Watterson Roundup: Field hockey team captures state title

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Watterson field hockey players and coaches pose for a photo with the state championship trophy after defeating Hudson 3-0 on Nov. 7 at Thomas Worthington.

Senior left wing Alex Picolo used the word “surreal” to describe what she and her Watterson field hockey teammates experienced after they defeated Thomas Worthington 2-1 on Oct. 31 to capture the program's first district title since 2014.

After the Eagles beat Hudson 3-0 in the state final Nov. 7 at Thomas, she said it felt like a "dream."

Picolo, senior attacker Cailin O'Reilly and junior attacker Zoe Coleman scored as Watterson avenged a 4-1 loss to the Explorers on Oct. 3 and won the fourth state championship in program history.

In the district tournament, the third-seeded Eagles advanced to their 18th consecutive final with a 7-1 win Oct. 27 over ninth-seeded Dublin Jerome. That set up the matchup at second-seeded Thomas, which they had lost to 1-0 on Sept. 11 and 3-1 on Oct. 5.

The Eagles also lost to the Cardinals 2-1 in overtime in a district final last season.

“Every year we lose at districts, so we’ve never experienced what it’s like to go beyond that,” Picolo said. “We’re all really excited that we (earned) a chance to be a part of something really great. We all just showed up (for the district final) knowing we didn’t want our season to be over and none of us wanted to accept it being our last game.”

Watterson then defeated Columbus Academy 1-0 in two overtimes in a state semifinal Nov. 5 at Thomas on a goal by Picolo. The Eagles were the only team to defeat Academy during the regular season when they won 3-1 on Sept. 9.

The Eagles previously won state titles in 1995, 2005 and 2009, with the last two coming under coach Janet Baird, who has led the program since 1996. They also were state runners-up in 1999, 2001, 2006, 2007 and 2012.

“It’s a new experience for everybody because it’s been since 2014 that we’ve made it to state, so we’ve just tried to stay in our routines, but we’re beyond excited,” said Baird, whose team finished 18-3. “None of them (had) experienced this before.”

In Watterson’s second loss to Thomas, the Cardinals scored all of their goals off penalty corners, prompting the Eagles to make adjustments that paid off in their third meeting.

“We know them so we really looked at our shortcomings and where we did not execute and tried to adjust and fix those things,” Baird said. “Some of those things we did fix. They’re a very seasoned team and have a big senior class that’s been to state three years in a row. The first two times we played them, they literally executed on 50 percent of their offensive corners, which is an amazing percentage, so we just said our corner defense had to get better. That’s one thing we’ve worked hard on.”

Picolo, who had 23 goals heading into the state tournament, and Coleman scored in the district final.

Junior midfielder Molly Griffith and O’Reilly also were instrumental in the team’s postseason run, according to Baird.

“Our corner game is not our strongest part, so we’ve had to practice a lot of our time on defensive corners and offensive corners and our defensive corners were a lot better (in the district final),” Picolo said. “We didn’t lose a lot of seniors from last year, so we were able to build off of last year and I think that has contributed a lot.

“(Being on the field hockey team has) been the best part of my four years (at Watterson), I can say that for sure. We have amazing coaches and the girls are always best friends. It’s helped me become a better person. It’s amazing to be a part of.”

Midfielder Colin Robinson was one of nine seniors on the Eagles boys soccer team, which finished 4-10-4 but reached a Division II district final.

Boys soccer team

peaked for tourney

After winning just two games during the regular season, the boys soccer team ended its season with a Division II district runner-up finish.

The sixth-seeded Eagles lost at third-seeded DeSales 2-1 on Oct. 31 in a district final to finish 4-10-4.

In a district semifinal, Watterson beat second-seeded Bloom-Carroll 1-0 on Oct. 27 after tying the Bulldogs at 2 on Oct. 1.

The Eagles are losing a nine-member senior class that was led by goalie Michael Segreto, midfielders Simon DiSabato and Colin Robinson and defenders Anthony Fultz and Marshall Musuraca.

Junior midfielders Johnny Haemmerle, Trent Maisano and Joey White and junior defender Sean Nyhus should be among the top returnees.

Others eligible to return include juniors Quentin King (defender), Jake Myers (forward), Isaac Ohlin (defender), Alex Spiers (midfielder) and Cameron Stanley (forward), sophomore Justin Das (midfielder) and freshmen Alex Ferguson (forward) and Noah Thomas (goalie).

“Trent Maisano is kind of what our offense circles around,” coach Chad Smith said. “We play a very team-oriented game, but he definitely stands out when we have the ball. He’s always great with our possession. He’s moved from the middle to an outside position and he has more space this year so that’s been fun to watch. Joey White has been fantastic this year with his gamesmanship and always talking to our boys. Alex Ferguson has been an amazing find this year. In every single game he’s played in, he’s gotten better and better.”

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

BOYS SOCCER

Record: 4-10-4 overall

CCL standings: St. Charles (4-0), DeSales (3-1), Watterson (2-2), Hartley (1-3), Ready (0-4)

Seniors lost: Simon DiSabato, Anthony Fultz, Lucas Iceman, Nick Isabelle, Marshall Musuraca, Colin Robinson, Michael Segreto, Jack Slyman and Reed Whetstone

Key returnees: Johnny Haemmerle, Trent Maisano, Sean Nyhus and Joey White

Postseason: Defeated Sparta Highland 10-0; def. Bloom-Carroll 2-1; lost to DeSales 2-1 in Division II district final