Senior Mercedes Crestanello scores the first goal against Ursuline Academy. Inji Kang’19/Media editor.
The Viking Field Hockey squad waits to be honored after the game. Aden Weiser’19/Staff
Having beaten Bishop Watterson for the district title, our field hockey girls spent a tough week training for the state tourney. Their hard work came to fruition as they entered the State Final Four matches on Friday, November 2.
Reaching the state semifinals was so momentous for the Vikings that the school offered transportation for fans who wanted to watch CA play at Upper Arlington. Academy’s penultimate matchup was against Ursuline Academy, who had won the Dayton district title against Kettering Fairmont 2-1.
The Vikes started play on the offensive, but the Lions’ defense blocked shot after shot, keeping the game scoreless until right before the half, when Mercedes Crestanello’19 put one in to raise the score to 1-0.
After using the halftime break to regroup, the Vikings returned to the offensive, and within 5 minutes Crestanello scored another goal to raise the total to 2-0. The Lions tried to come back from this deficit, but CA’s defense was too strong, blocking every attempt on goal that Ursuline made.
With just 14 minutes to go in the game, Carolyn Bowman’19 raised the total score to 3-0, the game’s final tally. The Vikings played more defensively after gaining such a comfortable score margin, preventing Ursuline from any sort of retaliation.
The Vikings advanced to the state finals after the 3-0 victory. Their opponent, determined right after the CA game ended, was the Hudson Explorers, who beat the then-state champion Thomas Worthington Cardinals in a fierce overtime battle, 3-2.
Academy returned to Upper Arlington the following day, Saturday, November 3, to face Hudson in the State Finals.
The Vikings started out their championship run with a speedy goal scored by Carolyn Vaziri’22 in the first 10 minutes of play.
Hudson quickly tried to retaliate, but goalie Alex Phelps’20 saved an impressive shot, sending the Vikes and Explorers into a series of exchanges that ended in a Hudson corner. The Explorers tried to score, but Academy’s rock-solid defense prevented the ball from going in.
Callista Popp’19 led her team in two corners to try and score with 10 minutes to go in the half, but the team could not capitalize. The Vikes had a missed long shot 24 minutes in, however, that Charlotte Adams’21 rebounded to raise the score to 2-0.
The Vikes tried to use this momentum to score again with 3 minutes left in the half, but the failed play was sent into a corner, led by Avie Smith’19, that finished off the half.
Hudson returned to the second half focusing on their defense. After blocking all of Academy’s attempts on goal, the Explorers almost scored off of a long shot with 22 minutes to go in the game. Academy’s defense saved the ball and sent the Vikes back into offensive play.
CA and Hudson exchanged possession over and over for most of the second half, and each had some impressive attempts on goal, but both goalies would not concede.
Finally, with 8 minutes left in the game, Bowman hit a long shot that was tipped into goal by Jenny L’hommedieu’19, giving the Vikes a 3-0 margin.
Hudson tried to come back from this deficit, but any attempts on goal were blocked by the Vikes’ defense. As the clock ran down and a Viking victory drew near, fans started singing the Academy alma mater, sealing a state championship run in the books.
OHSAA staff recognized Hudson, the state runner-ups, for its astounding 16-3 record and a win the day before over a 6-time state champion team.
The Vikes were recognized for their historic season run. CA ended the season 20-0 and finished with a score margin of 138-1. This is Academy’s eleventh state championship.
As fans stormed the field, seniors Sydney Hill, Lexi Leader, and Smith cheered, “Best senior season ever! We were the only seniors who hadn’t won [a state title], so we wanted it. We all worked so well together.” Captain Sammie Kass’19 said, “This game tops off my whole career . . . achieving this feels amazing.”
Although seniors Bowman, Crestanello, Hill, Kass, Leader, L’Hommedieu, Popp, and Smith will be missed next season, a steady base of underclassmen has proved that they are ready to remain on the podium for a while.