Columbus Academy senior field hockey player Samantha Kass fought back tears as she reflected on three years of postseason frustration, which the Vikings wiped away in style Nov. 3 at Upper Arlington.
The Vikings defeated Hudson 3-0, concluding a dominating season with their 11th state championship.
Academy finished 21-0 overall while outscoring opponents 138-1. Columbus School for Girls managed to score in a 10-1 loss to the Vikings on Sept. 17.
"We've been working on this for many years and being able to be a senior and lead this team this year is an amazing experience," said Kass, a midfielder/defender. "Throughout the whole season everyone has worked so hard and we knew this is what we wanted and through all the hard work that we've done, it's an amazing feeling to say that we've finally been able to get it done and be state champs.
"We're no longer the bridesmaid. We're the bride now, so it's an incredible feeling."
It was the Vikings' first state title since 2013. They advanced to the state tournament in '17, '15 and '14, finishing second in '17 and '14.
Academy has played in the state tournament 22 times in coach Anne Horton's 28 seasons.
"The motto of this season was we were tired of being bridesmaids," Horton said. "We got to work and the kids just dug in and they were not to be denied this year. They were going to make it happen, so I'm so proud of them."
The Vikings, who defeated Hudson 2-0 on Sept. 22, led the rematch 2-0 at halftime on goals by freshman midfielder Carolyn Vaziri and sophomore attacker Charlotte Adams.
Senior attacker Jenny L'Hommedieu closed the scoring with 8 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the game.
Junior goalkeeper Alex Phelps needed to make only one save, continuing the theme of the season of Academy's defense dominating opponents.
"It's unreal," said junior midfielder Kiersten Thomassey, who has committed to play at North Carolina. "I think with (our) defense ... we all knew what would win the games for us, so we focused on that first and then just built off of that."
Horton appreciated the dedication shown by her eight seniors.
"They left it on the field (Nov. 3)," she said. "They played their hearts out and I'm so happy for them. The leadership they provided all season was exceptional."
The Vikings advanced to the final with a 3-0 win over Cincinnati Ursuline in a state semifinal Nov. 2 at UA. Senior attacker Mercedes Crestanello scored two goals and junior attacker Abby Yakam added one.
The Vikings earned the top seed for the district tournament and won the district title by defeating fourth-seeded Watterson 1-0 on Oct. 27 at Olentangy Liberty.
Academy also went 8-0 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division to win the title ahead of runner-up Worthington Kilbourne (7-1).
Other players eligible to return include juniors Lauren Bernacki (midfielder), Helene Duebel (midfielder), Riley Hennessy (defender), Belle Kornberg (defender) and Annie Wimsatt (defender) and sophomores Regan Cornelius (midfielder), Marin Henry (goalie), Sarah Klingerman (defender/attacker) and Suzy L'Hommedieu (defender).
"It's crazy that the last time we won (the state title) was 2013," Kass said. "This program is an amazing program to be a part of and we're so happy for (Horton). It's awesome."