Preview of Ohio Girls’ High School Championships

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This year’s state championship will have all teams within the state participating. Matchups are based on the teams current ranking which we decided on by the vote of all coaches. The stakes are high for each game played at this year’s tournament. Lose a game and your dreams of a state championship are over. All teams, whether win or lose, move to a bracket where they will play other similar teams until each team will “place” somewhere between 1st place and 12th place.

  1. Upper Arlington: After a 3rd place finish in the 2013 state championships, Upper Arlington and head coach Dan Peterkowski is looking for his teams 9th championship since 2003 when he began as head coach. In that 12 year span the only 3 years Upper Arlington has not won the championship, they were either the state champion ship runner up (2007 & 2009) or won the consolation championship game for third place (2013). Upper Arlington is undefeated in in Ohio this year, with their only two losses to out of state teams (23-2 record).
  2. Napoleon: Coach Mike Nye is leading his Napoleon Wildcats into the state championship with a 19-9-1 record and second place finish at this year’s Ohio Cup. Ten seniors are looking forward to a memorable end to their season and careers as the number 2 seeds Wildcats prepare to pay well. Senior tri captains Chloe McKay, Katie Stover and Kate Sworden as well as senior goalie Taylor Iliff are the players to watch for Napoleon. The season has been an ongoing preparation for the state tournament and the Wildcats are hoping to peak and at the state tournament. Napoleon, a perennial top 10 team, is looking for their first championship since 1999. They were the state championship runner up in 2010 under coach Jay Finn.
  3. Sycamore: Last year’s state championship runner up is looking for another great finish in this years state championship under coach Nick Hellwig. After graduating a huge senior and starting class last year, the girls of Varsity Flight 2014 have stepped up tremendously. Bolstered by recent wins over some the top teams in state, the girls are looking to make it back the finals with only one small change from the teams of the past two years…win. This year, the girls have become an all-around threat to every team in state. It is a massive team effort which has brought them this far. If one girl is down another fills the void. It is an amazing feet to watch. Sycamore is locked and loaded for state.
  4. Milford: First year head coach Kevin Metzger is leading the Milford Eagles to the state championship this year with the 2nd most wins of any team, only behind Upper Arlington. Coach Metzger states that “Our girls team has trained very hard throughout the summer on the Moose Squad as well as Milford Summer Conditioning. We have 3 very strong seniors, Sydney Connor, Lindsey Matulis, and Cara Snell who will lead the team throughout the state tournament. Despite a few injuries, we will be ready to compete at the top level this weekend.”
  5. Thomas: The Thomas Worthington Cardinals are heading into the state championships with high hopes. Under new coach Lauren Wallace they hope to return the state championship to Worthington. The Cardnal’s last championship in 2009 under coach Kimi Segaria. Don’t let their record this year fool you. They have played virtually all of their games against the top teams in the state and were very close in a 1 point loss to Upper Arlington. The team will be led by Aiden Hartsell and Abby Hartsell coming this Friday.
  6. Kilbourne: Lead by coach Lauren Wallace, this year’s Worthington Kilbourne team is on the rise. They have begun to put together a few sins late against some of the top teams in Ohio. Team leaders Courtney Fisher and Emily Bowen will lead the team into this year’s state Championship.
  7. Mason: Mason high school girls’ water polo program has seen a large change from last year’s state winning team. All of the starting lineup, as well as a few of the key substitutes graduated last season leading to a rebuilding in 2014. However, girls’ varsity coach AJ Sofio has been pleased by the play of this years’ three senior girls (Audri Johnson, Abbie Etherington and Lindsey Combs). Coach Sopho states that there has been quality play from younger players like Camille Nguyen, Caroline Wolf and a few others. Highlights of the season have been victories over Milford high school and Thomas, a close 3 – 4 loss to Sycamore, as well as going 4 – 0 at the recent Milford Tournament. Mason has a tough draw for this year’s state tournament and coach Sofio’s hope is the girls will continue to raise their level to surprise opponents as they continue through the rebuilding session.
  8. AMDG: With an improving team, AMDG and coach Zoran and Nick Long are preparing for the state tournament. Led by Senior Captain and primary center defender Taylor Brokamp, the AMDG Girls prepare for the State Tournament with recent strong tournament performances at Milford and Sylvania. Lefty Amanda Puthoff and Goalie Hannah McKaig anchor a strong defense while Senior Keira Hassel provides a spark in the counter attack. Supported by Senior centers Ava Oelrich and Maddie Nurre provide opportunities for an improved offense. AMDG looks to rise in the ranks with overcoming close defeats over the course of the season. Senior center defender Kate Ducey says “our team is positioned to succeed because of our blend of talents, and it helps that the upper-class is willing to help develop our new players’ skill!” The team looks to contribute to the young history of the team this year.
  9. Princeton: The Princeton Vikings and coach Jaclyn Jones head into this year’s state championship with hopes of improving their overall record and surprising some of the higher ranked teams. Coach Jones states “Princeton HS Girls water polo team is a small but mighty team. We are a young team with a lot of talent in the works. Our captain leaders are Senior Caitlyn Shea and Junior Hannah Rust. We have fought our way through many hard games and will continue to do so for the remainder of the season. We have a hand full of freshman who start and play a lot of minutes for the Vikings. Freshman starter athletes who have shown a lot of potential are Paige Wantlin and Katie Hiles. We look forward to a great weekend at the State Tournament.”
  10. Perry: Perry High School Water Polo is in its first year of competition. After the retirement of long time GlenOak Water Polo coach Jeff Burrows in the spring of 2014, the Perry High School water polo team was formed by Jeff and Eric Spaulding, the current Perry High School swim coach. Coach Burrows states “The first year team has steadily improved as the season has gone on getting their first win at Milford Invitational on October 5th .The win came with improved player skills and the team focused on making less negative stats(i.e. bad passed, steals, etc.). Perry High School Water Polo plans to continue their improvement capping their season wins over better ranked teams in the up and coming state championships.”
  11. Sylvania: The eight girls that make up the Sylvania Girls water polo team are looking to ride recent momentum into the state tournament. Despite the small team and several new players just this year, the team is peaking at the right time. Led by captains Maya Douglas and Macey Feldstein, the girls are looking forward to the new State Tournament format and to finish out the season strong.
  12. St. Ursula: First year coach Karl Strauss is leading St. Ursula as they continue to build their new program. A solid foundation was set by previous coach Dave Eisenstein. This year the St. Ursula Academy Arrows are a young group, but are led by a strong core of 3 seniors, Adrienne Kinor, Alex Grzeszczak and Zhada Fields. These seniors are accomplished swimmers and have been a part of the foundation of the St. Ursula Arrows water polo program, playing with the team since its early years. This season the team has focused on competing hard, competing strong, and competing with respect for each other and each opponent. The Arrows have done so thus far under its senior leadership and, as a result, the younger players have grown quickly too. The team hopes to continue this trend at the State Tournament.

Reprinted in its entirety courtesy of Ohiowaterpolo.com.