The Mason Comets, ranked first in the Enquirer area Division I coaches’ poll, defeated Centerville 2-0 in the Division I girls’ soccer regional semifinals behind a stand out performance from senior Jami Pfeifer.
After a scoreless first half, senior Sami Rutowski scored just three minutes into the second half off of an assist from Pfeifer to give the Comets a 1-0 advantage.
Mason’s defense, powered by a seven-save effort from goalkeeper Toni Bizzarro, continued to stifle the Elks throughout the second half. Then with only three minutes remaining in the game, Pfeifer netted a penalty kick to seal the deal for the Comets.
This marks the 14th time this season that Mason has blanked their opponent. Bizzarro, a freshman, has been a part of all 14 shutouts by the Comets.
Mason improves to 18-1-1 with the victory, and Centerville closes out the year with an impressive record of 16-3-1.
The Comets advance to play Ursuline at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Lakota East High School.
After three consecutive losses to Centerville by a combined five goals, it was evident throughout Thursday night’s Division I district soccer championship that Mason was tired of losing to the Elks.
“We talked about playing with a chip on our shoulder, and playing a complete 80 minutes,” said Comets coach Paul Reedy. Mason did both.
Senior forward Noah Zelkind and junior forward Jack Clark each scored two goals as Mason, No. 1 in the Enquirer Division I coaches’ poll and 10th in the state, stunned Centerville, the state’s fifth-ranked team, 4-1, to earn a district title on the turf at Lakota East.
Mason advances to face the St. Xavier/Beavercreek winner in the regional semis Wednesday.
“We were really focused tonight,” said Clark. “I’ve never beaten Centerville. Most us never have.”
Thursday’s match was a physical one, with five injury stoppages. Zelkind left the game in the second half for treatment after a collision.
Mason (4-3 overall, 2-2 GMC) will host Lakota East (5-2, 3-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Comets are ranked No. 10 in the Cincinnati Enquirer Coaches poll. Lakota is ranked No. 7.
The Thunderhawks are coming off a 28-7 loss against Sycamore, while Mason enters the game after defeating Fairfield 55-13 last week.
Lakota East: The Thunderhawks fell from No. 6 in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s region 4 computer rankings to No. 11 this week after losing 28-7 to Sycamore last Friday. In order to qualify for the postseason, Lakota East will have to finish among the top eight teams when the final computer report is released Oct. 28. Helping the team try to qualify for its first-ever postseason appearance is senior running back Will Mahone, who has rushed for 649 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games this season. His junior teammate, quarterback Eric Eichler, has thrown for six touchdowns and ran for seven more this fall.
Mason: The Comets’ two losses in GMC play occurred against Lakota West and Colerain, two teams that are currently undefeated this fall. Meanwhile, in Mason’s four wins this season, senior running back Darryl Johnson is averaging 189 rushing yards per game. In the three losses, Johnson is averaging around 96 yards per game. Mason’s other standouts include senior offensive lineman Elijah Nkansah (verbal commitment to Toledo), senior defensive back Corey Quallen (offers from Cincinnati, multiple MAC schools), senior defensive back Randy Anderson (interest from Miami) and senior linebacker Andrew Hauser (interest from Miami).
Bottom line: The two schools have one common opponent this season. Lakota East defeated Hamilton, 56-0, while Mason defeated that same Hamilton team 35-14. If Lakota East wants to get back in the playoff picture, it will have to win this Friday. There doesn’t appear to be a clear favorite in this game.
The Mason girls’ soccer team earned its fourth GMC title Tuesday with a 3-2 won over Lakota East.
The game, which coincided with Senior Night at Mason, saw senior Madison Melnick score two goals, including the game-winner, with less than a minute of play remaining.
“Winning any league championship is a tough thing to do, but it is even tougher when you are battling the teams in the GMC,” said Mason head coach Andy Schur. “The players have made the Mason soccer community very proud in the way they have represented their school and themselves.”
Sophomore Rachel Holloway scored the first goal for Mason about 14 minutes in, with an assist from Melnick. About four minutes later, Melnick added an unassisted goal to put Mason 2-0.
Lakota scored the next two goals to even the score going into halftime.
The second half saw the Comets put 10 shots on goal, but it was Melnick who scored the game-winning goal with just 52 seconds on the clock.
Mason finished GMC play with a conference record of 8-0-1, ahead of second-place Oak Hills with 6-0-3. The Comets are ranked No. 1 in city rankings and No. 7 in Div. I state polls.
“We are incredibly proud of the effort and determination our players showed in winning the league championship this year,” said Schur. “They have fought through adversity and been champions in every sense of the word.”
Mason will play a nonconference game, which is also their final regular season game, Thursday night, 10/11, at Anderson (4-10-0, 3-3-0). They host the winner of the Princeton/Northwest match at 2 p.m. Oct. 20.
