With 10 returning seniors, many of the pieces are in place for the Dublin Coffman High School girls lacrosse team to build on a season in which it posted its first winning record and best postseason finish since 2003.

With 10 returning seniors, many of the pieces are in place for the Dublin Coffman High School girls lacrosse team to build on a season in which it posted its first winning record and best postseason finish since 2003.

One major factor in that success, however -- Paul Caldwell -- retired from coaching in January after 12 seasons.

Caldwell, 70, has been involved in lacrosse for what he estimated to be about 50 years and likely will remain an official at the college level.

One of the brightest spots during his tenure is that several of his former players have continued to be involved with the program, including his successor, Gena Han. Han played at Coffman until graduating in 2004 and joined the coaching staff the next year while attending Ohio State. She currently is working on a master's degree in clinical pharmacology as she begins her sixth season on the coaching staff.

"It's a real good group of girls, and Gena is an exceptional young lady who was a very good player when she played for me at Coffman, plus she's an outstanding student," Caldwell said. "I'm sure (the players) were (surprised when I announced my retirement). They're pretty close as a group and a really good group of kids."

Coffman's returning experience should help Han's transition.

Senior Sara Dodson finished with 45 goals last season, including one in the Shamrocks' 13-6 loss to eventual state-champion Cincinnati Sycamore in a Division I regional championship game.

She will be joined in the midfield by seniors Sarah Bergman, Hillary Knisley and Kaylyn Lambeck, junior Devan Krider and sophomores Claire Grace, Terra Rhoades and Rachel Ulstad.

Junior Lauren Stephens returns at goalkeeper, with freshman Morgan Aumiller serving as the backup. Seniors Meghan Cohen, Jordan Dooley and Elaina Tonon should be starters on defense.

Seniors Kayla Goddard, Maegan Harder and Grace Maxton are expected to start at attacker, with sophomore Molly Herzseld slated to be a backup.

Last season, Coffman beat Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 15-13 in the first round of the South Region tournament and defeated Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 7-4 in a regional semifinal before falling to Sycamore to finish 9-5 overall.

The Shamrocks finished fourth in the OCC-Buckeye Division at 4-3, behind Upper Arlington (7-0), Thomas Worthington (6-1) and Worthington Kilbourne (5-2) and ahead of Jerome (3-4), Hilliard Darby (2-5), Scioto (1-6) and Hilliard Davidson (0-7). Coffman plays its league opener Tuesday at home against Scioto.

The Shamrocks, who beat Jerome 13-4 and Scioto 14-1 last season, lost an eight-member senior class that included starters Lexi Bugay, Courtney Edwards, Katie Keenan, Kristina Strine and Renee Ulstad.

"They've got ambitions to go to state this year, and these girls have such a drive and a passion," Han said. "They truly love the sport and give their all every game. They're all working so well together."

•One of the area's other top scoring threats, senior Kelly Becker, is back to lead Jerome.

An Ohio State-signee, she finished with 101 goals last season, including a nine-goal performance in an 18-17 win over Columbus School for Girls.

Becker will lead a midfield that also should include juniors Gabby Marotta (29 goals), Cailey Easdale and Lauren McManamon and sophomore Victoria Predmore.

Senior Mackenzie Burness is the top returnee at attacker, along with senior Brienna Cerrato and sophomores Sarah Scott and Emma Schnell.

Seniors Taylor Goldbeck and Jackie Kovatch are expected to split time at goalkeeper.

Seniors Eloise Irwin, Caitlin Staskiewicz and Lauren Stoelk and sophomores Megan Couper and Courtney Stein will play defense.

"We're getting there," coach Colleen Bender said. "We're young and we've got a very small team this year. I expect (Becker) to be a leader at both ends of the field. She's a very talented player."

Last season, Jerome finished 8-11 overall, including placing fifth in the OCC-Buckeye at 3-4. The Celtics beat Cincinnati Indian Hill 21-13 in the first round of the Division II South Region tournament before losing to Cincinnati Seton 13-10 in a regional semifinal.

Jerome will compete in the North Region this postseason against teams predominantly from the Cleveland area, including 2009 state runner-up Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown.

New Albany, which won the state title last year, has moved to Division I.

"I'm not saying we're at a disadvantage with being placed in the North Region, but it will be interesting since we don't know those teams like we do the ones from Cincinnati," Bender said.

•Scioto hopes to take another major step forward as it did a year ago.

After going winless in 2007, the Irish improved to 2-13-1 in coach Lindsay Law's first season in 2008 and then went 10-9 last season.

Senior midfielder Hope Brower, who has committed to Drexel University, leads a group of returnees that also includes seniors Zeenath Ameen (attacker) and Katelyn Burke (midfielder), juniors Ajia Cannon (attacker) and Kelly Staley (attacker) and sophomore Danielle Livingston (midfielder). Brower, Burke and Livingston are captains.

"We hope to continue our strides forward to become a great team, not just a good team," Law said. "We want to win more games than last year and be a more competitive team in the OCC. (We want) everyone on attack making an impact, and (we want to) strengthen our defense."

Freshman Merritt Weirick is expected to take over in goal. Joining her in the back are junior defenders Samantha Colello and Samantha Shaffer.

The Irish lost three players to graduation in defenders Fatima Kadi (honorable mention all-OCC) and Abbey Rosh and goalkeeper Lauren Darlington.

Brower finished with 84 goals last year, Staley finished with 28 and Livingston added 13, including the winner in overtime during a 14-13 victory over Davidson that represented the team's only conference victory.

Scioto finished 1-6 in the OCC-Buckeye. The Irish defeated Olentangy 11-8 in the second round of the Division II South Region tournament before falling to New Albany 19-4 in a regional semifinal.

"The girls are working really hard in practice and spending extra time outside of practice to get themselves ready for the season," Law said. "I have seen such an improvement from last year to this year. The girls have a lot more pride in the program and in what they're doing. It's such a great dynamic this year."

At a glance

COFFMAN

•Coach: Gena Han, first season

•Next game: Tuesday vs. Scioto

•Key players: Sarah Bergman, Meghan Cohen, Sara Dodson, Jordan Dooley, Lauren Stephens and Elaina Tonon

SCHEDULE

March 27 vs. Mason

*April 6 vs. Scioto

*April 8 at Hilliard Darby

April 10 vs. Watterson

*April 14 vs. Thomas Worthington

April 16 vs. Uniontown Green

April 17 at Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas

*April 20 vs. Upper Arlington

*April 28 at Worthington Kilbourne

May 1 at Cincinnati Ursuline Academy

May 3 at Olentangy Liberty

*May 6 at Hilliard Davidson

*May 11 vs. Jerome

May 14 vs. Columbus Academy

JEROME

•Coach: Colleen Bender, sixth season

•Opener: Tuesday at Hilliard Darby

•Key players: Kelly Becker, Brienna Cerrato, Mackenzie Burness, Taylor Goldbeck, Jackie Kovatch and Gabby Marotta

SCHEDULE

*April 6 at Darby

*April 13 vs. Scioto

April 15 vs. Columbus Academy

April 17 at Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas

*April 20 vs. Davidson

*April 21 at Thomas

April 23 at Wellington

April 24 v. Cincinnati Seton

April 26 at Liberty

*April 28 vs. Upper Arlington

*May 3 at Kilbourne

May 5 at Columbus School for Girls

May 6 vs. Olentangy

*May 11 at Coffman

SCIOTO

•Coach: Lindsay Law, third season

•Opener: Tuesday at Dublin Coffman

•Key players: Zeenath Ameen, Hope Brower, Katelyn Burke, Ajia Cannon, Danielle Livingston and Kelly Staley

SCHEDULE

*April 6 at Coffman

*April 8 at Upper Arlington

April 10 vs. Olentangy Orange

*April 13 at Jerome

April 15 at Hilliard Bradley

April 17 at Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas

*April 20 at Kilbourne

April 21 vs. Olentangy

*April 26 vs. Thomas

April 29 vs. Wellington

May 1 vs. Cincinnati St. Ursula Academy

*May 3 vs. Darby

May 5 vs. Watterson

May 7 at Liberty

*May 11 at Davidson

*OCC-Buckeye contest