Alter (10-1-3 overall and 4-0-1 in the Girls Greater Catholic League Co-Ed) closes out the regular season with Cincinnati McNicholas (2-9-2) on Wednesday. The Knights have clinched at least a share of their fifth straight GGCL titles (three GGCL North Division titles and two GGCL Co-Ed titles) and can win it outright win a win Wednesday.
Seniors Lauren Miller, Kassidy Roshong, Julie Ruffolo and Nora Tyra lead another talented group. Miller moved from midfield to the back line and provided stability on defense. Roshong, a West Virginia University commit, has been stellar in goal. Ruffolo is the “engine in the midfield.” Tyra, after getting sporadic minutes on varsity last season, has taken over the scorer’s role.
“We’ve had a lot of players step up into some key roles that I think will pay dividends in the upcoming weeks,” Iriart said. “I think this team has the potential just as good as last year’s team.”
Alter opens defense of its D-II state championship on Oct. 24. Alter, voted the No. 1 seed in the D-II Central bracket, awaits the winner of No. 8 Chaminade Julienne and No. 9 Eaton. Those two teams play Oct. 20.
Last season’s state title was Alter’s second (2016) to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes (1998, 2001).
“When we won our first title in 2016, I think that was a real culture change for us,” said Iriart, 137-38-23 in his 10th season at Alter. "We started to see the players really buy into the long-term plan for the team. As coaches we made a concerted effort to explain not just what we’re doing but why we’re doing it. We started empowering the players to buy into it as well.
“We have such a selfless team where the players are looking for the most open player to score. … For the past four or five years we’ve had teams that really buy into that mentality.”
Also in the D-II tournament, Cincinnati Summit Country Day (10-1-3) earned the top seed in the South bracket and Tippecanoe (12-0-2) was No. 1 in the North bracket.
“This year, more than last year, there’s a lot of parity amongst the teams whether it’s Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo. It’s very even and that’s what makes this year interesting,” Iriart said.
Also in the girls tournament draws held Sunday, Centerville was voted the No. 1 seed in the Division I North bracket. Beavercreek was No. 2. Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame was No. 1 in the South bracket.
Waynesville earned the No. 1 seed in the D-III North bracket, while Anna was No. 2. Cincinnati Mariemont was the No. 1 seed in the South bracket.