The Upper Arlington High School girls lacrosse team’s defense helped the Golden Bears build a five-goal first-half lead over New Albany in the Division I state final June 1 at Ohio Wesleyan, and one final stand clinched yet another championship.
Three goals from Sophie Ballou and two goals from Camryn Callaghan and Riley Kuehn — who also had two assists — paced UA to a 12-10 win over the Eagles and its fifth consecutive title in a rematch of last year’s final.
The Bears led 8-3 late in the first half and 10-6 with 14 minutes, 25 seconds left before Blythe Ferguson and Emily Rezabek scored from free position 48 seconds apart to get New Albany within 11-10. But the Eagles did not get off a shot the rest of the way and UA had just one, that being an insurance goal from Ava Walters with 3:39 remaining after the Bears burned more than three minutes off the clock.
Jamie Stummer caused a turnover from New Albany’s Liz Beckner in the final minute to give UA possession the rest of the way. The Eagles had 13 giveaways to UA’s eight.
“That was just a situation where we had to do everything we could to just crash and get to the ball and get it back,” Stummer said. “They just came out stronger (in the second half). They played much better and gave us some problems. They had more chances and our defense had to play smarter and not give them as much shooting space.”
“That was something we practiced,” UA coach Wendy Pinta said.
Stummer was one of five senior starters for UA, which finished 20-2-2 and won the program’s 10th championship despite returning just three starters.
Rezabek, an Ohio State recruit, had four goals to lead New Albany, which finished 19-4 and came up short of its first championship since 2013, when it was in Division II. Alyssa Kneedler and Chloe Platte each added two goals and goalkeepers Aubrey Bagenstose and Julia Brisk made two saves apiece.
UA goalie Amanda Strayton made five saves.
“We’re disappointed that we had some good looks in the first half and didn’t capitalize, but you can’t turn the ball over like we did. That hurt,” Eagles coach Dave Ferguson said. “We got it back together, but that first half really hurt.”