The Columbus School for Girls lacrosse team enters the season with a new coach and new expectations, but the Unicorns are faced with a difficult task of replacing 13 graduates from last year's team.

The Columbus School for Girls lacrosse team enters the season with a new coach and new expectations, but the Unicorns are faced with a difficult task of replacing 13 graduates from last year's team.

CSG finished 7-8 overall and lost to Cincinnati Mariemont 9-7 in the first round of the Division I tournament.

Missy Gilbert takes over for Kippie Crouch as coach. Gilbert served as an assistant to Crouch last season and is in her first year as a varsity coach.

"I think being an assistant here last year has made a major difference already," said Gilbert, whose team will open Tuesday at home against Olentangy Liberty. "I got to see what the competition looks like, how other teams were playing, what works for our team and what motivates our girls on a day-to-day basis."

The Unicorns will be led by seniors Catherine Guenther (defense), Mackenzie MacLean (attack) and Sarah Sturges (defense), juniors Elle Irwin (midfield) and Ally Martin (goalkeeper) and sophomores Tori Fitzmartin (midfield), Julia Kelley (midfield) and Bridget O'Donnell (midfield).

Irwin, Fitzmartin, Kelly and O'Donnell are the top returning offensive threats for CSG, which must replace its top four scorers. Martin will take over in goal for graduate Alyssa Ashbaugh, who had 141 saves.

Also competing are juniors Lily Burkhalter (attack), Sally Hauser (midfield), Charlotte Taylor (attack) and Meredith Whitman (defense), sophomores Laura Hadley (midfield), Leah Hornyak (defense), Tayce Hutta (midfield), Emma McGregor (midfield), Megan Murray (midfield), Bridget O'Donnell (midfield) and Samantha Wobst (midfield) and freshmen Teal Harrison (goalkeeper), Miranda Pettit-Butler (midfield) and Patricia Ryan (midfield).

"I think the main thing is working hard and trying to play as a team," Guenther said. "We have a really hard-working team and we're learning to play cohesively."

With a lot of new players and younger starters, Gilbert is trying to mold the team in a way in which most of the Unicorns can play multiple positions. The team has an abundance of players who have played mostly at midfield.

"We have a lot of good midfielders and that's one of our greatest strengths," Gilbert said. "I think I'll end up moving them around the field and that will be an asset for us, as will our conditioning. We have a deep bench, so I'll be able to sub a lot and get fresh legs in. It's helpful when girls can play every position."

The youth has kept the team from playing at a high tempo so far, but Gilbert said more practice should help alleviate the issue.

"I think the speed at which we play and move the ball could be better," Gilbert said.

"If we increase our tempo of play, we'll get a lot better. It's still early and we're still feeling it out a bit, so just getting some practice in should help."

The improvement should be seen in the second half of the year.

"Last year we had a good season," Irwin said. "If we can do that this year I'll be pleased. I really think we'll do well."

Gilbert also is optimistic.

"One of the team's main goals is to be very competitive with every team we play," Gilbert said. "We talked about not being outworked by other teams and getting to every loose ball. We want to do the little things, not focus on wins and losses."