Since the inception of the OCC for lacrosse before last season, the Hilliard Davidson High School girls lacrosse team has been forced to play a difficult schedule.

Since the inception of the OCC for lacrosse before last season, the Hilliard Davidson High School girls lacrosse team has been forced to play a difficult schedule.

Playing in the OCC-Buckeye Division with teams like Upper Arlington and Thomas Worthington has made it difficult for the young Wildcats to improve on their record, but third-year coach Becky Mottlow doesn't necessarily view her team's schedule as a negative.

"It is a tough schedule, but the reality is that is our schedule," Mottlow said. "We're constantly pushing our team to expect that of themselves. It's not going to go away, so we have to make the best out of what we have to play and constantly strive to play at that level."

Mottlow said the coaching staff has been pleased with the effort throughout the team, and for the most part, they have been pleased with the play on the field. Four of the team's losses have come by four goals or fewer, and two have been decided by two or fewer.

The Wildcats have been consistent on the defensive end, limiting opponents to 11 goals a game over the past five games before playing Wellington last Monday. Mottlow said the Wildcats are looking to diversify their offense in hopes of increasing their scoring average of 5.3 goals.

"Offensively, we need to become a little more tricky," Mottlow said. "And they're learning. As we play teams with interesting sets, they're learning more about what they should be doing."

Despite the team's record, Mottlow said the team's improvement has been apparent.

"We keep stepping up the challenges, and they keep meeting what we ask them to meet," Mottlow said. "We can't be disappointed in them. They're really working hard."

Davidson will travel Tuesday to Darby. Last season, the teams tied at 9 during the regular season and played to triple-overtime in the first round of the Division I regional tournament before Darby eventually prevailed 11-10.

•The Davidson boys team has continued its strong play as it looks to post its first winning season since 2002.

The Wildcats improved to 5-5 with an 11-9 win over Westerville Central last Friday, their fifth win in seven games. Davidson is 3-2 in Division I, Region 2 games, which bodes well for its goal of earning a home game in the first round of the regional tournament.

Coach Jason Godwin said he has been impressed with his team's progress but knows the schedule ahead won't make it easy to maintain that .500 record.

"We're not necessarily content. We're still trying to learn and get better. We've still got a very rough stretch ahead (in our next four games). We can't be happy with what we've done yet. We've got to try to win one of those, or three of those, or all four of those if possible."

The Wildcats have been consistent on offense, led by attacker Sky Strahler, who was averaging four goals before last Wednesday. The most impressive part of the Wildcats' game, however, has been their man-down defense, which includes Steven Goodwillie, Josh Maynard, Pat Dougherty, Nathan Mash, Justin Schick and Alex Thomas. The Wildcats set a goal of killing 75 percent of penalties in each game, and they met that goal in eight of their first 10 games.

"In our game (against Westerville Central), we had 10 penalties, and that game could have gone a very different direction had our man-down defense not have come through," Godwin said. "Our man-down defense came through in our win over St. Charles (9-8 on April 8), it came through in our win against Olentangy Liberty (8-7 on April 17)."

The Wildcats are as healthy as they have been all season. They still are missing midfielder Sean Lawler, who is out at least another week, but L.J. Wilson, a fourth-year starter on defense, made his first start last Friday after missing the first part of the season with an injury.

Attacker Jeremy Baker has returned to the lineup but is still day-to-day as recovers from a knee injury, and backup goalie Adam Lewis also is healthy and has started in several junior varsity games.

At a glance

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

DAVIDSON BOYS

*April 22 -- Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 15-6. Sky Strahler scored four goals and Josh Lambert and Jeremy Baker had one.

Last Friday -- Def. Westerville Central 11-9. Strahler scored three goals, Drew Morrison, Danny Winland and Zach Hurley scored two and Andy Roberts and Caleb Loesch scored one.

*Last Wednesday -- Played Thomas Worthington

Friday -- At Cincinnati Sycamore

Saturday -- At Cincinnati Indian Hill

*Wednesday -- Home vs. Upper Arlington

Of note: The Wildcats were 5-5 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before last Wednesday.

DAVIDSON GIRLS

April 22 -- Match vs. Olentangy Liberty canceled. The referees did not show up

Last Monday -- Lost to Wellington 19-4

*Last Wednesday -- Played Kilbourne

*Today -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

*Tuesday -- At Darby

May 7 -- Home vs. Hartley

Of note: The Wildcats were 0-8 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before last Monday.

DARBY BOYS

*April 22-- Lost to Jerome 16-2. Nick Liddil and Austin Bragg scored.

April 23 -- Lost to St. Charles 17-3

*Last Wednesday -- Played Dublin Coff-man

Saturday -- Home vs. Pickerington

Monday -- Home vs. Olentangy

*Wednesday -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

Of note: The Panthers were 1-6 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Buckeye before last Wednesday.

DARBY GIRLS

April 22 -- Defeated Bexley 12-9

*April 23 -- Lost to Jerome 14-2

*Last Tuesday -- Played Thomas Worthington

Today -- Home vs. Watterson

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Davidson

*May 7 -- At Kilbourne

Of note: The Panthers were 1-8 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Buckeye game