Patriots fall in regional final


The Olentangy Liberty boys soccer team settled into things after giving up an early goal, but couldn’t hammer home an equalizer despite a handful of close calls as New Albany escaped with a 1-0 win in Saturday’s Division I regional final in Marysville.

The Eagles jumped on top when Ethan Cohen scored with 31:45 left in the first half. It turned out, with the wind whipping around Impact Stadium as fiercely as it was, it was all they’d need.

The Patriots’ first real chance came about 14 minutes in, but the wind got ahold of Aidan Gordon’s cross from the corner, which ultimately sliced through the box and whipped out of bounds.

After a few more crosses met similar fates, Gordon instead tried to dribble into the box himself, but was tripped up midway through the opening half. Liberty looked for a call, hoping for a penalty kick, but didn’t get it.

The Patriots continued to push, but Chris Howski’s tight-angle shot with 12 minutes left in the half sailed high and wide. New Albany looked poised to double its lead on the ensuing restart as Londen Sears slotted a nice through ball to Gabe Anthony, but Liberty keeper Austin Bodem beat Anthony to the spot for the save.

The back-and-fourth battle continued in the second half, but neither team managed to punch anything home. The first shot by either team — not shot on goal, but shot period — of the half came more than 15 minutes into things when Wil Hornbaker ripped a long-range shot wide.

Back-to-back corners with just under 20 minutes to go nearly resulted in an equalizer, but Hornbaker’s second cross curled off the front of the cross bar before the Eagles were able to boot it out of harm’s way.

Bodem made a pair of point-blank saves to keep his team within striking distance with less than five minutes left, but New Albany was able to hold on from there.


Kaelyn Valleau scored yet again and coach Tim Lawrence earned his 400th career win as Olentangy Orange edged Dublin Jerome 1-0 in a Division I regional championship game Saturday at Marysville.

Things were scoreless until Valleau found the back of the net with 15 minutes left. It was her ninth goal of the postseason and 22nd of the season. Her two goals in the regional round both proved to be the difference in 1-0 wins.

Pioneer goalie Jadia Kershaw anchored the defense with six saves on her way to recording the shutout — her school-record 15th of the season.

Net up, Orange will take on Cincinnati Seton in today’s D-I state semifinal. The Saints defeated defending state champion Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 4-3 to punch their ticket. First kick is set for 7 p.m. at Centerville High School.


Ava Hoying collected a game-best 19 kills to lead Watterson to a four-set win over Olentangy Liberty in Saturday’s Division I regional championship at Hilliard Darby.

The Eagles won the first set 25-14 and, after the Patriots regrouped with a hard-fought 26-24 win in the second, smoothed out the scoring summary with respective wins of 25-19 and 26-24 in the third and fourth.

Ana cate Loftus and Claire Mrukowski led the Liberty attack with 13 kills apiece while Meredith Mrukowski added eight in the setback, which snapped a 10-game winning streak.

Liberty’s Lauren Sackett had a team-best three aces, Abbey Queen anchored the defense with 38 digs and Gabi Moulton ran the offense with 39 assists.

Olentangy Liberty’s Aade Rajmahon dribbles between New Albany’s Spencer Chadwick (11) and Kaden Kist (10) during the first half of Saturday’s Division I regional championship in Marysville. Liberty’s Aade Rajmahon dribbles between New Albany’s Spencer Chadwick (11) and Kaden Kist (10) during the first half of Saturday’s Division I regional championship in Marysville. Ben Stroup | The Gazette
Pioneers punch ticket to state final four

By Ben Stroup

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