Boys Lacrosse: Watterson beats DeSales, Upper Arlington defeats St. Charles in regional finals
Watterson 9, DeSales 7
Believing it underachieved when it faced DeSales during the regular season played a role in how the Watterson boys lacrosse team approached the rematch May 27 with the Division II, Region 7 championship on the line.
The third-seeded Eagles rallied from an early two-goal deficit to win 9-7 over the top-seeded and host Stallions, advancing them to a state semifinal June 2 against Cincinnati Mariemont at Centerville.
The last time Watterson was in a state semifinal was in 2017, when it lost to Mariemont 6-5.
The Eagles, who lost to DeSales 12-10 on April 14, improved to 14-6 while the Stallions finished 13-5.
“We were really, really determined,” coach Chris Sauter said. “We came in with a chip on our shoulder.”
DeSales took a 4-2 lead on an unassisted goal by Jackson Carawan with 7 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first half, but the Eagles got consecutive goals from Henry Blevins and Jack Henry to tie it at 4.
Watterson trailed 5-4 at halftime but got back-to-back goals by Chris Sauter Jr. to take a 6-5 lead.
“Our team played great,” Henry said. “I’m just glad we got a (win) at the end. We lost to them in the (regular) season and we’ve just got to keep moving on forward. We've got a big week ahead of us.”
Watterson made it 7-5 on a goal by Braxton Rundio with 4:05 to go in the third quarter, but the Stallions answered with goals by David Chintala and Andrew Mahle to tie it.
Andrew Bettendorf scored the winning goal with 6:01 remaining, and Henry added a score with 35.2 seconds to go.
According to coach Sauter, improved faceoff play by Angelo Lamatrice and Blevins during the second half contributed to his team controlling more of the action.
Rundio finished with three goals to lead the Eagles. Carawan, Mahle and Kahleb Lang all scored two goals for the Stallions.
“They adjusted how they approached faceoffs and how they approached their offense,” Stallions coach Matt Triplet said. “They adapted to how we were sliding, and with some of the mistakes we were making, they took advantage of that. We’re a really young team.”
Upper Arlington 11, St. Charles 9
In Upper Arlington coach Kyle Olson’s view, the first close game of the postseason for the Golden Bears came down to a return to fundamentals and served as an important test with a week — or a little more — to go in the season.
Top-seeded UA scored four of the first five goals of the second half of the Division I, Region 3 final May 27, only to have visiting and third-seeded St. Charles twice draw within one goal before the Bears used a crucial faceoff win in the final minute to set up an insurance score in an 11-9 win.
“We couldn’t seem to stretch the lead like we normally do … (but) hopefully this will harden us for the next round and we’ll go from there,” said Olson, whose team had outscored its first three postseason opponents 57-6. “We finally started to run our offense right (in the fourth quarter), moving the ball and playing together. It’s when everyone goes their own way that makes it tough, but St. Charles played hard. Any time you are pushed like that, you have to push back.”
Chris Mazzaferri scored the last of his three goals with 23 seconds left to send UA into a state semifinal June 1 at Bellbrook against Cincinnati St. Xavier or Springboro.
Matt Selan scored his second goal with 47 seconds left to make it 10-9, the Cardinals’ second goal in 2:19, but Maryland recruit Shea Keethler won the ensuing faceoff for UA and made a key pass to Mazzaferri, who hesitated before firing his shot past St. Charles goalie Brodie Sullivan.
“I saw a double-team come and I spun back, the defender overplayed me and I took a jab to the right. From there, it was one-on-one with the goalie and an easy finish,” Mazzaferri said. “We settled back into what we do best.”
UA led 8-5 late in the third before goals from Selan and Tommy O’Reilly made it 8-7. Marco Landolfi and Leo Caine scored 78 seconds apart midway through the fourth quarter before St. Charles got scores from Nathan Burkey and Griffin Burkey to again make it a one-goal game.
O’Reilly had three goals, Burkey had two and Sullivan made 20 saves as the Cardinals, who were playing without injured leading scorer Blake Roller, finished 16-6.
UA goalie Mac Scholl stopped 11 saves.
“That was an All-American performance (from Sullivan). He was unbelievable. He’s kept us in games that were close and he probably helped us steal a couple games,” Cardinals coach Kyle Andrews said. “Our guys battled every second. They never thought they were out of it.”