The momentum of Friday night’s Division II, Region 7 girls lacrosse final seemed to depend almost exclusively on which team was winning draws.
Top-seeded Watterson controlled the first six draws against visiting DeSales to take a four-goal lead, and the third-seeded Stallions used 10 draw controls spanning both halves to pull off a stunning turnaround and double the lead by four goals in the final 11 minutes. .
But the final draw went to the Eagles, and that allowed them to use patience and strong passing to complete a late comeback of their own.
Watterson’s Katie Bettendorf wound her way in from about 30 yards and beat DeSales goalie Carmen Lacey with a shot into the top of the net 1:59 into overtime, giving the Eagles a 14-13 win and their third consecutive regional championship.
“We knew we didn’t want to force anything and if we just settled down and tried not to force our passes… we all knew what we wanted to do,” said Bettendorf, a senior midfielder. “I don’t even think I saw the ball cross (into the net). I just saw everybody else celebrating and then I knew.
“All we talked about was win the draw, win the game, and if we worked together, we’d get it done.”
Meg Newcomb scored four goals and made four assists and Avery McClain added three goals and 16 draw controls for Watterson (17-3), which will play Cincinnati Indian Hill in a state semifinal Wednesday at Dayton Chaminade Julienne.
Boys lacrosse: Dublin Jerome, Upper Arlington win regional titles
Lacrosse: Olentangy Liberty girls, Upper Arlington girls, DeSales boys win regional titles
DeSales led 12-8 with 7:20 left in regulation before Newcomb scored twice and Gigi Francati and Sophia Monesi each added one goal in a span of 4:35 to tie it.
Freshman Campbell Heald put the Stallions back in front with 1:55 left before Newcomb bounced in a goal with 56 seconds to go. Francati missed netting the game-winner by inches in the final seconds, then McClain won the draw to set up Watterson’s final charge.
McClain, a junior midfielder, has become Watterson’s primary draw specialist during the postseason.
“I’ve been taking draws since the fourth grade,” McClain said. “I just kind of always had a thing for it. We always practice line drills, we always practice jumping up in the air and getting the ball, and we do that so much that I just think I’ve gotten a lot better at it over time.”
Anna Bogan, one of three freshman starters in the midfield for DeSales along with Caroline Cross and Lexie Whorton, led the Stallions (12-9) with four goals. Isabella Carfagna added three and Heald and Olivia Sanabria each scored twice.
Lacey made 10 saves. Watterson goalie Amelia Brown stopped three shots.
“The momentum shifted in the draw circle and we just couldn’t win like we were for a while,” DeSales coach Joe Finotti said. “We played five or six freshmen and two or three sophomores. The future is bright for this program. This stings, but we had a lot of fight to get here.”
The game was the fourth in a row between the long-time rivals to be decided by one goal. The teams have combined to win the past eight regionals.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Watterson beats DeSales in OHSAA girls lacrosse regional final