CENTERVILLE — This time, there was no heartbreak for the DeSales High School girls lacrosse team.
After overtime losses in Division II state semifinals each of the past two years, the Stallions took a seven-goal lead by early in the second half May 29 against Cincinnati Mariemont, only to have to withstand a furious comeback to defeat the Warriors 13-11 at Centerville and return to the state final for the first time since winning their only championship in 2016.
Liz Renken had five goals and Grace Lensmire added four goals — including an insurance tally with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left — and three assists as the Stallions improved to 20-1. They will play Chagrin Falls or Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in the state final at 10 a.m. June 1 at Ohio Wesleyan.
“This was definitely a revenge game for us,” said Renken, whose 60 goals are second on the Stallions to Sophia Finotti’s 93. “The last few years I’ve filled my role and learned ‘the DeSales way,’ but this year I’ve been given an opportunity to become more of a finisher. My coaches and teammates trust me.”
DeSales lost to Mariemont 15-14 in a semifinal last year and 9-8 to Chagrin Falls in a semifinal in 2017.
The Stallions led 12-5 with 19:05 left before Mariemont scored five unanswered goals. The closest the Warriors got was 12-11 on a goal by Abbie Lyons with 4:10 remaining, and DeSales goalkeeper Carmela Cua stopped Mariemont’s last chance when she stopped a bouncing shot from Campbell with 20 seconds left.
Marah Campbell and Marley Megowan each had three goals to lead Mariemont, which finished 14-4 and fell short of its second consecutive state title.
“Our motto all year has been ‘unfinished business,’ ” Stallions coach Joe Finotti said. “We’re not done yet. We have one more game, but I’d be lying if I said we hadn’t had an eye on this game for quite some time.”