The New Albany High School boys lacrosse team is hoping to pick up where it left off.

The New Albany High School boys lacrosse team is hoping to pick up where it left off.

Despite a 16-6 loss to second-seeded DeSales in a Division II Central Region semifinal, the Eagles won eight of their final 10 games last season to finish 12-7 overall. They beat Bexley 16-10 in a tournament play-in game and defeated Olentangy 12-5 in the first round.

The late-season surge enabled the Eagles to post a 4-2 mark in the OCC-Ohio Division to place third behind Olentangy Liberty (5-0) and Olentangy (5-1) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (2-3), Hilliard Bradley (2-4), Olentangy Orange (1-5) and Gahanna (1-5). Liberty and Darby did not make up a game postponed because of bad weather.

"We had a good finish," said first-year coach Chris Brown, who was an assistant under former coach Sean McGinnis the past two years and also previously worked as a coach at the middle school and as an official. "Things didn't go the way we wanted in the tournament, obviously, but we made a nice run at the end. Hopefully, we'll be able to build on that."

With senior Connor Hinson returning in goal, defense is expected to be among the team's strengths. The Eagles have three other key defenders back as well. They include juniors Sean Conley and Louis Zuk, and senior George Brand plays a role as well as a long-stick midfielder.

Hinson, who made first-team all-league and second-team all-region, has signed to play at Hampden-Sydney, a Division III college in Virginia. Conley, who missed the second half of last season with a hip injury, is the top-field defender.

"We really, really like our defense," Brown said. "And we're pretty deep in the midfield, too."

The Eagles, who open Wednesday, March 28, at Dublin Coffman, did lose two key midfielders to graduation, however. They were Braden Passias, who made first-team all-league and second-team all-region, and Tyler Harris, who made honorable mention all-league. Also departing was attacker Clyde Wallace, who made second-team all-league.

This year's midfield group is anchored by seniors Zach Pewitt, Ben Schottenstein and Jason Weir. Brown said that Pewitt, who might play football in college at the Division III level, is the team's most athletic player.

The attackers include seniors Jordan Weir and Brendan Bower.

"We have some things I think we've lacked maybe a little in the past," Brown said. "The (12) seniors have really taken hold of this team. The guys seem to be more focused, a little more comfortable playing with each other."

The roster also features seniors Kyle Cardinal, Johna Charles, A.J. Hackett, Jesse Serafin and Brian Van Runkle, junior Matt Puleri, sophomores Doug Collins, Chris Helton, Wes Ferguson, Garrett Greco, Trevor Lambert, Drew Little and Sam Reader and freshmen Jack Burgdoerfer, Ryan Dunn, Cooper Pewitt, Robby Serafin, Jack Schroer and Christo Semertsidis.

The Eagles will play their first eight games on the road, including the OCC-Ohio opener March 31 at Olentangy. The first home game isn't until April 18 against Liberty.

"Before I became the coach, the schedule was already made," Brown said. "We only have (six) home games. It just ended up that way. We'll deal with it. You can or should be able to win anywhere."