Field Hockey: Watterson edges Columbus Academy in state semifinal

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Watterson's Cailin O'Reilly and Alex Picolo celebrate after Picolo scored in the second overtime to give the Eagles a 1-0 win over Columbus Academy in a state semifinal Nov. 5 at Thomas Worthington.

When the Watterson field hockey team beat Columbus Academy 3-1 on Sept. 9, it helped the Eagles win the COFHL-East Division title at 8-0.

The teams met again Nov. 5 with the stakes much higher.

Alex Picolo’s goal with 1 minute, 53 seconds remaining in the second overtime lifted Watterson to a 1-0 win in a state semifinal at Thomas Worthington.

The Eagles improved to 17-3 and will play Hudson for the state title Nov. 7 at Thomas.

Hudson beat Cincinnati Indian Hill 4-0 in the other semifinal Nov. 5.

Watterson's Molly Griffith jumps up and screams while Zoe Coleman (23) and Lauren Neutzling (11) embrace as the Eagles celebrate their 1-0 double-overtime win over Columbus Academy in a state semifinal Nov. 5.

“I’m so happy for her because she has worked hours and hours on that play that she scored off of — ball coming around from the opposite side and her on the back side, her coming around the back side and putting it in,” Watterson coach Janet Baird said of Picolo’s goal.

Academy finished 18-2.

“I thought our kids played hard,” Vikings coach Anne Horton said. “I thought we left it on the field. Our defense was outstanding and came up with goal line saves on multiple occasions. We did what we had to do to try to put us in a position to win and you have to convert when you have those opportunities. We didn’t do that and they did and we’re going home.”

Watterson goalie Caroline Dunham and Academy goalie Sarah Silver each had three saves.

The Eagles are seeking their first state title since 2009 and fourth overall.

Academy, which has won 24 district titles, was looking for its third consecutive state championship and 13th overall.

Columbus Academy's Regan Cornelius and Watterson's Anne Marie Ruess collide during a state semifinal Nov. 5 at Thomas Worthington. The Vikings lost 1-0 in double overtime. Cornelius was one of nine seniors in the program.

“That was such an amazing sporting event for both teams and that is one of our most respected opponents,” Baird said. “We knew it was going to be this type of game. We talked about it and talked about it. It’s a gut check big time.”

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