DeSales Roundup: Stallions girls lacrosse squad falls in regional final

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
DeSales junior midfielder Gianna Cua (left) battles Watterson's Brooke Biagi for possession during the Division II, Region 7 final May 28. The host Stallions lost 10-9 to finish 14-7. Cua finished the season with 61 goals.

DeSales girls lacrosse coach Joe Finotti expected a competitive game with Watterson in the Division II, Region 7 final May 28, and that is what the Stallions and Eagles got.

In the end, that was not enough for top-seeded DeSales to sustain its chase for a second consecutive state championship and third in five years.

The Stallions twice fell behind by four goals and got within one with 2 minutes, 58 seconds to play but lost to the third-seeded Eagles 10-9. Sophomore attacker Ella Dingman’s three goals and two assists and two goals from freshman attacker Isabella Carfagna paced DeSales, which finished 14-7.

Junior goalie Abby Reagan made 11 saves.

“We tried to claw our way back and it was too big a hole in a game like this,” Finotti said. “The girls gave it their best and we came up a little short. Watterson played a good game.

“Both of us being CCL teams and having a ton of familiarity, these are always good games. I thought it’d be a competitive game and that held up. It was a good, solid game and we came up short.”

The Stallions’ possessions were limited in the second half as Watterson burned time off the clock, but they took advantage of their chances. Dingman, Carfagna and junior midfielder Gianna Cua scored in a stretch of 4:42 to make it 9-8, and freshman attacker Olivia Sanabria added a goal with 2:58 to go, but that was the last score of the game.

“They have so much potential for fast breaks that that really made me nervous. I told our girls with 15 minutes left let’s just try to hold the ball and run the time out but every turnover, they’d go right down and score,” Watterson coach Eileen Barrett said. “We had to stall them as much as we could. There are so many girls we didn’t want to have the ball. Most of their goals come from their girls just running it in, and that is a huge challenge to defend.”

Senior midfielder Gabby Mahaffey, an Akron recruit and first-team all-region and all-state honoree, scored a team-leading 63 goals with 50 draw controls and Cua had 61 goals. Dingman had 49 goals and led the Stallions in assists (35) and draw controls (55) to earn first-team all-region.

Reagan made 154 saves on 272 shots (56.6 percent) and was named first-team all-region and second team all-state with Cua.

Finotti, whose team won its sixth consecutive CCL championship and fifth Central Independent League title in a row this season, said the loss to Watterson serves as a teachable moment.

“You can’t assume anything,” he said. “You can’t assume you’re good enough. You can’t assume you don’t need to work on something. You can’t assume you can’t coach better. All of us have to do better. That’s what we’ll try to do next year.”

Boys volleyball team

falls in regional semi

Some of the boys volleyball team’s core players are eligible to return after the Stallions went 19-5 overall, losing 21-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-16 at third-seeded Olentangy in a Division II East Region semifinal May 25.

Second-seeded DeSales, which went 5-1 in the CCL to share the title with St. Charles, got 15 kills from junior outside hitter Michael Cavanaugh, six kills from senior middle blocker Jude Agyapong and five kills and nine digs from senior setter/opposite hitter Tony Swartz against Olentangy.

Cavanaugh, who had a team-leading 235 kills, was first-team all-region along with junior libero Sam Marchio, who had a team-high 453 digs. Sophomore setter/opposite hitter Cameron Hoying recorded 150 digs and a team-best 52 aces.

Swartz had 100 kills and 126 digs and sophomore outside hitter Camren White finished with 98 kills and 50 aces.

“We have a ton of ability (coming back) and I really expect us to get better,” coach Andy Feltz said. “We have some young guys who can play. We just have to fix some of the things we weren’t good at this year. Having the libero and outsides back, we can build around that core. It’s a lot easier than having your middles back and replacing your setters.”

DeSales coach Tom Neubert hugs senior Matthew Stewart following a 4-3 loss at Bloom-Carroll in a Division II district final May 26. The Stallions finished 12-18-1 after a 1-7 start.

Baseball team

showed progress

Junior outfielder Ryan Gustafson is one of several players eligible to return after the baseball team finished as Division II district runner-up despite being seeded 10th in the tournament.

Gustafson surged late in the season and batted second as the season progressed. He finished with a .319 average, 23 hits and seven RBI.

Senior Aiden Cannon (SS/2B/P) had a team-best .353 average with 30 hits, three behind team leader and classmate Connor Huzicka’s 33. Huzicka (2B/SS/P) had a team-high five home runs as well as 31 RBI.

DeSales finished 12-18-1 after starting 1-7.

“People got to see what we were really capable of,” coach Tom Neubert said. “It took us a while as coaches and as players to get to the point where we were playing the way we’re supposed to play and playing the game the right way. It took us a lot longer than most teams, but going into (the district final) I couldn’t have been more confident in and proud of what my kids had done, all the time they put in to keep working on their craft.”

After starting the season 0-2, senior Matthew Stewart finished 6-3 with a 2.94 ERA, 31 strikeouts and 16 walks in 52 1/3 innings.

Other expected returnees include sophomores Niko Kreuzer (P/3B/OF) and Cedric Stewart (P/1B/OF). Kreuzer was 2-3 with a 3.94 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 12 walks in 32 innings and Stewart batted .275 with 14 hits and 15 RBI.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

BASEBALL

Record: 12-18-1 overall

•CCL standings: Hartley (6-2), DeSales (5-3), St. Charles and Watterson (both 4-4), Ready (1-7)

Seniors lost: Aiden Cannon, Connor Huzicka, Andrew Kegleswitch, Drew Smith and Matthew Stewart

Key returnees: Ryan Gustafson, Niko Kreuzer and Cedric Stewart

Postseason: Defeated Granville 6-3; def. Utica 8-0; lost to Bloom-Carroll 4-3 in Division II district final

GIRLS LACROSSE

Record: 14-7 overall

CCL standings: DeSales (2-0), Watterson (1-1), Hartley (0-2)

CIL standings: DeSales (7-0), Watterson (7-1), Columbus School for Girls (5-3), Bexley (4-3-1), Columbus Academy (4-4), Hartley (3-5), Granville (2-4-1), Wellington (1-6), Buckeye Valley (0-7)

Seniors lost: Lauren Clayton, Carmela Cua, Sydney Eader, Delaney Harmon, Bella Lomeo, Gabby Mahaffey, Grace Nordmoe and Izzy Sauer

Key returnees: Isabella Carfagna, Gianna Cua, Ella Dingman, Abby Reagan and Olivia Sanabria

Postseason: Def. Olentangy Berlin 13-6; def. Hartley 13-7; lost to Watterson 10-9 in Division II, Region 7 final

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

Record: 19-5 overall

CCL standings: DeSales and St. Charles (both 5-1), Watterson (2-4), Hartley (0-6)

Seniors lost: Jude Agyapong, Noah Garrick, Nico Genovise, Casey Koller, Jamie Momoh, John Nguyen, Tony Swartz and Andrew Tran

Key returnees: Michael Cavanaugh, Cameron Hoying, Sam Marchio and Camren White

Postseason: Def. Hartley 25-14, 25-20, 25-17; lost to Olentangy 21-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-16 in Division II East Region semifinal