Boys Lacrosse: Upper Arlington, Dublin Jerome to meet for Division I state title
BELLBROOK – Nursing its third one-goal lead of a Division I state semifinal June 1, the Upper Arlington boys lacrosse team saw an opportunity to blow the game open to start the fourth quarter.
The Golden Bears started the period on a man advantage thanks to a penalty for illegal body contact to the head and seized control, scoring three goals in a 2-minute, 24-second span to pull away for an 11-7 win over Cincinnati St. Xavier and their first state final berth since 2016.
Chris Mazzaferri scored his second and third goals in that spurt, Tanner Gillie finished a hat trick and Marco Landolfi added a hat trick of his own as UA improved to 21-1 and advanced to play Dublin Jerome in the state final at 7 p.m. June 5 at Ohio Wesleyan.
“You can never predict exactly what will happen, but we knew it would be a hard-fought battle,” Landolfi said. “This was about getting back to what we usually do, being selfless and taking open shots.”
The Bears dominated possession throughout and used a patient approach against St. Xavier’s zone defense, a scheme coach Kyle Olson said UA rarely has seen this season.
Will Cohen scored the first of his two goals and Mazzaferri, Landolfi and Gillie each added one to stake the Bears to a 4-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
St. Xavier got goals from Luke Vrsansky and Nicholas Langenderfer to make it 4-2 at halftime, and the teams traded goals over the final 3:20 of the third before UA opened its late lead.
“They play a lot of zone, really trying to slow the game down, so we had to be patient,” Olson said. “We haven’t seen a team run it for four quarters. We had to do a lot of damage between the lines.”
Bears goalie Mac Scholl made 11 saves. Bombers goalie Zachary Bohn stopped 13 shots.
Vrsansky, an Air Force commit, scored three goals to lead St. Xavier, which finished 10-11.
The Bears defeated Jerome 12-4 in the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association championship game May 8 at Hudson Western Reserve.
“It feels great to be back in the final,” Landolfi said. “But it won’t feel too great if we don’t finish things off.”
Dublin Jerome 14, Cleveland St. Ignatius 13 (OT)
In a Division I state semifinal at Uniontown Green, Jerome trailed for much of the game but rallied to win on a goal by Ethan Siddell with 2:20 left in overtime off an assist from Carter Barco.
The Celtics trailed 13-10 with 4:56 to go but got consecutive goals by Jackson Byrne, Barco and Ian Dean to force overtime.
The win advanced Jerome to the state championship game June 5 against UA and improved its record to 21-1, while St. Ignatius finished 13-6. The Celtics also beat the Wildcats 20-15 on March 27.
“The thing we did to get it done is the kids just kept fighting,” coach Andy Asmo said. “We tied it up. The guys put their heads down and we won in overtime. We were able to make plays at the end and keep our composure.”
Jerome trailed by scores of 3-1 and 6-3 in the first half and headed into the second half behind 8-4.
St. Ignatius took its biggest lead at 10-5 in the third quarter before the Celtics scored five consecutive goals, including one by Barco that tied it at 10 early in the fourth quarter.
“They’re an excellent team, but at the end of the day, we made one more play than they did,” Asmo said.