Mason High School’s Atrium Stadium is one of the best track and field facilities in the area, but it isn’t big enough for Western Brown’s Mack Tudor.
Wednesday’s Division I district discus throw competition had to be moved from Mason to Lakota East because Tudor, a senior who has already broken the all-time state record this season, is throwing farther than the Mason discus area can hold. Tudor won his third consecutive district title in the event with a toss of 185 feet, 5 inches.
A little while later, at Mason, Withrow senior, city record-holder and defending state shot put champion D’Monami Gardner won her fourth straight district championship with a heave of 43-6.
Tudor and Gardner head to next week’s regional meet as favorites not only to win their events at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium but at the state meet the following week at Ohio State. They agreed on one thing about their wins: There are better things to come in the next couple of weeks.
Neither winning performance was near their personal bests; Tudor threw 206-4 at the Wayne Invitational last month to best the 204-5 mark set by Akron Ellet’s Charles Moye in 1987. Gardner won the state title last season with a final put of 46-8.75.
“Right now I’m practicing my technique and all I’m thinking about the next two weeks is that 206,” said Tudor. “That’s what I plan on hitting.”
Sophomore Ellery Lassiter of Walnut Hills was second at 152-6, with junior Danny Keller of Turpin and sophomore Evan Spangler of Anderson also qualifying for Dayton.
Tudor has qualified to state three years in a row; he placed 12th as a freshman and eighth as a sophomore but fouled on all three of his preliminary throws last year and didn’t qualify to the finals.
“That’s pretty much what pushed me through the summer last year,” said Tudor. “… That has driven me the past year.”
Gardner has had her eyes and mind set on the state shot put record of 50-10 owned by Ashley Moffett of North Canton Hoover since 2005. She said she felt good in warm-ups, getting some of her puts out into the 47- and 48-foot range but it didn’t translate into the competition. She had two fouls that had good distance.
“I was mad,” said Gardner. “I’m focusing on trying to get that record.”
Sophomore Chelsea Carpenter of Walnut Hills was second, while senior teammate Jillian Hassel was third and Mason sophomore Ashley Brown fourth.
Wednesday’s competition consisted of seven final events and running preliminaries. Mason leads the boys’ meet with 26 points through three events, while the Comets tallied 48.5 points through four events to put themselves well on the way to a girls’ team championship.
The top four finishers in each event qualify for the regional meet.
The Anderson boys and Mason girls won their respective 3,200-meter relay races in blistering fashion. Anderson won the boys’ race in 7:51.07, while defending state champion Mason took the girls’ race in 9:19.55. Both times were faster than the times leading the state, according to Milesplit.com, at the start of the day.
The Anderson team of juniors Casey Gallagher and Sean Batt and seniors Kameron Powell and Nick Vogele won by nearly 6 seconds against Mason’s quartet of sophomore Ethan Valentine, juniors Paul D’Hyver de las Deses and Alex Notton and senior Michael Mumma. Vogele ran a split of 1:53.6, according to Anderson coach Andy Wolf, on the anchor leg.
Kings and Turpin also qualified.
Mason’s team of freshman Delaney McDowell, sophomore Olivia Gaus and seniors Bridget McElhenny and Monica Lake ran away from the field.
Sycamore (9:34.53) was second, with Turpin and Walnut Hills also qualifying.
In the only other boys’ final, Mason senior Josh Dooley won the long jump with a leap of 21-4.5. Sophomore Matt McDonald of Little Miami, freshman Reece Pontious of Mason and senior James Crawford of Withrow also qualified.
Sophomore Jenny Nelson cleared 10-6 to win the pole vault ahead of sophomore teammate Rachel Stein.
Sophomore Jordan Horning of Mason (5-3) won the high jump, with junior Emma Zangrando of Turpin, senior Jadie Riewoldt of Little Miami and sophomore Meredith Haller of Mason also advancing.
Mason teammates cheer on Margo Hutchison as she rounds the bases after her homerun against Lakota West during the varsity softball game at Mason High School on Wednesday, April 11. The Enquirer/ Amanda Davidson
Mason upset No. 1-ranked Lakota East 4-2 in a girls’ fast-pitch softball Friday, avenging a 5-4 loss to the Thunderhawks earlier this month.
Mason, ranked No. 4 in the Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll, was led by senior pitcher Sara Browning, who threw a complete-game and went 2-for-3 with a double to earn her ninth win of the season.
Mason senior catcher Margo Hutchison went 2-for-3 and hit her sixth home run of the season. Lakota East is ranked No. 6 in the state according to the OHSAA Division I state poll, while the Comets are unranked in the state.
