CINCINNATI — The Upper Arlington High School girls water polo team erased a four-goal, third-quarter deficit against Napoleon in the state final Oct. 21, but couldn’t get over the hump.
Cali Spring scored two of her four goals in a three-minute span of the fourth quarter, and the top-seeded Wildcats held off the second-seeded Golden Bears 10-9 at Cincinnati Princeton.
UA, which finished 18-9, had been seeking its fourth consecutive state championship, seventh in eight years and 17th overall.
Kendra Sheehan had four goals and Dakota Elliott scored three to lead UA. Hannah Caldwell and Grace McCarty each scored once.
The Bears, who trailed 7-3 halfway through the third quarter, got possession with 9.1 seconds left but could not get off a final shot.
“Before we came down here I was adamant to them that the only thing I wanted was that they never give up,” UA coach Dan Peterkoski said. “They continued to fight to the end, and we had an opportunity there at the end to tie it up and it just didn’t go that way. Napoleon is just very experienced. They’re physical in a good way and they just keep coming at you.”
Napoleon won its first state championship since 1999 and fifth overall. The Wildcats had been state runners-up four times since then.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Wildcats coach Mike Nye said. “We found a new way to play water polo and the girls really bought in, but the planets aligned and we came out on top. We have better techniques and skills and awareness (than we used to). It’s helped the program.”
UA advanced to the final with a 13-12 overtime win over the Cincinnati-based Mavericks club team in a semifinal earlier Oct. 21.
Every team finished in the place in which they were seeded.
Thomas Worthington defeated sixth-seeded Mason 10-4 in the fifth-place match, the Columbus Hawks club team edged eighth-seeded Princeton 6-4 in the seventh-place match and Worthington Kilbourne finished the tournament at 1-2 by defeating 11th-seeded Sylvania 8-5 in the 10th-place game.
Thomas went 2-1 in the tournament. The Hawks finished 2-2.