The Hilliard Davidson High School boys lacrosse team tied a program record for victories last season and started the season strong with four consecutive wins last weekend, giving coach Jason Godwin cause for optimism.

The Hilliard Davidson High School boys lacrosse team tied a program record for victories last season and started the season strong with four consecutive wins last weekend, giving coach Jason Godwin cause for optimism.

The Wildcats finished 12-8 overall after falling to Dublin Jerome 13-8 in a Division 1, Region 2 semifinal last year. The only other time the program reached 12 wins since it reached varsity status in 1989 was a 12-4 mark in 1994.

On March 25, the Wildcats opened with a 25-0 win over Covington (Ky.) Catholic before topping Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier 5-4 last Friday and beating Naperville (Ill.) North Hinsdale Central 9-4 and Louisville Trinity 18-6 last Saturday.

"Last year's team set a new standard for Davidson lacrosse," Goodwin said. "That will have an impact because we are returning most of the key contributors on points from last season."

The Wildcats return their leading scorer in senior attacker Sky Strahler, who had 63 goals and 19 assists. Senior attacker Danny Winland added 23 goals and eight assists and junior attacker Drew Morrison had 27 goals and 27 assists.

The midfield will include juniors J.D. Detmer, Derek Hohn, Casey Topp and Cody Topp with Pat Dougherty back for his fourth season as a defender. Other defenders include seniors Alex Kuszmaul, Sean Lawler and Justin Schick as well as junior goalie Adam Lewis.

"We should have a solid defense, starting all seniors, and our goalie Adam Lewis was really a key on our trip last week," Goodwin said. "Offensively, we are experienced and talented in the attack and even though we may be younger in the midfield, we expect to run with any team."

Troy Campbell (A), Michael Murphy (D), Drew Scott (MF) and Zach Walker (D) are also seniors. Other juniors include Matt Arthur (MF), Cory Davis (D), Chris Evans (MF), Charlie Lantz (MF), Chase Tefend (A) and Walker Tice (D). Midfielder Matt Kausel is the lone sophomore.

"Our strength is experience. There are 13 returning letterwinners," Godwin said. "A lot of these guys have been with me since I started here three years ago and they buy into the new Davidson system.

"But we have a lot of games this year. So we need to stay in shape, stay consistent and continue to improve every game and stay off a plateau."

Last season the Wildcats were 2-5 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish sixth behind champion Worthington Kilbourne (7-0).

•Darby has a new coach in Rob Schmeling. He was an assistant for nine seasons at Upper Arlington and has worked with the Hilliard Youth Lacrosse Association for the past five years.

The Panthers lost their opener 4-2 to Wellington with senior midfielder Tyler Smetanko and sophomore attacker Toren Moore scoring goals.

"We lost quite a few (players) to Bradley, so we don't have a j.v. or a freshman team," said Schmeling, whose team went 3-13 overall last season. "I think in the long run our youth will play dividends, but now we hope to rebuild."

Smetanko, who had 10 goals last season, along with senior goalie Jeff Smith and senior attacker Corbin Wolfe (nine goals last year) have the most varsity experience. Other seniors include Lance Cordova (MF) and Brandon Friedley (D).

The juniors include Ryan Belcher (MF), Nick Belli (D), Sam Fisher (A), Alex Ghilani (A), Jeremy Hawthorne (D), James Holt (D), Jacob Hooker (MF), Harrison Kitts (D) and Scott Mitchell (MF). The sophomores include Don Bennett (MF), Nick Cory (D), Kirby Dearth (MF), David Jordan (D), Cody Klein (D), Spencer Kocher (A), Cameron Leach (MF), Moore and Gabe Quinones (D).

Tyler Dixon (G), Alex Martin (D) and Jacob Wende (MF) are freshmen.

"I have been pleasantly surprised with younger talent that is heavily-weighted in the sophomore class and their commitment to turn this program around," Schmeling said. "Kirby Dearth has stepped up as a leader and sophomore defenseman Nick Cory has stepped up as well."

The Panthers were 0-6 in the OCC-Buckeye last season to finish last behind champion Kilbourne.

"The focus will be based on fundamentals," Schmeling said. "For us to grow as a team, we have to be fundamentally-sound."

•Bradley played the program's first game last Wednesday at Bexley under coach Dom Manzano, who was an assistant at Davidson for the past three seasons.

