DeSales Roundup: Stallions girls lacrosse goalies Carmela Cua, Abby Reagan embrace timeshare

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
DeSales goalies Carmela Cua (left) and Abby Reagan are thriving while sharing time in net as the Stallions seek their second consecutive Division II state title. Cua, a senior, missed the beginning of the season because of an injury. Reagan, a junior, was a freshman starter two years ago at Westerville South.

Although the job of starting goalie for the DeSales girls lacrosse team was Abby Reagan’s to start the season, both because of her talent and an injury to incumbent Carmela Cua, Reagan admitted to being nervous.

Reagan, who was a freshman starter at Westerville South in 2019 before transferring to DeSales this year, hoped she would have a good relationship with Cua, who was in net two years ago as the Stallions won their second Division II state championship in four years but missed the beginning of this season because of a wrist injury.

“That’s really important. We’re working toward the same goal,” Reagan said. “That goes back to just being a team, being a family.”

Rather than being immersed in a rivalry, Cua and Reagan have embraced the camaraderie of their positions and a split of playing time since Cua returned a week into the season. Reagan, a junior and Mount Union commit, typically starts and plays the first half, with Cua, a senior, taking the second half.

“It’s been great. In the past, it was pretty much only me so it’s been great to have another goalie mind. We can work off each other and it’s great competition,” Cua said. “Just having someone who knows what it’s like to be in there, we can notice things and help each other with that mental aspect.”

Reagan made 36 saves on 43 shots through eight games. Cua had 20 saves on 23 shots in her first six appearances.

DeSales was 4-4 overall, 2-0 in the Central Independent League and 1-0 in the CCL before playing Watterson on April 15.

“I’m blessed to be able to coach those two,” coach Joe Finotti said. “The fact that they’re both so good and have accepted this role as we split time is huge for the team. What we’re doing is working. The positivity they bring to each other and the rest of the team is tremendously important.”

Cua and Annie Hazelton split time in 2018, a system that was to have carried over to 2019 before Hazelton was injured in the preseason and missed her senior year.

Cua sprained her left wrist last fall playing soccer, in which she also is a goalie, but uncertainty over whether she had torn cartilage delayed her rehabilitation into the winter.

“I just started with passing some days and progressed to hand-eye coordination with Abby,” Cua said. “I did high shots in warmups so I didn’t have to rotate my wrist as much for the lows, then I incorporated those.”

Reagan said she experienced “total culture shock” coming to DeSales from South, but quickly embraced the program and its lofty expectations.

“Culture is so important to me. Creating a great environment where we all trust each other is huge,” Reagan said. “I love training. I love playing. I love getting into the weight room and then hitting the field and getting in stick work and work in the net. I love to be that positive energy. That’s super important to me.”

Jessica Melvin was batting .633 through nine games, leading a surging DeSales offense. Melvin went 6-for-6 in a 26-25 loss at New Albany on April 6.

Softball team hits

offensive surge

Softball coach Rick Conti said some of his area colleagues reached out to see if the score of a 26-25 loss at New Albany on April 6, one in which the teams combined for 48 hits and leadoff hitter Jessica Melvin went 6-for-6, was accurate.

DeSales followed that up the next day with a 19-10, eight-inning win at Dublin Coffman, and was 5-6 before beginning CCL play April 14 at Watterson.

“That’s how we hit sometimes. Once we get on fire, it’s contagious,” Conti said. “We’re streaky when it comes to hitting and right now from top to bottom, we’re hitting consistently.”

Melvin was batting .633, Lauren Mitevski had a .531 average and Kendall Gonya was batting .500 through nine games. The Stallions averaged 13.4 runs in their wins and after losing a three-run, seventh-inning lead at Coffman scored nine times in the eighth, but on the flip side were no-hit in a 17-0 loss at Westerville South on March 30 and lost 12-1 in five innings at then-undefeated Grove City on April 8.

Conti pointed to an errorless outing against New Albany as another sign of growth.

“In general, we’re making progress. We’re getting better defensive play and we have given up a lot of runs in some games, but we’re getting better in given situations,” Conti said. “We’re hungry and that might make our jobs as coaches easier.”

Youth helping 

boys lacrosse team

Boys lacrosse coach Matt Triplet has had plenty of top-level talent see the field as freshmen in his 16 seasons, including eventual Ohio State players Jack DeSantis and Carter Hilleary in recent years, but this season has brought a first.

Five freshmen – goalie Gavin Burns, attacker Blake Carawan and defenders Drew Jones, Cooper Simpson and Braden Wakefield – have earned spots in the starting lineup.

“The fact that we’re 3-1 with that many freshmen on the field at once is in and of itself a pretty good accomplishment and speaks to their talent and how hard they’re working,” Triplet said. “We’ve started two or three freshmen in certain years but to have four of them on the defensive side, that’s a different dynamic. The freshman talent (in previous years) has been spread out across the team instead of mostly on one side of the ball.”

DeSales was 3-1 before playing Watterson on April 14 and ranked fifth in the state in Division II by LaxNumbers.com entering last week.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave