The Watterson High School boys lacrosse team believed it was well-prepared as it tried to earn its first state tournament berth in more than a decade.
The top-seeded Eagles were 17-1 and took a 17-game winning streak into the Division II, Region 7 final against third-seeded Worthington Kilbourne on May 27 at Otterbein University.
Included in that stretch was a 14-5 victory over fifth-seeded Granville in a regional semifinal May 23 at Ohio Wesleyan. Senior attacker A.J. Rigsby described the game as being full of emotion.
“I thought we played pretty well as a team and everyone (stayed) level-headed,” said Rigsby, whose team also beat Granville 15-6 on April 4. “It got a little chippy toward the end. It’s always been that way against them for my four years. They don’t like us and we don’t like them.
“But it feels great. This is the first time in my four years that we’ve made it this far.”
The Eagles last reached a state semifinal in 2006.
The regional champion played Cincinnati Mariemont or Cincinnati Indian Hill in a state semifinal May 31. The state final is at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at Ohio Wesleyan.
Watterson also had a chance to avenge its only loss when it played defending state champion Kilbourne. The Eagles lost to the Wolves 9-8 in double overtime March 18 in their season opener.
Against Granville, Will Brown had four goals, Riley Taylor scored three and Rigsby, Cam Headlee and George Sauter all scored two. Goalkeeper Dominic Elmo made 10 saves.
Kilbourne, which was just 11-10 entering the regional final, beat Toledo St. Francis 11-7 to win last year’s state title.
The Wolves defeated second-seeded DeSales 12-10 in a reg-ional semifinal May 23 to set up the rematch with the Eagles.
“We knew (Granville was) going to be fired up,” coach Tom Foley said. “We’re playing at a really high level and we’re so deep. Everybody played up and played fast. Granville and Watterson have always had a reputation of not liking each other. The kids were so excited to beat them.”
Track teams compete
at regional meet
The boys and girls track and field teams competed in the Division I regional meet May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to state Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State.
On May 24, the boys 3,200-meter relay of seniors Nick Haley and Ross Kuhn and juniors Nick Kuraly and Shane Merklin finished 11th (8 minutes, 9.09 seconds), and Maggie Malone finished 13th in the shot put (33 feet, 4 3/4 inches) and the 400 relay of seniors Michelle Lehmann, Erin Lombardi and Maddie Ogden and freshman Megan Eberts was 12th (50.32) for the girls.
Competing in finals May 26 were Lehmann in the long jump, 100 and 200, senior Sam Mikula in the 3,200 and Eberts in the 800 for the girls and Haley in the 800 and Kuraly in the 3,200 for the boys.
Girls lacrosse team
sets mark for wins
The girls lacrosse team lost to top-seeded Upper Arlington 19-5 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal May 23 to finish 16-5 overall.
The loss snapped Watterson’s eight-game winning streak.
The fourth-seeded Eagles, who set the program record for wins, opened the postseason with a 15-6 win over 12th-seeded Hilliard Bradley on May 15 and edged fifth-seeded Dublin Coffman 14-13 in a regional quarterfinal May 20.
“I knew going into the season that we were returning a lot of experienced players, and the girls took that to heart,” coach Karen Bailey said.
Watterson went 4-3 in the Central Independent League to tie Bexley for third, behind DeSales (7-0) and Columbus Academy (5-2) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls and Hartley (both 3-4), Granville (2-5) and Wellington (0-7).
The Eagles placed second in the CCL at 2-1, behind DeSales (3-0) and ahead of Hartley (1-2) and CSG (0-3).
Watterson is losing 13 seniors, led by defender Kelsey Hatem and attackers Anne Reed and Torie Sullivan, each of whom was named first-team all-CCL.
Seniors Ellen Geyer (midfielder), Anna Hartman (goalkeeper) and Kiera Mulcahy (midfielder) all were second-team all-league.
Reed finished with 68 goals and 21 assists, Sullivan had 54 goals and 21 assists, Geyer had 37 goals and 18 assists and Mulcahy had 33 goals and eight assists. Sullivan also led the team in draws won (192), while Reed led in ground balls (107). Hartman made 141 saves.
Sullivan has committed to play for Mercyhurst and Hartman is an Indiana Tech commit.
According to Bailey, juniors Nina Buoni (midfielder), Emma Coleman (attacker), Irene Kent (defender) and Annie Lucia (midfielder/attacker) and sophomores Lindsay Hull (midfielder), Erica Melaragno (attacker) and Rosie Seech (goalie) should be among the top returnees next season.
Buoni had 29 goals and eight assists, Melaragno had 17 goals and seven assists and Coleman had 12 goals and 19 assists.
Volleyball team takes
big step forward
Despite having just one senior, the boys volleyball team won five more matches under first-year coach Ryan Thompson than it did a year ago.
The seventh-seeded Eagles opened the Division II East Region tournament by beating 10th-seeded Eastmoor Academy 25-18, 25-22, 25-15 in a play-in match May 20 before falling to top-seeded Dublin Scioto 25-9, 25-15, 25-13 in the first round later that same day.
Watterson finished 8-14 overall after going 3-16 a year ago.
“The majority of the team was sophomores, so it was easy to bond,” Thompson said.
The only senior was right-side hitter Gianni Parise.
Watterson, which went 0-4 in the CCL to finish behind DeSales and St. Charles (both 3-1), had no juniors.
Sophomores Lucas Mariotti (outside hitter/middle hitter) and Jack Brinkman (outside hitter/middle hitter) were the team’s top offensive players, while sophomore Brendan Foley (libero) led the team in digs and sophomore Jake Page (setter/outside hitter) led in serving aces, according to Thompson.
Page and sophomore Matt McManamon should be back as the team’s setters next season.
Also on the team were sophomores Rob Agan (middle hitter), Ethan Burchard (middle hitter), Sam Giangardella (setter/outside hitter), Zac Pardi (outside hitter) and Jared Sommer (outside hitter) and freshman Charles Crowell IV (middle hitter).
“(The sophomore class) is absolutely committed to the sport,” Thompson said. “The kids and parents have 100 percent bought into the system.”