"The toughest thing about starting a program is implementing a new system," Marzano said. "We had to find out each player's strengths before we could set a system in place. The players have done an excellent job of adapting and being coachable."

The Jaguars have three players who had varsity experience last season at Darby. They include juniors Cameron Elavsky (MF), Alex Gossard (D) and Nick Sparks (A).

"We only have three players with some varsity experience, but I don't think that will limit our team," Marzano said. "This team practices very hard and at game speed. They are going to make the transition to the speed of the varsity level very easily."

Elavsky is a co-captain along with junior defender Alex Barton and junior midfielder Frankie Riffe. Sophomore Logan Muether is the goalie.

Other juniors include Connor Babb (D), Max Bragg (MF), Kyle Eaton (D), Tyler Hay (MF), Taylor Mummert (A), Nick Petikas (A), Connor Stephens (D) and Drew Weber with sophomores being Jalen Jackson (MF), Austin Johnston (D), Eric Rasberg (A) and Eric Warner (MF).

Justin Bowers (A), Cody Planck (D) and Jared Roudabush (MF) are freshmen.

"Our leadership has been great. We have 12 juniors that have setting the tempo since November," said Marzano, whose team plays in the Division 2, Central Region. "They are setting a standard for Bradley lacrosse. It started in the offseason with never missing lifting and conditioning. They have set a trend that all the players in the program have bought into.

"One thing we need to work on is communicating on the field 100 percent of the time. We have great communication for 80 percent of the time. The players have been accountable for that weakness and have shown great progress since starting practice."

At a glance

BRADLEY

•Coach: Dom Marzano, first season

•Next game: Saturday at Olentangy Orange

•Key players: Alex Barton, Cameron Elavsky, Alex Gossard, Logan Muether, Frankie Riffe and Nick Sparks

Schedule

March 31 vs. Bexley

*April 3 at Olentangy Orange

*April 7 vs. Olentangy

*April 9 vs. New Albany

April 14 vs. Pickerington North

*April 16 at Darby

April 21 vs. Watterson

April 24 at Granville

April 28 at DeSales

*April 30 vs. Gahanna

*May 5 at Olentangy Liberty

May 7 at Pickerington Central

May 10 vs. Westerville North

May 12 vs. Delaware

May 14 at Westerville Central

May 15 at Wellington

*OCC-Ohio game

DARBY

•Coach: Rob Schmeling, first season

•Next game: Friday at Gahanna

•Key players: Nick Cory, Kirby Dearth, Toren Moore, Tyler Smetanko, Jeff Smith and Corbin Wolfe

Schedule

March 22 Lost to Wellington 4-2

March 31 at Upper Arlington

*April 2 at Gahanna

*April 7 vs. Olentangy Liberty

April 9 vs. Westerville South

April 14 vs. Watterson

*April 16 vs. Bradley

*April 21 at Olentangy Orange

*April 22 at Olentangy

*April 28 vs. New Albany

April 30 at Dublin Coffman

May 5 vs. Pickerington North

May 7 at Loveland

May 8 at Cincinnati Sycamore

May 12 vs. Thomas Worthington

May 14 vs. Hilliard Davidson

*OCC-Buckeye game

DAVIDSON

•Coach: Jason Godwin, third season

•Next game: Friday at North Canton Hoover

•Key players: Pat Dougherty, Alex Kuszmaul, Sean Lawler, Drew Morrison, Justin Schick, Sky Strahler and Danny Winland

Schedule

March 25 Defeated Covington (Ky.) Catholic 25-0

March 26 Def. Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier 5-4

March 27 Def. Naperville (Ill.) North Hinsdale Central 9-4 and Def. Louisville (Ky.) Trinity 18-6

*March 31 vs. Thomas Worthington

April 2 at North Canton Hoover

*April 7 at Dublin Scioto

April 8 vs. South Bend (Ind.) Saint Joseph

April 10 vs. Mason

April 14 vs. Westerville South

April 16 at Olentangy Liberty

*April 21 at Upper Arlington

April 23 vs. Cincinnati Sycamore

*April 28 at Dublin Coffman

April 30 vs. Westerville North

*May 5 vs. Dublin Jerome

May 7 vs. Westerville Central

*May 12 vs. Worthington Kilbourne

May 14 at Darby

May 15 at St. Charles

May 19 at Olentangy

*OCC-Buckeye game