At almost any level of athletics, coaches agree that improving individual physical skills is the basis for the overall improvement of a team.

At almost any level of athletics, coaches agree that improving individual physical skills is the basis for the overall improvement of a team.

But the link is not always direct. Throughout the first month and a half of this season, Hilliard Davidson High School girls lacrosse coach Becky Mottlow has seen a group of players that look better in every practice than they did the day before. On gamedays, however, the results haven't always reflected that.

"We're improving on skills and trying to change things up, but it really isn't showing on the field," Mottlow said. "It shows in practice for the most part, but when we get into game situations, we kind of take a couple steps back."

The Wildcats were 1-9-1 overall and 0-5-1 in the OCC-Buckeye Division after losing to Thomas Worthington 19-4 last Monday. They have just two regular-season games remaining before the Division I regional tournament begins in about two weeks. The Wildcats play today at Olentangy Liberty, which is 6-5 overall, and Tuesday at New Albany, which is the defending Division II state champion.

The regional tournament bracket will be released on Monday.

Despite the decrease in wins, Mottlow said she doesn't believe the Wildcats have experienced a drop in talent from last season. This group may lack a superstar, but she said across the board, this group is at least as skilled as last year's team. The key to turning things around, according to Mottlow, will be largely dependent on how well they can work as a unit.

"I think all of our players are pretty strong players," Mottlow said. "We have pretty strong talent across the board, but I think they want a superstar to save the day, when in reality, it relies on them. I think we have a more evenly-talented team, but I think the girls aren't used to being called on to perform. They always had that go-to girl, but we don't have that."

The Wildcats' schedule, while it isn't significantly stronger than last year's, hasn't made things any easier because of how tightly the games have been pushed together. In all, the team had only 34 days from their first game to the regular-season finale on Tuesday, meaning they've often been playing three games a week. As a result, they haven't had as much practice time between games.

"Really, (our goal) is just not to lose heart, and fight until the end, and we'll have some practice, hopefully," Mottlow said. "We'll play Friday, then Monday and Tuesday. It's just been a brutal season as far as not having practices. That might change how we approach things next year."

There have been several bright spots for the Wildcats

Junior midfielder Erin Hamilton has been a pleasant surprise in her first year on varsity. Before last Monday, she was tied with senior Nikki Woellert for the team lead in goals with 11. Junior Chelsea Setterlin was next with six goals.

Junior attacker Kali Snyder and senior attacker Taylor Gill, both of whom played in a reserve role last season, have stepped up and taken on larger roles this year. Snyder leads the team with 10 assists.

Senior attacker Kristine Tunnell has been the team's most effective player on loose balls with 28 groundball pickups.

Mottlow added that several of her young defensive players have shown promise and are expected to take on bigger roles in the future.

Tunnell, one of the team's captains, said that despite the losses, the players have been able to remain upbeat as they near the end of the season.

"I think (the morale is good). I feel that we play very well in practice and we play hard," Tunnell said.

"And we definitely have a chance in these last few games if we can keep working a little harder."

At a glance

Below are the recent results for the Darby and Davidson girls lacrosse teams:

DARBY

April 14 -- Lost to Columbus School for Girls 11-6. Alex Hueter scored three goals and Korinne Culley had two.

*April 17 -- Lost to Thomas Worthington 17-5

*April 22 -- Lost to Dublin Jerome 20-10

April 24 -- Lost to Hartley 9-7

Last Saturday -- Lost to New Albany 19-1

*Last Wednesday -- Played Dublin Coffman

*Today -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*Monday -- At Upper Arlington

Of note: The Panthers were 0-10-2 overall and 0-2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye before last Wednesday.

DAVIDSON

*April 15-- Lost to Jerome 15-8. Carly LaRosa and Kali Snyder had two goals.

April 17 -- Lost to Wellington 17-3

*April 22 -- Lost to Worthington Kilbourne15-3

April 23 -- Lost to Olentangy 8-2

*Last Friday -- Lost to Dublin Scioto 9-7

*Last Monday -- Lost to Thomas Worthington 19-4

Today -- At Olentangy Liberty

Tuesday -- At New Albany

Of note: The Wildcats are 1-9-1 overall and 0-5-1 in the OCC-Buckeye.

*OCC-Buckeye game