District remains goal for tennis team
The Delaware Hayes High School boys tennis team, which just missed achieving its annual goals last season, will attempt to finish with a winning record and advance someone to the Division I district tournament.
The Pacers lost two starters to graduation from last year’s team, which finished 6-7 overall after three matches were canceled because of bad weather. They also went 0-3 in district-qualifying matches in the sectional tournament at Hilliard Darby.
The two 2011 graduates, Chris Leyva and Justin Rike, played the top two singles courts.
Senior Nick Tanuredjo is moving from third singles to first singles and is one of five senior starters.
He is joined by Spencer Deighton (third singles) and doubles players Hyeon Woo Bae, Josh Byerly and Stephen Tackett.
“Nick is very talented and used his athleticism to win every set during his tryouts and challenges,” 33rd-year coach Dan Morrison said. “Spencer, our captain, was a surprise at third singles. He and Josh Byerly played a very close match, and Josh’s game is better suited for doubles.”
Sophomore John Homan was at second singles when the Pacers beat Marysville 5-0 in the opener March 26.
Tanuredjo (6-0, 6-2), Homan (6-1, 6-2) and Deighton (6-2, 6-0) all won their singles matches. Byerly and sophomore Colton Richard won 6-1, 6-2 at first doubles and Tackett and Bae completed the sweep with a 6-4, 6-4 win.
“Homan is playing very well right now and he’s going to have a good season,” said Morrison, whose team defeated Franklin Heights 5-0 on March 29. “Colton Richard is new to our school and he has really good speed and quick hands, and he likes to pound the ball at the net. Byerly and Richard will certainly start in doubles, but I don’t know if we’ll keep them together or split them up.”
Others vying for time include senior Joel Calfe and sophomores Nate Bonofiglio, Nate Micklas and Jason Watkins.
The Pacers finished fourth in the OCC-Capital Division standings last season with 31 points, despite not making up a dual against Hilliard Bradley. Delaware was 3-3 in league duals.
New Albany (76 points, 7-0), Olentangy Orange (52, 6-1) and Big Walnut (39, 5-2) took the top three spots. Bradley (24, 2-4), Watkins Memorial (22, 2-5), Franklin Heights (7, 1-6) and Mount Vernon (6, 1-6) rounded out the standings.
In the three district-qualifying matches at sectional, Byerly and Homan competed in doubles and Leyva and Rike competed in singles.
•The boys lacrosse team returned 10 starters from a team that finished 11-5 overall last year after losing to Cincinnati Anderson 9-6 in a state club division semifinal.
The Pacers will field a team comprised mostly of juniors and seniors for the first time.
“We’ve got a handful of seniors and lots of juniors, so for the first time we have more upperclassmen than underclassmen,” third-year coach Dick Sanfillipo said. “We’re a year older and more mature, and that shows up in decision-making, better passing, better communication and running the offense better. I think our focus is much improved.
“We’ll need that because we’re playing a schedule of six or seven Division I teams, a few Division II teams and six of the teams which were in the top 10 in the club division last season. It’s a tough schedule.”
Delaware opened March 26 by winning 6-4 over Milford, which was the club division runner-up last season. The Pacers then beat Westerville South 13-6 on March 28 in the OCC-Central opener, outscoring the Wildcats 6-1 in the second half.
Last season, Delaware tied Pickerington Central for fourth (2-4) in the OCC-Central behind Westerville North (6-0), Westerville Central (5-1) and Westerville South (4-2) and ahead of Pickerington North (1-4) and Big Walnut (0-5). Delaware and Big Walnut are club teams and the others are in Division I.
Junior Michael Duffy returns in goal, with juniors Jordan Carlson, Jonathan Lindeboom and Andrew Ward in front of him on defense. Sophomore James Wegmiller will see time on defense and as a long-stick midfielder. Sophomore Bryan Neitzelt also will play long-stick midfielder.
In the midfield will be juniors Paul Golden, Phoenix Neitzelt, Dominic Sanfillipo and Jordan Zinader as well as sophomore MacGregor Roberts.
The attack is led by seniors Josh Bender and Charlie Darrough and juniors Kyle Gabbert, Griffin Kinney and Lane Kleilein.
Other seniors on the roster include attacker Jesse Hauger and defender Josh Yost.
Juniors vying for time on defense are Jackson Quist and Hunter Redd. Other juniors are midfielders Collin Goble, Steffan Mowry and Thomas Oliver.
“Last season is ancient history, and with the schedule we have this year, we need to not be overconfident,” coach Sanfillipo said. “We need to improve (and) use our head, heart and hustle. The regular season is all about getting ready for the postseason. Sure we’d like to win the league, but that would mean beating five Division I teams.”
•The girls lacrosse team has 29 players on the roster for its second season.
The Pacers finished 3-9-1 overall last season, losing to Olentangy Liberty 17-4 in a play-in game in the Division I North/Central Region tournament.
“I’m excited because we have some great stick-handling skills and we’ve made improvements in all of the basics,” said second-year coach Brian Mollenkopf, whose team lost its opener 11-9 to Pickerington North on March 26 and then fell to DeSales 17-3 the next day. “We’ve got a good, solid group of underclassmen who have played the game and we only have two seniors on the roster overall.
“I’m happy that we’ve moved onto ’Lax 102’ and that we are past ’Lax 101’ where we had to do so much teaching last year. The girls are learning plays, taking the next step and we’ll be more competitive.”
Sophomore Taylor Henderson scored four goals and classmate Katie Barnhart added three against North. Joining those two in the midfield are junior Mary Kate Kuchers and freshmen Madison Laskowsi and Rachel Nicodemus.
“Our midfield is really strong and fast and also very deep,” Mollenkopf said. “We have at least three others who are as strong as the first four or five.”
Freshman Callie Nicholson takes over at goalkeeper as junior Jacquelene Mitchell shifts from goal to lead the defense alongside freshmen Natalie Schulte and Willow Mollenkopf, one of the coach’s three daughters on the team.
Attackers include senior Lizzy Williams, junior Enya Granados, sophomore Zoe Jones and freshman Arden Palmquist.
Others vying for time are senior Lauren Keltner, juniors Emily Burkhart, Lindsay Hayward, Amanda Hecker, Kaitlin Mitchell, Harlee Mollenkopf, Sierra Mollenkopf and Kaitlyn Scott, sophomores Jessie Cremer, Tara Grace, Morgan Maley and Maya McCabe and freshmen Kennedy Coomes, Kelly Estrada, Amanda Hecker, Angela Rush and Crystal Wright.
The Pacers tied Pickerington Central for seventh in the OCC-Central last season at 0-4-1, behind Pickerington North (6-0), Gahanna (6-1), Westerville South and Westerville North (both 3-2), Westerville Central (2-4-1) and Big Walnut (1-4-1).