Although the Columbus School for Girls lacrosse team had a smaller roster than most its opponents last season, first-year coach Brittney Zerhusen said the Unicorns never lost simply because they were tired.
With a roster of only 13 players this spring, Zerhusen said the Unicorns are working on their physical and mental conditioning to make sure they again are ready to stay competitive with bigger squads.
CSG, which finished 8-9 overall last year after opening the Division II South/Central Region tournament with a 13-12 loss at Bexley, opens Thursday, April 4, by playing host to Columbus Academy in a Central Independent League contest.
"We're working on getting the girls into the mindset of not quitting, physically or mentally, because we need all of them to be ready to play a full game," said Zerhusen, who was the Unicorns' varsity assistant last season. "We don't want them to worry about how many players we have on the bench. We want them to view having 13 girls the same as having 50, because we're playing to win no matter how many girls are on the other team."
Eight players who started last season are back in seniors Morgan Amigo (attacker/midfielder), Jenna Ellis (defender/midfielder), Jenny Henderson (attacker), Claudia Hummel (attacker) and Maddie McGregor (defender) and juniors Erin Balasky (midfielder), Leah Glimcher (defender) and Sophia Sugar (midfielder).
Senior Erin Smith will start at goalkeeper. She's replacing 2012 graduate Teal Harrison, who is playing at American University.
Rounding out the roster are juniors Leah Glimcher (defender) and Caroline Pompilli (defender) and freshmen Avery Hinson (midfielder), Charlotte Lennox (defender) and Mo Ostrowski (defender).
"We have a lot of good girls back," Zerhusen said. "We have a lot of good athletes and a lot of smart, aggressive players."
The Unicorns went 4-3 in the Central Independent League last year to finish fourth behind Academy (7-0), Bexley (5-2) and Hartley (4-2-1) and ahead of Watterson (3-3-1), DeSales (2-5), Granville (1-6) and Wellington (1-6).
"We'd like to advance our program and become more competitive within central Ohio, especially in the Central (Independent) League," Zerhusen said.
"We just want to bring their knowledge of the game up and make sure they are competitive every game."
Track team vying for another strong season
Three Division II state qualifiers have returned to lead the track and field team in senior Abigail Perrini and juniors Emma Harris and Cecilia Pesavento.
Last year in the state meet, Harris finished sixth in the 800 meters (2 minutes, 17.38 seconds), Pesavento finished 15th in the 100 hurdles (16.24) and Harris, 2012 graduate Rosie Connor, Perrini and 2012 graduate Sophia Chatas placed seventh in the 3,200 relay (9:47.03).
Chatas also finished fourth in the 1,600 (team-record 5:06.25) to help the Unicorns score 10 points and tie four teams for 18th behind champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (55) as 72 teams scored.
Juniors Ashley Harrington and Mo Ruff are the top returning sprinters, and Harrington is one of the leading hurdlers along with Pesavento.
Leading the distance and middle distance unit are Harris, Perrini, senior Katelyn Lennon, juniors Hannah Barends, Kellie Carlson and Serena Liang, sophomores Megan Gumina, Julia Mackessey and Katherine Tierney and freshman Alyssa Sugar.
Also sprinting for CSG are sophomores Sabrina Ebner and Rebecca O'Donovan and freshmen Maya Allen, Jeneil Davis, Grace Hammett, Isabella Pesavento, Maria Presper, Eleanor Smith and Maria Sugar.
Sophomore Erika Sims will compete in the hurdles and long jump, senior Adele Anderson will compete in the long jump and freshman Gennie Faber will compete in shot put and discus.
"The girls have a lot of potential, so I want them to focus on getting better," first-year coach Elon Simms said.
Last year, the Unicorns scored 104.5 points in the CCL meet to finish second behind Hartley (162) and ahead of DeSales (102), Ready (64.5) and Watterson (57).
CSG then scored 129 points to win the 13-team district 2 meet ahead of runner-up Eastmoor Academy (78).
Placing first were Harris, Connor, Perrini and Chatas in the 3,200 relay (9:54.95), Pesavento in the 100 hurdles (16.21) and 300 hurdles (47.46), Chatas in the 1,600 (5:12.46) and 800 (2:22.45) and O'Donovan, Harris, Connor and Chatas in the 1,600 relay (4:10.6).
At regional, CSG scored 36 points to place fifth behind champion Dayton Chaminade Julienne (64) as 44 teams scored.
Harris won the 800 (2:18.94) and Pesavento finished fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.79).
Finishing second were Chatas in the 1,600 (5:10.17) and Harris, Connor, Perrini and Chatas in the 3,200 relay (9:41.26).
"I would be happy if we can finish in the top two of the CCL meet again," Simms said.
"We also want to make a positive statement in both the regional and state meets once again."