By DAVE SEAMAN
This Week Contributor

After a disappointing triple-overtime loss a year ago in a regional final, the Watterson field hockey team had one motto: "Fight back."


The Eagles did just that in defeating Bexley 3-0 on Saturday at Dublin Scioto to at Dublin Scioto Saturday.


"Our goal all season has been to fight back," Eagles senior attacker Nina Passen said. "The last time (Watterson) won a state title was 2005, and none of (the 11 seniors) have been on a state championship team."


Last season, the Eagles fell to Thomas Worthington 1-0 in a game that came down to strokes.


On Saturday, Passen scored twice and Katie Elberson added the other as goalie Domini Paradiso had two saves.


"I thought we played really well," Eagles coach Janet Baird said. "We were having a little bit of a problem getting the ball in the cage in the first half, so I was a little concerned about that. They kept stepping up, playing strong defense and kept Bexley's corners from going into the cage."


The Eagles, who improve to 17-2-1, will play either St. Ursula Academy or Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame in a state semifinal at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Upper Arlington.


Watterson beat Bexley 1-0 on Sept. 22 and expected a tough rematch.


"They played us really tough," Baird said. "They have four or five girls who have unbelievable stick work, so we worked on trying to contain them and slow them down a little. It was a battle."


Diane Zanner had eight saves for Bexley, who ends the season 11-6-2.


"I thought we fought really hard," Lions coach Kara Hardesty said. "Watterson is an excellent team and they have more experience in this round than we have, so they had composure on their side today too."


After a relatively quiet first half, Passen finally broke through, scoring with 8:48 remaining in the half off a corner.


Passen struck again with 13:27 remaining in the game with the team attacking the Lions defense. Elberson scored off a rebound off a Passen shot with eight minutes remaining.


"Nina has been working all year long on just playing the cage strong side over, so any ball comes in, she in position to take a shot," Baird said. "Both of her goals, she was moving from the strong side over and played it right in."