DAYTON, Ohio − A pair of Greater Cincinnati Division II lacrosse teams took the field Wednesday in the state Final Four searching for a berth in this weekend’s state championships at the Historic Crew Stadium in Columbus.
When the dust settled at Chaminade Julienne High School's Roger Glass Stadium, both teams' seasons ended one game short of the state final.
Here's how the action unfolded in Montgomery County.
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Indian Hill girls' comeback comes up short in OT to Bishop Watterson
Indian Hill girls lacrosse was making its first state tournament appearance since 2017 when the program won a state title in the first year the Ohio High School Athletic Association sanctioned the sport. Indian Hill reached the state Final Four by beating two-time defending state champion Mariemont in the regional championship game.
The Braves battled back from a pair of five-goal deficits in the second half, but Bishop Watterson notched the game-winning goal in a sudden-death overtime period for a thrilling 11-10 win to advance to Saturday morning's state final.
3 keys to Indian Hill's season-ending loss
Indian Hill and Bishop Watterson each had a possession in overtime that came up empty after the two teams battled to a 10-10 tie in regulation. Off an Eagles' restart, the line opened up for a pass to sophomore attacker Gigi Francati to score the game-winning goal with 56 seconds left in overtime. It was Francati's game-high sixth goal of the night.
— Shelby Dermer (@EnquirerShelby) June 1, 2023
Indian Hill seized momentum immediately in the game after sophomore Jessi Robinson scored a goal just 14 seconds into the game to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. That was short-lived, however, as Bishop Watterson, led by Francati and Carly Henry, scored six of the next seven goals in the first half to take a 6-2 lead into the intermission. Francati would score at the 23-minute mark of the second half to make it 7-2, a lead the Eagles would duplicate just over 10 minutes later when Sophia Monesi's goal off a rebound made it 10-5.
With its season on the line, leading scorer Lexi Larsen stepped up for Indian Hill. The Braves' leading scorer did not find the net in the first half but scored twice over a 3-0 Indian Hill run early in the second half that pulled the Braves within two at 7-5. Larsen then completed a hat trick with a goal at the 12:01 mark that started Indian Hill's push to force overtime.
— Shelby Dermer (@EnquirerShelby) June 1, 2023
Emily Eckert, who also had a hat trick, scored twice in less than four minutes and Samantha Kayne found the net to make it 10-9 with under eight minutes to go. With 6:07 left, freshman Cassie Larsen notched the game-tying goal off a restart that would end up being the final tally of regulation.
Indian Hill finishes the season 17-3. The Braves' seniors were Ninah Foad, Ella Santaiti, Emily Eckert, Lexi Heidel and Reese Tuttle.
Tuttle was Indian Hill's goalkeeper and made multiple saves in helping keep Bishop Watterson scoreless for the final 12:49 of regulation. Eckert finishes her career with 99 career prep goals and she led the Braves in assists this season and the league in draw controls. Heidel, Foad and Santaiti combined for 74 draw controls and 27 caused turnovers this year.
"I am extremely proud of our teams fight to get into the game tonight although it didn't end with a win," Indian Hill first-year head coach Samantha Herman said. "It has been a pleasure to coach this group of young women this season, especially our group of seniors."
Mariemont boys lacrosse falls to St. Francis DeSales in state semifinals
Mariemont boys lacrosse saw its bid for a fourth state championship game appearance in the last six years come to an end after an 11-6 loss to defending Division II state champion St. Francis DeSales.
Mariemont now has fallen to St. Francis DeSales in back-to-back years in the state semifinals.
3 keys to Mariemont’s season-ending loss
Mariemont senior goalie Luke Brennaman turned in a stellar performance in the net for the Warriors. Brennaman was under constant duress in the first half and kept St. Francis DeSales from pulling away after the Stallions took an early 3-0 advantage.
The two teams went into the locker room for intermission in a 4-4 tie and Brennaman denied every shot in the third quarter, shutting out for 12 minutes an offense that averaged 16.2 goals per game in its first four playoff contests.
Mariemont’s offense was rarely on the attack in the first half as the defending state-champion Stallions took the early lead and kept the pressure on the Warriors’ defense. Mariemont finally broke through with a one-man advantage when Jack Peirol scored with 6:45 left in the second quarter.
After a failure to advance on St. Francis DeSales, David Dorsten found the net for Mariemont to make it a one-goal game at 3-2. Just 26 seconds later, Mariemont won a face-off and Milo Lysaght’s goal tied the game at 3-3. Peirol would net the game-tying goal off a perfectly-placed pass from Evan Morgan with 1:35 left in the second stanza to make it 4-4 at the half.
Morgan’s goal just 48 seconds into the second half would give Mariemont its first lead of the game at 5-4.
After shutting out the high-scoring Stallions in the third quarter, a Mariemont turnover deep in its own territory opened the floodgates. Ty Hampton would score for St. Francis DeSales to make it 5-5. Just 48 seconds later, Jack Jordan would give the Stallions a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the contest.
St. Francis DeSales (19-1) went on to score five additional unanswered goals to pull away and punch its ticket to Saturday’s Division II state championship game against Olmsted Falls. Hampton had a hat trick for the Stallions while Blake Carawan and Jack Jordan each scored twice.
Mariemont junior Stuart Wells would score the final goal of the season for the Warriors with 18 seconds left in regulation.
Mariemont, which reached the state Final Four for the sixth consecutive season, finishes the year 16-5. The Warriors’ seniors were Evan Morgan, Griffin Byers, David Dorsten, Luke Brennaman, Jack Peirol, Mark Morgan and Henry Dunne.
Evan Morgan assisted on one goal and scored another. Peirol led the Warriors with two goals. Dorsten, who led the Cincinnati Hills League in goals this season, scored once.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: OHSAA lacrosse: Indian Hill girls, Mariemont boys fall in state semis