Girls Water Polo: Upper Arlington Golden Bears cruise to regional title

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Goalie Carley Hart stopped nine shots as Upper Arlington defeated visiting Napoleon 9-2 in the North Region final May 15. The Golden Bears advanced to the state tournament May 22 at Cincinnati Princeton.

The Upper Arlington girls water polo team’s 24-0 record probably speaks for itself in terms of its level of play, but so might its performance in the North Region final May 15.

Fourteen days after edging Napoleon 9-7 in the Ohio Cup at Thomas Worthington, the host and top-seeded Golden Bears dominated play in the middle two quarters to pull away to a 9-2 win over the third-seeded Wildcats.

Caroline Colombo scored three of her four goals in that stretch, including one off a steal about 20 seconds after Caroline Porterfield made it 6-2 late in the third, as the Bears drew within two wins of capturing their 18th state championship.

“A lot of teams have figured out how we play so our coach (Caitlain Spangler) made a list of all the things Napoleon and other teams do to stop us. We’ve focused on how to counteract how teams stop us on the fast break and our pressure passing,” Colombo said. “They were definitely a challenge for us … (so) we focused this week on skills and a lot of ways to get the ball into the back of the net. We were ready tor today and I think that’s a big part of how we won by so much.”

Sophia Elliott and Addie Jay each added two goals for UA, including one apiece about a minute apart early in the second quarter to build on a 1-0 lead.

The state tournament is May 22 at Cincinnati Princeton.

Shannon Ford and Hope Buchhop scored for Napoleon. Bears goalie Carley Hart stopped the Wildcats’ other nine shots.

“We came in with a lot of energy. We knew they would be a big threat and we were prepared for that,” Hart said. “There are still things we need to work on, but the girls in the field are amazing and knew who to find when.”

UA defeated fourth-seeded Thomas 14-6 in a semifinal earlier May 15. Napoleon edged second-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 9-7 in double overtime in the other semifinal, and Kilbourne beat Thomas 11-3 in the third-place game.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave