The Upper Arlington High School girls lacrosse team further cemented its status as the top program in the state June 2, defeating New Albany 11-5 in the Division I state final at Ohio Wesleyan to win its fourth consecutive championship and ninth overall.
Brooke Smith had four goals — three of which came in the second half — and an assist to lead the Golden Bears, who completed a perfect 24-0 season.
“We came into this game pretty nervous, but with good nerves,” Smith said. “Things got to us in the beginning and we were forcing some shots without the mentality of ‘this is going to go in.’ In the second half, we were working on moving (Eagles goalkeeper) Catherine (Ryan) and finishing shots.”
UA led 3-1 at halftime, largely because Ryan made several outstanding saves, and 5-2 with 18 minutes, 26 seconds left after a free-position goal by Chloe Platte before the Bears scored three goals in a span of 2:02 to start to pull away. Megan Kozar assisted Smith’s second goal, Smith scored off an assist from Sophie Ballou and Brenna Smith netted a goal with 11:51 left.
Lauren Farber and Kozar each added two goals for UA and goalie Katie Shrodes made five saves.
“We were beating ourselves in the first half. We were getting tired and making dumb mistakes, so we had to clean it up and play how we normally do,” Farber said. “We didn’t change much. We just knew we had to come out really hard and place our shots a little better since we struggled with that in the first half.”
Alyssa Kneedler had two goals to lead New Albany, which finished 21-2 and was making its fourth consecutive state tournament appearance. The Eagles were in the final for the first time since winning the Division II championship in 2013.
Ryan finished with nine saves.
“We really felt good at halftime. It could have gotten out of hand and the defense kept us in the game,” Eagles coach Dave Ferguson said. “We were winning a few draws we needed to and we really thought we could get the offense going. We struggled a little with the momentum on offense in terms of finishing some things.”