Lacrosse always has been important to Hilliard Bradley High School girls coach Becky Mottlow, but it never has been as important as it is now.
The sport, particularly the members of the Jaguars' program, has provided solace after her husband of 16 years, Harry, died March 22.
"The love I feel for these girls and our assistant coaches ... you can't describe it," said Mottlow, who is in her fourth season leading the Jaguars. "They all came to the (viewing and funeral) services ... it was just amazing. It just goes to show that a lot of lacrosse happens off of the field."
Mottlow was emotional after Bradley defeated host Davidson 13-10 on April 10 in an OCC-Ohio Division contest. She coached the Wildcats from 2007-09 and taught Spanish at Davidson for nine years before Bradley opened in August 2009.
"I have had some of the most life-changing moments in the last few weeks and coaching has been something I consider essential to moving on," Mottlow said. "Both of my assistant coaches -- Mike Mignery and Kristen Murray -- have been amazing. They stepped in and took things over when I wasn't there. They really shouldered everything during that time."
Bradley was 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Olentangy Liberty on April 16. No games or practices were postponed or canceled during Mottlow's absence. After a 14-8 win over Hartley in their season opener April 2, members of the team made sure that Mottlow received an update on the game.
"They called me to tell me they had won and that was the most joyous moment I have had coaching," said Mottlow, who returned to the sidelines in a 12-10 loss to her alma mater, Thomas Worthington, on April 6. "That really picked me up."
Murray said the players have dedicated the season to Mottlow.
"It's been a very uniting thing," Murray said. "The girls have come together and worked as a group. They even have been wearing orange headbands with a Hawaiian-shirt theme. They have come ready to practice and ready to play all spring. They really want to do well for coach."
Against Davidson, senior attacker Kwynn Herr and senior midfielder Mackenzie Mignery both had four goals and sophomore defender Libby Rains and freshman defender Grace Anton both scored two. Senior goalkeeper Amanda Capriato had eight saves.
Bradley defeated Bexley 10-8 on April 11.
"We have moments of excellence on the field mingled with moments of desperation or worry," Mottlow said. "It seems like the more (the players) think about something, the more it can affect them.
"This is our first four-year class at Bradley, coming from freshmen to seniors, so this is a special one. They are a lot of fun to coach."
Harry Mottlow III, 45, was an assistant wrestling coach at Davidson.
Darby girls entered week without a win
The Darby girls team was 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Worthington Kilbourne on April 16.
The Panthers lost their league opener, falling to New Albany 20-1 on April 8. They lost non-league games against Chillicothe (16-13 on March 30), Olentangy (19-0 on April 2) and Marysville (12-11 on April 6).
Davidson girls playing as unit
The Davidson girls team lost its leading scorer, senior midfielder Rachelle Walko, to a knee injury during the loss to Bradley.
Walko, who has signed to play at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., after having 44 goals, four assists and 69 groundballs last season and making first-team all-league, is out indefinitely. She had three goals against the Jaguars before sustaining the injury.
Junior attacker Lane Garrett and junior midfielder Christine Kausel also scored three goals apiece against Bradley and goalie Marie Austin had 12 saves.
"We have continued to improve and, as a coaching staff, we're extremely proud of the way that (the players) have been playing together," said coach Anne Bowen, whose team was 2-5 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Ohio after losing to Dublin Scioto 14-9 on April 15.
"They are beginning to realize that when they play together and when they know their roles, they can win."