Watterson Roundup: Boys soccer team hits stride at right time
At initial glance, the Watterson boys soccer team didn’t necessarily have the résumé of a district finalist.
The Eagles didn’t pick up a win in their first eight games, including being shut out in two of their losses.
There are nine seniors in the program, but many of their top players are juniors such as midfielders Trent Maisano, Johnny Haemmerle and Joey White.
Even with only two wins heading into the postseason, Watterson found itself one step away from its first regional appearance since 2014.
That season, Watterson entered the postseason with three wins but made it to a state semifinal.
The sixth-seeded Eagles were 4-9-4 before playing Oct. 31 at third-seeded DeSales in a district title game, with the winner moving on to a regional semifinal Nov. 4 against Dayton Oakwood or Tipp City Tippecanoe. The regional final is Saturday, Nov. 7.
The tournament run was something coach Chad Smith envisioned despite his team’s record.
“We actually had a pretty good last part of our (regular) season,” Smith said. “We tied Canal Winchester (at 1 on Oct. 15) and they’re a pretty good team. We’ve had kind of a rough season in terms of who we play. We always play a tough schedule and we always will. That’s kind of my simple philosophy for being ready for the tournament.”
Watterson opened the postseason with a 10-0 win Oct. 21 over 14th-seeded Sparta Highland. The Eagles then rallied from a 1-0 deficit to beat second-seeded Bloom-Carroll 2-1 in a district semifinal Oct. 27 as senior defender Marshall Musuraca scored off an assist from Maisano and White scored the game-winner off a pass from Haemmerle.
Watterson tied Bloom-Carroll at 2 on Oct. 1. The Eagles faced a schedule that included six Division I teams and two of the area’s best Division III programs in Worthington Christian and Grandview.
“We’ve just been playing all these tough teams and that’s led us to this moment and helped us be where we are,” Maisano said. “We’ve just really improved from start to finish. (The defense has been) playing really well this year. I feel like it’s a team effort and in the end it’s all about winning. Individually speaking, it’s been a huge learning experience from freshman year. Even though it might not be reflected in our record, this program has definitely improved and it’s going uphill from here.”
Smith said senior midfielder Colin Robinson also has played a vital role along with senior goalie Michael Segreto, who is in his third season in that role.
Segreto has led a defense that also has featured senior Anthony Fultz.
“(Segreto is) a coach on the field,” Smith said. “He could not work any harder in practice or off the field. He’s a model student, recently became an Eagle scout and he’s an amazing young man and a great goalkeeper. Goalkeeping is kind of a tough spot sometimes and Michael is always ready to do his part.”
Boys team, two girls
runners make regional
The cross country program was represented at the regional level Oct. 31 at Pickerington North by its boys team in Division II and two girls in Division I.
The top seven teams and top 28 individuals from the Division II boys regional and the top 20 individuals from the Division I girls regional advanced to the state meet Saturday, Nov. 7, at Fortress Obetz.
On Oct. 24 in the 13-team Division II, district 2 meet at Hilliard Darby, the boys scored 64 points to capture the championship.
Senior Will Garey won the individual title in 16 minutes, 5.2 seconds, followed by juniors Max Latshaw (third, 16:48.1), Cris Kubatko (fourth, 16:59.8) and David Druhan (21st, 18:01.8), sophomore Finn Kephart (35th, 18:26.7) and juniors Jake Vanausdle (39th, 18:32.2) and Max Hall (50th, 18:56.6).
The girls placed seventh (150) in the 13-team Division I, district 3 meet behind champion Upper Arlington (70) as junior Chloe Demboski (18th, 20:09.5) and freshman Lucy Ragiel (19th, 20:09.5) advanced to regional.
Also competing were junior Leah Hetteberg (32nd, 20:40.1), seniors Averie Cunningham (37th, 20:57.7) and Brooklyn Brush (44th, 21:15.6), sophomore Eden Brush (54th, 21:39.6) and senior Tessa Whittaker (66th, 22:17).
“(District was a) great race for everyone, as many runners turned in (personal-best times),” coach Matt McGowan said.
Eagles teams enjoy
The third-seeded field hockey team advanced to a district final Oct. 31 at second-seeded Thomas Worthington.
The Eagles moved into the matchup by beating 16th-seeded Hartley 8-0 on Oct. 21 and ninth-seeded Dublin Jerome 7-1 on Oct. 27 to improve to 13-2.
Watterson competed in its 18th consecutive district championship game looking to avenge two losses to Thomas: 1-0 on Sept. 11 and 3-1 on Oct. 5.
The state tournament is Thursday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 7, at Thomas.
The girls soccer and girls volleyball teams also reached district championship contests.
On Oct. 28, the second-seeded soccer team beat 24th-seeded Jerome 2-1 in a shootout (6-5) in a district semifinal to advance to a district final Oct. 31 against sixth-seeded Olentangy Liberty.
The district champion played Dublin Coffman or Pickerington North in a regional semifinal Nov. 3.
Watterson opened the postseason with a 6-0 victory over 29th-seeded Chillicothe on Oct. 24 and was 15-2-1 heading into its district final.
The third-seeded volleyball team opened postseason action with a 25-5, 25-11, 25-11 win over 34th-seeded Licking Heights on Oct. 20 and beat 37th-seeded Central Crossing 25-10, 25-5, 25-14 on Oct. 22 to move into a district semifinal Oct. 28 against 20th-seeded Olentangy Berlin. Watterson improved to 14-6 with a 25-14, 25-21, 25-7 win over the Bears.
The Eagles advanced to a district final Oct. 31 against ninth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, with the winner moving on to a regional semifinal Thursday, Nov. 5, against Dublin Scioto or Liberty.