DeSales Roundup: Gabby Mahaffey helps get Stallions girls lacrosse squad moving

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Gabby Mahaffey, a senior midfielder and Akron recruit, led DeSales with 62 goals through 17 games. The top-seeded Stallions played third-seeded Watterson in the Division II, Region 7 final May 28.

Gabby Mahaffey called her role for the DeSales girls lacrosse team in her freshman and sophomore seasons as that of “a mover,” meaning she helped facilitate for her teammates and generally went wherever she was needed.

She still filled those responsibilities, even as she became the Stallions’ top offensive player during their pursuit of a second consecutive Division II state championship and third in five seasons.

The senior midfielder and Akron recruit had a team-leading 62 goals through 17 games as well as 45 draw controls, 21 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers, and top-seeded DeSales was 14-6 before playing third-seeded Watterson in the Region 7 final May 28.

“My freshman and sophomore years, I was what they call ‘a mover.’ My role was to help my teammates score goals and do what I needed to do,” Mahaffey said. “This year, I was hoping I would be that person to have my team depend on me. I feel like I’ve been able to achieve that on the field and off the field as a leader.”

Mahaffey was the team’s top scorer in nine of its first 19 games, including six-goal outings against Dayton Carroll on May 7 and Olentangy Berlin on May 22 in a Region 7 quarterfinal, and had four more games with five goals. She missed two and a half games early in the season because of a concussion.

“She’s been a big boost since she returned. She has stepped up in a huge leadership role as well,” coach Joe Finotti said. “She’s not (a) power (player). I would say she’s more crafty. She finds little angles and spaces to get into to deliver the ball to the back of the net.”

Mahaffey, who committed to Akron in February 2020 and plans to major in political science, has split time on the draw with Molly Ballard, Gianna Cua and Ella Dingman. Cua and Dingman were second and third in scoring before May 25 with 55 and 43 goals, respectively.

“As a senior and being experienced with four years on varsity, I feel like I have a lot of advice to give and I can help my teammates out in any way I can,” Mahaffey said. “My main goal is to make sure everyone on the team feels respected and knows their role. We all have to fill our roles in order to achieve a common goal.”

The regional champion faced Cincinnati Mariemont or Cincinnati Wyoming in a state semifinal June 2. The final is June 5 at Ohio Wesleyan.

DeSales lost to Mariemont 12-8 on May 1.

“I am proud of all the effort we’ve put in this season,” Mahaffey said. “We still have work to do. Hopefully all of this results in a state championship.

“We have a saying ‘together as one.’ I love our grit and hustle.” 

Devin McInerney and DeSales saw their season end with a 4-3 loss to Bloom-Carroll in a Division II district final May 26.

Schedule pays off

for baseball team

The baseball team came up short of its first Division II district championship in four years May 26, losing 4-3 at top-seeded Bloom-Carroll, but the Stallions pulling off that run despite finishing 12-18-1 impressed coach Tom Neubert regardless of the result.

Tenth-seeded DeSales advanced to the final with an 8-0 win at ninth-seeded Utica in a semifinal May 24 in which Niko Kreuzer allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked two in a complete-game victory. Aiden Cannon went 2-for-4 with four RBI.

“The pitching we’re seeing, we’ve seen 15 to 17 times including a lot of No. 1s from big programs with more depth. Now these guys are battle-tested,” Neubert said. “When we were losing all those games, I’m thinking, ‘what have I gotten us to into,’ but realizing it would eventually pay off for us.”

Connor Huzicka and Cedric Stewart had RBI hits in the district final and Kreuzer added a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to pull the Stallions within a run, but a double play ended the game.

Laugherty paces

track teams at district

Jack Laugherty of the boys track and field team finished third in the discus (132 feet, 8 inches) in the Division I, district 1 meet that concluded May 22 at Hilliard Darby, making him the program’s only regional qualifier.

It was the first regional appearance for Laugherty, a senior who also placed ninth in the shot put (41-4 3/4) at district.

At regional May 26 at Pickerington North, Laugherty finished 10th (132-5), coming up six spots shy of a state berth as the top four finishers in each event advanced to state June 4-5 at Hilliard Darby.

At district, the top four finishers in each event advanced to regional.

The boys scored nine points and finished 15th behind champion Canal Winchester (114) as 18 teams scored.

The girls scored five points and placed last of 18 teams behind champion Pickerington Central (85). Their best finishes came in the 800 relay, where Cara Jewett, Bryn Klingbeil, Elizabeth Meeker and Isabella Swallow placed sixth (1:48.79), and in the shot put, in which Marie Ndayishimye was seventh (32-1).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave