Upper Arlington High School girls lacrosse coach Wendy Pinta said several times throughout a dominant postseason run that her team made its wins look easy because it was executing so flawlessly.
After a 15-6 win over Massillon Jackson in the Division I state final June 3 at Ohio Wesleyan University, Pinta heaped even more praise on the Golden Bears, who won their third consecutive championship and eighth overall.
"This is definitely the best team I have coached in my entire career," she said. "They are solid from top to bottom. They are great teammates. I heard the attack talking to each other about what they should be doing and where they should be looking. It's like having 12 coaches on the field all the time.
"When you don't have to coach all the time from the sideline, that's big."
Upon hearing their coach's remarks, senior midfielder Olivia Schildmeyer and junior attacker Brenna Smith initially did not seem sure if they should agree, but they embraced the three-peat and a 19-2 overall record.
"Yes, definitely we thought we could be a dominant team," Smith said. "You can never expect something like that. We were so balanced and we're best friends. We've been together so long."
Schildmeyer, a first-team all-OCC-Central Division, all-Region 3 and all-state honoree who has been a primary cog on teams that have won 56 consecutive games against in-state competition and have gone 60-4 the last three seasons combined, spread credit.
"We are this good because of our older teammates, the girls who came before us," Schildmeyer said. "They made us who we are, and I hope our senior class has made that kind of impact on the younger girls we have now."
Schildmeyer, Smith and senior attacker Anna Schildmeyer each had three goals against Jackson, and UA steadily widened its lead while holding the Polar Bears to scoreless droughts of 12 minutes, 15 seconds in the first half and 14:36 in the second. The Bears outscored their five postseason opponents 97-21.
Junior attackers Megan Kozar and Brooke Smith each added two goals for UA, which led 6-3 late in the first half before scoring nine of the game's final 10 goals.
The Bears, who started 1-2 and finished the season on an 18-game winning streak, went 6-0 in the OCC-Central to win the league championship, ahead of Pickerington Central (5-1), Dublin Coffman (4-2), Gahanna (3-3), Hilliard Davidson (2-4), Pickerington North (1-5) and Marysville (0-6).
Seeded first in the 15-team Region 3 tournament, UA defeated 10th-seeded Dublin Scioto 21-0 in a quarterfinal May 19, fourth-seeded Watterson 19-5 in a semifinal May 23 and second-seeded Thomas Worthington 20-6 in the final May 26.
The Bears then routed Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 22-4 in a state semifinal May 31 at Lane Stadium in Dayton behind five goals from Brenna Smith and three apiece from Farber, Kozar and Olivia Schildmeyer.
Brenna Smith finished with a team-high 59 goals as well as 17 assists. Olivia Schildmeyer added 50 goals and 28 assists, Farber had 46 goals and 14 assists and Kozar had 36 goals and a team-high 36 assists.
Farber was second-team all-league, first-team all-region and second-team all-state, Brenna Smith was first-team all-league and all-region and Kozar and senior midfielder Anna Piscopo were first-team all-league and second-team all-region.
Also earning first-team all-league honors were Anna Schildmeyer, senior defender Sammy Brown and junior defender Ava Keethler.
Senior goalkeeper Libby Mislan (72 saves, 85 goals allowed) was honorable mention all-league.
The significance of UA winning a state title in lacrosse's first year as an Ohio High School Athletic Association-sanctioned sport was not lost on Pinta, who admitted she got teary-eyed over the prospect.
"Being in this sport since 1983 (as a freshman at Worthington High School) and to go from having four teams in Columbus to this explosion of teams, to see where this sport has gone, that definitely gives you pause," Pinta said. "This is a special one for me."