New Albany Roundup: Eagles boys soccer team enjoying deep tourney run

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Gavin Miriello (right) and the New Albany boys soccer team won their first Division I district title Oct. 31 with a 3-1 victory over Upper Arlington. The Eagles then defeated Pickerington North 2-1 on Nov. 4 and Thomas Worthington 2-1 on Nov. 7 to earn a regional title.

New Albany boys soccer coach Johnny Ulry wore a relieved smile Oct. 31 after the second-seeded Eagles held off visiting and 10th-seeded Upper Arlington 3-1 to win their first Division I district championship since 2016.

Calvin Criger scored in the first half to tie the game, Jack Poulos netted the eventual game-winner less than a minute into the second half and Derrick Ellwood added insurance with two minutes to go.

“I had thought we had the better of the game early and then they had a nice counter (by Theo Constantinides) to take the lead. The kid had a great finish,” Ulry said. “We scored early in the second half and then Upper Arlington had the better of it for the next 35 minutes. We definitely held on. The boys had to dig deep.”

Poulos, a sophomore, was promoted to varsity near the end of the regular season.

“We got the ball wide, Gabe Anthony crossed it and somehow got it to me, I hit it off my knee and in it went,” Poulos said. “I changed positions, going from being a midfielder to a forward, and that’s why I came up. It was an easy adjustment. My teammates have been great, very supportive.”

New Albany then defeated Pickerington North 2-1 in a regional semifinal Nov. 4 at home to improve and Thomas Worthington 2-1 on Nov. 7 to capture its second regional title and improve to 17-3-1 and 59-15-2 overall since winning its previous district title.

Against the Panthers, Derrick Harris scored late in the first half and Henri Heyes headed in the winning goal off a corner kick with 20 minutes, 22 seconds left. 

In the regional final, the visiting Eagles overcame a 1-0 deficit. Harris converted in front of the net with 29:12 left in the second half, and Kamer Kist finished from about 30 yards. Will Fischer recorded both assists.

New Albany plays Cincinnati St. Xavier in a state semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 11, at Xenia. The final is Saturday, Nov. 14, at Mapfre Stadium.

The Eagles lost in the second round of the tournament in 2017, fell to Dublin Jerome in penalty kicks in 2018 for their only loss of that season and were shut out by St. Charles 3-0 in a district final last year.

“Playing in (a district final) last year helped us,” Ulry said. “Last year at this point, the majority of our team was sophomores. We returned them and we relied on our younger classes while our seniors have done a great job of stepping up. For us to be as young as we are and doing what we’re doing, I’m very proud of that.”The Eagles were seeking the second state tournament appearance in program history and first since 2001.

“This is awesome. This is what we’ve been wanting,” Poulos said after the district final. “But that doesn’t mean we’re done.”

New Albany's Cassidy Clapham (left) Olentangy Liberty's Grace Hughes battle for the ball earlier this season. The Eagles finished 14-1-1 after losing to Columbus Academy 1-0 in a district final Oct. 31.

Field hockey team falls short in final

The field hockey team won 14 games and reached a district final for the second consecutive year, but like last season, the Eagles were unable to get past Columbus Academy.

Senior goalie Bella Thompson made five saves in a 1-0 loss to the top-seeded Vikings on Oct. 31, and fourth-seeded New Albany finished 14-1-1. Avery Mitchell scored the game’s only goal in the final seconds of the third quarter.

“We’re all very proud that we achieved our overarching goal to return to the district finals,” coach Marissa Weldon. “Our team as a whole had a standout performance in our final game against Academy and that game showed the progress we’ve made.”

The Eagles lost to the Vikings 3-0 in a district final last year.

“Our senior leaders really stepped up to guide the team and remind us why we show up every day, for each other,” Weldon said. “It’s going to be tough to replace them, especially our captains, Bridget Driscoll, Olivia Pollack and Bella Thompson.”

Senior forward Olivia Herman and sophomore forward Cassidy Clapham shared the team lead in goals with 10. Freshman forward Paige Cornelius added eight.

Among those eligible to return are the entire starting defense of junior Meghan Kallner, sophomore Abigail Chattos and freshman Olivia Boyles as well as junior Catherine Gurd (midfielder) and sophomore Laura Mason (forward).

Girls soccer team falls to Golden Bears

The girls soccer team fell agonizingly short of program history Oct. 31, losing to visiting and eighth-seeded Upper Arlington 2-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks) in a Division I district final.

Top-seeded New Albany, which was ranked third in the final state poll, and had been seeking its first district championship, finished 16-2-1.

UA took the lead in the first half. Sophomore forward Addison Scharver tied the game with 23:59 to play, and senior defender Avery Lowden and freshman midfielder Allie Metcalf converted during the four rounds of penalty kicks.

“Missing two (penalty kicks) in regulation definitely did us under. I personally don’t think we deserved to lose but that’s what happens when you don’t take care of things in the run of play,” coach Jared Dombrowski said. “The regular season we had was amazing. (Oct. 31) cannot take away from what they accomplished during the year. We dealt with a lot but it was unfortunate that this was another obstacle we couldn’t overcome.”

New Albany played its final three games without senior forward Brooklyn Harris, a USC commit who had 32 goals and 18 assists, because of a leg injury. Senior forward/midfielder Kelis Brown is an Oklahoma commit.

Harris was league and district Player of the Year.

In addition to Metcalf and Scharver, four players who started in the district final are eligible to return in juniors Ashley Clinger (defender), Faith Grisdale (midfielder) and Bella Haas (forward) and sophomore Carolyne Young (defender).  

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekDave

FIELD HOCKEY

•Record: 14-4-1 overall

•COFHL-East standings: Watterson (8-0), Columbus Academy (7-1), New Albany (6-2), Worthington Kilbourne (5-3), Granville (3-4-1), Lancaster (3-5), Hartley (1-6-1), Bexley (1-7), Columbus School for Girls (0-6-2)

•Seniors lost: Alison Dressel, Bridget Driscoll, Sydney Fife, Olivia Herman, Olivia Pollack and Bella Thompson

•Key returnees: Olivia Boyles, Abigail Chattos, Paige Cornelius, Catherine Gurd, Meghan Kallner and Laura Mason

•Postseason: Defeated Worthington Kilbourne 2-1; def. Upper Arlington 2-1 (OT); lost to Columbus Academy 1-0 in district final

GIRLS SOCCER

•Record: 16-2-1 overall

•OCC-Ohio standings: New Albany (5-0), Pickerington North (3-1-1), Grove City (3-2), Gahanna (2-2-1), Westerville Central (1-4), Westland (0-5)

•Seniors lost: Harper Anderson, Kelis Brown, Madison Cofer, Jordan Conley, Emily Hess, Brooklyn Harris, Avery Lowden, Lily Sayre and Morgan Wiest

•Key returnees: Faith Grisdale, Bella Haas, Allie Metcalf, Kate Partridge and Addison Scharver

•Postseason: Def. Mount Vernon 7-0; def. Watkins Memorial 6-0; lost to Upper Arlington 2-1 (4-2 in penalty kicks) in Division I district final