 6 at Centerville.
Senior Kerry McGuire scored with 16 minutes left against Indian Hill, and Barrett made seven saves.
"We struggled to find our identity and we came together," coach Bob McGee said. "To make it back here (to the state final) for the second straight year, it's hard to get to one. To get to two is very difficult."
DeSales defeated Toledo St. Ursula 2-0 in last year's state final.
The Stallions went 2-1-1 in the CCL and finished second behind Watterson (4-0) and ahead of Hartley (1-1-2), Ready (1-2-1) and Columbus School for Girls (0-4).
Among the expected returnees are Barrett, a sophomore, junior forwards Lydia Burke and Xanie Fox and junior defender Maria Riley.
Klosterman (4 goals) was first-team all-league and the district Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. In the CCL, first-team honors also went to McGuire (6 goals), Riley, Shivley (12 goals) and Burke (8 goals). Senior defender Hannah Clark and senior defender Sierra Mergliano were second-team all-league.
McGuire was first-team all-district, Shivley was on the second team and Riley was special mention.
Volleyball team loses in state semi
A slow start doomed the girls volleyball team in a 25-19, 25-14, 17-25, 25-14 loss to eventual state champion Cleveland Heights Beaumont in a Division II state semifinal Nov. 8 at Wright State University.
Senior outside hitter Erika Brown had 18 kills and 16 digs, junior outside hitter Kenya Cason had 14 kills, junior right-side hitter Kendall Witt had 20 digs and senior libero Bella Guanciale added 16 digs for the Stallions, who were seeking their first state title since 1982.
"We really expected a lot from our team, (but) I didn't expect to be this good," said Guanciale, a first-team all-state honoree and a Fairfield University recruit. "I didn't expect to come this far, but we really asked a lot of our team."
Beaumont defeated Norwalk 25-18, 18-25, 25-15, 16-25, 15-8 in the state final Nov. 10.
DeSales finished 26-3 overall. Their other losses were to Hartley (25-12, 19-25, 25-20, 25-22 on Sept. 27) and Division I power Pickerington North (20-25, 25-14, 25-16 on Oct. 13).
"We had a great run, but our game was just off (against Beaumont)," coach Kelly Morgan said. "If we'd have played our 'A' game, we could have gotten it to five (games). But they got more side-out points and got to balls faster than we did."
DeSales won its first CCL championship since 2004, going 7-1 to finish ahead of Hartley (6-2), Watterson (4-4), Ready (3-5) and CSG (0-8). Seeded first in the district tournament, the Stallions defeated Mifflin (25-2, 25-6, 25-4 on Oct. 16), Sparta Highland (25-20, 25-21, 25-9 on Oct. 18) and Buckeye Valley (25-19, 25-16, 25-23 on Oct. 23) before outlasting Hartley 25-20, 25-22, 37-35 in the final Oct. 27 at Worthington Christian Middle School.
In the regional tournament at Zanesville, DeSales beat Fairfield Union 25-8, 25-16, 28-26 in a semifinal Oct. 31 and Dover 25-20, 25-15, 25-21 in the final Nov. 3.
Erika Brown (315 kills, 147 digs, 141 points), Cason (327 kills, 289 points, 114 aces) and Guanciale (341 digs, 141 points) were first-team all-league, and Witt (128 kills, 102 digs) and freshman setter Julia Brown (442 assists, 130 digs) were on the second team. Erika Brown and Guanciale were first-team all-district, Cason was second team and Julia Brown was honorable mention.
Erika Brown and Guanciale were the team's only seniors. Guanciale, who shared district Player of the Year honors with Hartley's Molly Shonk, also will participate in the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association All-Star Match on Sunday, Nov. 18, at Wooster High School.