The Columbus Academy field hockey team is headed back to the state final.
Mercedes Crestanello scored two goals and Abby Yakam scored one to lead the Vikings to a 3-0 win over Cincinnati Ursuline Academy in a state semifinal Nov. 2 at Upper Arlington.
Academy improved to 20-0 and advanced to play Hudson in the state final Nov. 3 at UA. The Vikings lost to Thomas Worthington 1-0 in last year’s state final.
“(Winning the state title has) been the goal all season,” coach Anne Horton said. “We took care of this game and now we have to finish the job.”
Academy, which is seeking its first state title since 2013 and 11th overall, has outscored its opponents 135-1 this season. The Vikings’ strong defensive play continued against Ursuline as goalkeeper Alex Phelps did not face any shots.
Crestanello opened the scoring with 3 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the first half and extended the Vikings’ lead to 2-0 with 26:03 left in the second half. Abby Yakam closed the scoring with 15:27 remaining in the game.
“It was a good joint effort,” Crestanello said. “I had a good set-up from Sam Kass. She passed to me and I was able to keep it on my stick. The momentum started once we got that first goal. We did a wonderful job together working and passing.”
Ursuline, which lost to the Vikings 4-0 on Sept. 22, finished 13-6-1.
Hudson 2, Thomas Worthington 1 (3-2 in penalty strokes)
Three-time defending state champion Thomas was denied a chance at a possible fourth consecutive title, as it fell to Hudson in a state semifinal Nov. 2 at UA.
The Cardinals finished 18-2, while the Explorers improved to 17-3 and advanced to play Academy in the state final.
Thomas, which had beaten Hudson 3-1 on Sept. 15, took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Sarah Charley just over four minutes into the game, but the Cardinals couldn’t get another shot past Explorers goalkeeper Sadie Mrakuzic in the remainder of regulation as well as two 10-minute overtime periods, in which the teams played seven-on-seven.
Mrakuzic stopped Charley on a penalty stroke in the second overtime. Then during penalty strokes, she stopped the Cardinals’ first two shooters while Hudson scored on its first two attempts.
Reese Stiller scored the decisive third goal on Hudson’s fourth penalty stroke.
“That was a really good team,” Mrakuzic said of Thomas. “They have a fantastic goalkeeper (Isabelle Perese), but my teammates beat her twice (in penalty strokes) to give us all the momentum and put all the pressure on them. You couldn’t ask for a better finish than this.”
Margaret Murray and Caroline Ford scored on Hudson’s first two penalty strokes, while Mrakuzic stopped Charley and Althea Chan.
“I just can’t believe how thrilling this is,” said first-year Hudson coach Louise Knox, whose team had tied the score at 1 on a goal by Ford with 23:09 left in regulation. “Our girls have worked hard all season and they believe in themselves, and the longer they were in the game, the more dangerous we became. We strive to be the strongest and fittest team on the field at the end of every game and I think that was the key today.”
The Cardinals began their three-year reign as state champions in 2015 by beating Hudson 3-0 in the state final.
“We had a lot of (scoring) chances, but we didn’t make the most of them, especially in the first half and then we had a penalty stroke (in the second overtime) and some other opportunities, too,” Thomas coach Terri Simonetti Frost said. “It just wasn’t our day. But I’m very proud of these girls and what they’ve accomplished.”