The New Albany High School girls lacrosse team got the breakthrough it needed in the second half of the Division I, Region 1 final May 24 at Thomas Worthington, scoring the first six goals after halftime to pull away for a 10-8 win over second-seeded Olentangy Liberty.
Alyssa Kneedler had five goals to lead the top-seeded Eagles, who improved to 20-1 and won their third consecutive regional championship. New Albany will play Hudson in a state semifinal May 30 at a neutral site.
Blythe Ferguson and Chloe Platte each added two goals for the Eagles, and Platte was instrumental on the draw in the second half to help New Albany establish control. Goalkeeper Catherine Ryan made 10 saves.
“The only thing we needed to focus on was playing with our hearts. Our coaches felt like we weren’t in it with all our emotion in the first half and Liberty (seemed to) want it more,” Platte said. “We had to dominate on the draw. We had a much more dominant attitude in the second half.”
The Patriots led 5-3 at halftime, but did not score in the second half until a goal by Mollie McCormack with 7 minutes, 58 seconds left.
Molly Bursinger had three goals to lead Liberty, which finished 16-3. McCormack and Madison Rapier each added two goals and goalie Maddie Harrington made nine saves.
“(My team) wanted it, and that’s what matters, but I definitely think New Albany (is) used to being in this position and in this kind of pressure,” Patriots coach Nicole Stines said.
Upper Arlington 15, Thomas Worthington 8
Brooke Smith scored seven goals and Ellena Schildmeyer controlled the faceoff circle in the second half, as top-seeded Upper Arlington pulled away from third-seeded Thomas Worthington in the Division I, Region 3 regional final May 24 at Fortress Obetz to earn its fourth consecutive regional championship.
The Golden Bears, who led 6-4 at halftime, improved to 22-0 and advanced to play Cincinnati Sycamore in a state semifinal May 30 at a neutral site.
Smith, Lauren Farber and Brenna Smith scored in an 87-second span early in the second half to fuel a 7-0 run that pushed UA’s lead to 13-4 with 15:08 remaining.
“Thomas Worthington had a good game plan going into the game and made it tough on us in the first half, but we regrouped and cooled off in the locker room at halftime and came out more composed,” UA coach Wendy Pinta said. “Ellena Schildmeyer had a terrific second half and allowed us to keep on the attack throughout. We withstood (Thomas) in the first half and then played a very strong and smart second half.”
Megan Kozar added four goals and Farber and Brenna Smith each scored two for UA.
Tori Banks and Mollie Estepp both had two goals for Thomas, which finished 16-5-1.
“We felt really good about where we were at halftime, even though we scored two more goals that were taken away with the official’s whistles,” Cardinals coach Scott Hamilton said. “They were doing their jobs. It’s just unfortunate that the whistle blew both times a fraction of a second before we scored.
“One of the times, we missed the shot on the restart and (UA) took it down and scored, so instead of being 5-4 at that point, it became 6-3.”