Harrison Lippy's personal motto is "you always want to have the last cheer," signaling a victory or a championship.

Harrison Lippy's personal motto is "you always want to have the last cheer," signaling a victory or a championship.

Lippy, a versatile senior for the New Albany High School boys tennis team, usually cheers early and often throughout the Eagles' matches, and he's not the only one.

Shouts of encouragement between New Albany players fly from court to court during matches, and that is exactly what coach Marc Thomas wants. He is confident that the team's camaraderie played a big part in leading it to at least a share of its 11th consecutive league championship as well as plenty of respect for the coming postseason.

" 'Yip yip yip' is a fun cheer," said Lippy, a fourth-year varsity player who has bounced between singles and doubles this year. "If someone wins two games in a row, we say it's a double flip. When they flip the scorecard, it's a double flip on three and (a) 'go Eagles' (cheer). Sometimes court one will say 'here we go,' then second singles will say it, and third singles, and it goes around the entire team. We scream 'use it' if another team has a double fault or if it's a big point to get on top.

"When you compete against the top teams in the state, everyone is screaming and you want to have your own energy."

New Albany was 11-1 overall before playing Pickerington North in an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district quarterfinal May 9, and 6-0 in the OCC-Capital Division entering its league finale May 11 at Big Walnut.

The Eagles clinched their share of the title with a 5-0 win over Olentangy Orange on May 5.

"These guys win and lose together," Thomas said. "Sometimes in tennis, you have a bunch of individuals who all show up. It is an individual sport on some level, but we want to be a team out here. It's a group of five courts who come together for that common goal, and these guys are a team.

"Team wins are more important than individual wins, and that's a good place to be. It's been something we've been trying to develop in this program for a while."

Freshmen Robert Cash and Nathan Jose have seen time at first singles, although they will be a doubles team in the postseason. Seniors Noah Fox and Graeme Green also have played singles, while Fox, Lippy, senior Nick Lampson, junior Chris Mathes and freshman Ben Yan have played doubles.

Cash and Jose are the top-seeded doubles team for a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, May 12, and Saturday, May 14, at Rey-noldsburg. Fox and Lippy are seeded second.

Green is the top seed in singles. Lampson is seeded third and Yan is fourth.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles will advance to the district tournament May 19 at Hilliard Davidson and May 21 at Upper Arlington.

New Albany also is aiming for its first OTCA state championship. The New Albany-North winner will play Orange or St. Charles in a district semifinal on a date to be determined.

"We have our eyes on the prize," Lampson said. "That's been that way from the very beginning. We have strong freshmen this year and hopefully that will set us up for a while."

Track teams prepare for league meet

Seven of the track and field program's 10 athletes who won championships in last year's OCC-Capital meet will try to repeat Thursday, May 12, and Saturday, May 14, at Big Walnut.

Eric Klopfenstein of the boys team is the defending league champion in the 110-meter hurdles, ahead of runner-up Max Frye, who will try to defend his 300 hurdles title.

On the girls side, returning league champions are Jalyn Austin and Donissa Edmonds from the 800 relay and Nicky Constantino, Alyssa Painter and Jessica Zaper from the 3,200 relay.

Both the boys and girls teams were second last year.

New Albany's teams will split up for Division I district meets, with the boys participating in district 4 at Westerville South and the girls heading to district 2 at Hilliard Darby.

Both meets will follow the same schedule, beginning with field events Tuesday, May 17, continuing with preliminaries for the running events Wednesday, May 18, and concluding with the finals for the running events May 21.

The top four finishes in each event will advance to the regional May 25 and 27 at Pickerington North.

Softball team aims for another title

The softball team's pursuit of a second consecutive Division I district championship began May 11 at home against Marion Harding or Westerville South.

Seeded 12th of 45 teams, New Albany was 18-8 overall before playing 27th-seeded South or 32nd-seeded Harding.

The Eagles went 3-2 last week, with wins over Worthington Kilbourne (6-0 on May 2), Watterson (8-5 on May 6) and Newark Catholic (8-3 on May 7) and losses to Mount Vernon (4-2 on May 4) and Cardington (6-2 on May 7).

New Albany finished 10-4 in the OCC-Capital.

Coach Stephanie Andrick entered the postseason confident, partly because a handful of younger players have made contributions. Prominent underclassmen have included sophomore Jordan Jeffers (C) and freshmen Morgan Pankow (P) and Kirsten Tibbitts (1B).

"We have had a lot of kids who have had the chance to step up into major roles that have contributed to (our) success," Andrick said. "Morgan Pankow has four varsity wins this season ... and she also pitched 10 innings against Dublin Coffman (5-4 victory April 23) and came out of it with a win, so a freshman pitcher with that kind of focus is both impressive and a great asset to this program."

The second-round winner will play sixth-seeded Watkins Memorial, 13th-seeded Lancaster or 42nd-seeded Mifflin in a district semifinal Monday, May 16, at a neutral site to be determined. The semifinal winner will advance to a district final May 20 or 21 at Pickerington Central.

Of those teams, New Albany lost to Watkins Memorial 7-2 on April 1.

Baseball team begins tourney at home

The baseball team sought its first postseason win in two years when it played host to Delaware in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 9, and beyond that it was aiming for its first district semifinal appearance since 2012.

Seeded 22nd of 45 teams, New Albany was 13-11 overall before playing 39th-seeded Delaware. The winner visited ninth-seeded Pickerington Central in the second round May 11, and that winner will play 11th-seeded Grove City or 16th-seeded Kilbourne in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 17, at a neutral site to be determined.

The semifinal winner will advance to a district final May 19 at Don Edwards Field in Newark.

Of its potential district semifinal opponents, New Albany split two one-run OCC-Capital games with Kilbourne, winning 2-1 on April 27 and losing 2-1 on April 19.

New Albany finished league play with a sweep of Mount Vernon, winning 3-1 on May 2 and 4-3 on May 4 to cap an 8-6 season in the OCC-Capital.

Girls lacrosse team preps for postseason

The girls lacrosse team ended an 11-day break from games with two home contests this week as it prepares for the Division I South/Central Region tournament.

New Albany was 13-3 overall before playing Hartley on May 11. That was its first game since an 11-9 loss to Cincinnati Sycamore on April 30.

The Eagles will conclude the regular season Friday, May 13, against McMurray (Pa.) Peters Township.

Liza Hernandez had a team-high 59 goals through 16 games, ahead of Emily Rezabek (31) and Molly Berend (30).

New Albany earned the third seed for the regional tournament and plays host to 29th-seeded Fairfield in a first-round game Monday, May 16. The winner plays host to 14th-seeded Pickerington North or 18th-seeded Hilliard Bradley on May 19.

Boys lacrosse team extends streak

The boys lacrosse team extended its winning streak to three by edging St. Charles 7-6 on May 7 behind three goals from Andre White and five saves from goalkeeper Perry Doran.

That came on the heels of a 7-4 win over Westerville Central on May 4 and a 10-8 victory against Centerville on May 6. Michael Brendle and White each had four goals against Centerville.

New Albany was 9-7 overall before visiting Pickerington North on May 10, and 3-2 in the OCC-Ohio entering its league finale May 11 at Bradley.