The Bexley High School field hockey team has been good in the regular season under sixth-year coach Kara Hardesty.

The Bexley High School field hockey team has been good in the regular season under sixth-year coach Kara Hardesty.

Now the Lions are hoping that success carries over to the postseason. Bexley is looking to advance past the second round of the state-qualifying tournament for the first time during Hardesty's tenure.

"I'd really love to see us finish at the top of the league, but really important to me would be to get out of the second round of the tournament because we haven't done that yet," Hardesty said. "I'd like to see us go further in the tournament."

Last season, Bexley fell to Toledo Ottawa Hills 3-0 in the second round.

The Lions opened last Monday against Hartley and will play host to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame on Saturday.

Bexley last year finished 15-2-1 overall and 10-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League, second to Columbus Academy (10-0-1) and ahead of eventual state champion Thomas Worthington (9-1-1).

The Lions will need to replace nine graduates, including midfielder Caitie Bromagen, who led the team in scoring with 14 goals and six assists and was all-state for the second consecutive year. Also gone is goalie Sari Block, who had 45 saves and was second-team all-COFHL.

Hardesty believes the blend of returning talent and newcomers will allow her team to contend for top honors in the area and state.

"It will be a hard class to replace, particularly Caitie Bromagen," Hardesty said. "We have a lot of talented, younger people coming in, so I think we're going to do pretty well."

Leading the charge offensively should be junior forward and midfielder Rachel Hughes, who had nine goals and five assists last year, and sophomore forward Sam Urell, who had eight goals and two assists. Urell was first-team all-league and Hughes received honorable mention.

Heading up the defense should be senior Anna Grossman, who was honorable mention all-league last fall.

Grossman, and senior forwards Carey Keny and Lauren Zacks will serve as captains.

"We return all of our forwards, so we're very experienced there," Hardesty said. "We're faster than usual, too."

Sophomore goalie Diane Zanner, who saw some playing time last season, is expected to replace Block in goal. Zanner made 22 saves last season.

"Diane got into 12 games last year, so she is experienced," Hardesty said. "She went to a special goalie camp this summer on her own, so I think she's well prepared."

Other seniors are defenders Devin Beaumier and Ellen Fishel and goalie City Ramage.

Rounding out the team are juniors Jenny Barkan (defense), Allie Cardenas (forward), Allie Ezzo (forward), Sarah Pencarinha (defense), Katie Walker (forward) and Torrey Williams (midfielder), sophomores Zoe Beaumier (midfielder), Gabby Goldach (midfielder/defense) and Reilly Hughes (forward/midfielder) and freshmen Bailey Breese (midfielder/forward) and Maddy Hess (defense).

Hardesty expects Hess to earn a starting spot.

Hardesty looks for another wide-open race in the league, with Academy and Thomas being the teams to beat.

"We have a pretty strong league every year," Hardesty said. "Academy is always right up there, but I think Olentangy Liberty looks pretty good this year, too."

At a glance

Coach: Kara Hardesty, sixth season

Next game: Saturday vs. Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame

Key players: Anna Grossman, Rachel Hughes, Carey Keny, Sam Urell, Lauren Zacks and Diane Zanner