Miguel Cepeda of Mason High returns the ball back to Zack Mueck of Lakota East during action at the Coaches Classic tennis final that was played at the Camargo Racquet Club in Madeira. April 21, 2012 The Enquirer/ Tony Jones
Mason won its first ever team championship Saturday at the Greater Cincinnati Tennis Coaches Association Coaches Classic.
The Comets’ score of 270 points edged out Sycamore’s 250-point total. Cincinnati Country Day placed third with 160 points.
The Comets are undefeated in dual nine matches this season and have swept all of their opponents 5-0 in duals since opening the season with a 3-2 win against Sycamore.
Saturday’s play in Flight A was moved indoors to Camargo Racquet Club because of rains overnight and into the morning that made playing at Mason High School impossible.
Mason junior Jeremy Schneider won the third singles bracket with a 5-7, 6-4, 10-5 victory against Sycamore’s Yuri Karev.
Junior Miguel Cepeda suffered a loss to Lakota East’s Zach Mueck, 7-5, 6-2. Cepeda and Mueck were tied 5-5 in the first set before Mueck began a stretch of four breaks out of Cepeda’s final five service games.
Cepeda recovered from a first game break in the second set to gain a break himself and then hold serve for a 2-1 lead but Mueck won the final five games to win the title. Mueck is now 6-0 on the season, while Cepeda lost for just the second time in 12 matches.
Cepeda and sophomore Luke Tsai (second singles) were runners-up, as was the first doubles team of senior John Mostowy and sophomore Alexander Levedev. The second doubles team of senior Colin Heim and freshman Young-Jin Kang placed third.
“I think we can go pretty far with this team,” said Cepeda. “I’m playing pretty well right now but I find it more fun playing in a team setting because there is less pressure. I know that even if I have one bad day the rest of the team can pick me up because we have such a great team.”
The five Flight A bracket championships went to five different teams.
Besides Mueck and Schneider, CCD sophomore Patrick Wildman improved to 12-0 on the season by winning the second singles title against Tsai 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Dylan Stern and Nikhil Grandhi teamed to win the first doubles title for Sycamore against Mason, 6-4, 2-6, 10-4. St. Xavier’s Donald Baverman and James Shanahan won the second doubles title by beating the Sycamore team of Brian and Josh Goodman, 6-4, 6-0.
The Mason Comets completed a four-game sweep against Lakota high school baseball teams with a 4-2 victory at Mason Middle School Monday.
Overall, the Mason batters struggled to make contact against Lakota East senior ace Michael Conrad, but got a big hit when it mattered.
In the bottom of the third inning, Conrad, a University of Cincinnati signee, loaded the bases with a wild pitch on a strikeout, hit a batter and allowed another batter to reach on a fielder’s choice.
Then, with one out, Mason junior third baseman Drew Johnson got the Comets’ first hit of the game when he pulled a Conrad fastball down the third baseline for a 2-RBI single.
“Conrad was blowing some serious cheese. I just got a pitch in the zone and I was to get a soft grounder down the third baseline. It really got the team going and pumped up,” Johnson said. “Andrew McDonald then shut it down.”
After laboring through the first two innings, walking two and hitting two other batters, McDonald settled down, striking out seven batters and allowing two hits in six innings.
One of those hits was a solo home run by senior center fielder Alex Corna, which cleared the 345-foot marker in right-center field.
Mason shortstop Marcus Otte celebrates during a 6-2 win against Lakota East. Photo by Tony Tribble.
“It was an outstanding performance for him (McDonald). To do that against a ballclub like that, the defending state champions regardless of where they are now, is impressive,” Mason head coach Ken Gray said. “He just threw a heck of ballgame today.”
The Comets added a pair of insurance runs. One more in the third on an errant throw to the pitcher and another run on an error on a ground ball to the second baseman in the fourth.
Meanwhile, in a losing effort, Conrad also pitched well for the Thunderhawks, finishing the game by striking out 10 batters and allowing only two hits in five innings of work.
“When you strike out 10 and give up two hits that should be good enough for the win,” Lakota East head coach Ray Hamilton said. “He was good enough last Monday, when gave up four hits and struck out 12. When do that, you should win. Right now, we are not.”
The defending state champs are not winning and also lost Conrad’s last outing by the score of 4-2 against Hamilton March 26. Overall, the Thunderhawks are 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the Greater Miami Conference.
“This is the GMC. I don’t care who you play for, you have to have good at-bats,” Hamilton said. “There is real good pitching in this league and that will never change. Mason is a really good team, so hopefully we can learn from this, get better from this and not make the same mistakes we made today.”
The Comets, on the other hand, behind a deep pitching staff are off to 6-2 start and improve to 4-0 in the GMC.
“It has been a blast so far. We have a great team and we think that we can make a run at the GMC and maybe advance further later on in the season,” Johnson said.