Two years ago, coach Scott Hamilton put the New Albany High School boys lacrosse team in the hands of a sophomore.

Two years ago, coach Scott Hamilton put the New Albany High School boys lacrosse team in the hands of a sophomore.

The Eagles were in just their fourth year as a program, but the move to name a player that young as one of the captains was bold nonetheless. The sophomore had experience -- he played on the varsity the year before -- but he still was in just his third year playing the sport at all.

But it isn't hard for current coach Garry Falor, who joined the team as an assistant last year, to understand the rationale.

"He's just a great kid who's got all the right attributes as a captain," Falor said. "He's not loud, but I think his presence absolutely makes him a great candidate for being a captain."

The key was that Logan Bird, who also played four years of soccer at New Albany, was named captain that season because he had earned the respect of his teammates, not the other way around.

"I think because of my work ethic my freshman year, I had gained a lot of respect coming into my sophomore year," Bird said. "When coach named me, of course there were some older guys who wanted to be captain who were skeptical, but for me, I just tried to lead by example, instead of in a vocal way."

Plenty has changed within the program since that season, but Bird as a captain has been a constant. Bird, who had seven goals as a freshman, was fourth on the team in goals with 21 in 2006 and led the team with 51 last season. This season, Bird had scored nine goals before last Tuesday's game against Olentangy Liberty, and he again is one of the team's top offensive threats, along with junior Matt Bower (13 goals).

The Eagles were just 1-3 before last Tuesday, but neither Falor nor Bird believe there is reason to worry. Two of the losses have been by one goal against Division I teams (14-13 to Westerville North on April 8; 12-11 to Westerville Central on April 9), and the Eagles are making solid progress considering their youth. There are a few veterans, including senior Adam Mauk, the only other three-year letterwinner, but the team is replacing most of last year's starting lineup.

"The first two games that we lost by one were games that we thought we could have won and probably should have won, most definitely," Bird said. "But for us, it's still been a big growing experience, considering the disparity we have between experienced and inexperienced high school players."

It doesn't hurt knowing that the Eagles were just 5-4 last year before winning 10 in a row on the way to reaching the Division II state final.

"I actually planned the season so we'd start with some Division II teams that we thought we'd have a chance against, and we'd have to play up to their level," Falor said. "And the boys are doing that. We have not started league play (Division II, Region 3), and when we start league play, I think we're going to do just fine."

With such a young team overall, Falor couldn't ask for a much better leader than what he's got in Bird, who said he plans on trying out for the team at Brigham Young next season. Falor said Bird's stick skills and his physical endurance are obvious, but what stands out, and what Falor hopes the younger players can learn from, is Bird's cerebral approach to the game.

"A lot of the younger kids, they're almost there, and that's a good thing to take after," Falor said. "I think it's more knowledge-based with the game, and the skills will come. I think if you have the knowledge of the game going in and you're a very good athlete, I think it just tends to happen."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the New Albany boys and girls lacrosse teams:

BOYS

*April 15 -- Lost to Olentangy 12-4. Kevin Bailey scored two goals, and Matt Bower and Logan Bird had one.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Olentangy Liberty

*Today -- Home vs. Westerville South

Saturday -- At Toledo St. Francis

Monday -- At Johnstown

Wednesday -- Home vs. Granville

May 2 -- Home vs. Watterson

Of note: The Eagles were 1-3 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

April 15 -- Defeated Columbus Academy 11-7

*April 17-- Def. Olentangy 20-3. Andrea Ebeling scored six goals and Murphy Ferguson, Molly Hamilton and Cara Laviola had three. Brittany Giles had 13 saves.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Liberty

*Last Wednesday -- Played Westerville Central

Today -- At Thomas Worthington

Saturday -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby

Tuesday -- At Dublin Jerome

*May 1 -- Home vs. Westerville South

Of note: The Eagles were 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Ohio game