Katie Hernandez of the New Albany High School girls lacrosse team scored three goals in the Eagles' opener, but personal accolades are secondary for the senior attacker.
She placed more emphasis on the four assists she recorded in the 14-13 overtime loss to Mason on April 6.
"I had three goals today, but that's not really important," she said. "Every game, I want to help somebody else score. I care about assists a lot more than goals."
That was obvious last year, when Hernandez had 32 goals and 56 assists as the Eagles went 16-4, made their sixth consecutive state tournament appearance and lost to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown 17-13 in the Division II final.
Even though Hernandez had three goals in each of the Eagles' first three games, coach Dave Ferguson expects her assists to again outnumber her goals by the time her prep career ends.
"Katie keys it all," said Ferguson, whose team took records of 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division into an April 16 league game at Thomas Worthington. "She feeds the ball, works the crease and just knows where her teammates are going to be.
"She's the quarterback of our offense. She puts the ball in places where we need it."
But Hernandez's chemistry with her teammates, notably senior mid-fielder/attacker Elaina Enich and senior midfielder Morgan Fee, hasn't come without a lot of extra work. Through three games, Enich had 13 goals, Fee had 11 and Hernandez had nine.
"Morgan and Elaina definitely are my go-to girls. I always am looking for them," Hernandez said. "We always have great chemistry in the crease and we even have plays involved with just us taking advantage of that chemistry. We practice the chemistry on the goal at least 30 minutes a day, working on 2-on-2s, 3-on-3s and game-like situations."
Fee, an Ohio State signee, couldn't give enough credit to Hernandez, who also is a club teammate with the Midwestern Force.
"There's not one word to describe how important she is to this team," Fee said. "She does so much to create good situations for us. She will pass off the ball and get everyone else goals. She's selfless."
Hernandez's lineage might have dictated her lacrosse destiny. Her older sister, 2010 New Albany graduate Cara Hernandez, was an attacker for the Eagles and now plays that position at Robert Morris University. Their younger sister, Liza, is a freshman attacker at New Albany.
Cara Hernandez was a four-year letterwinner and the offensive Most Valuable Player of the 2008 state tournament, when the Eagles won the second of three consecutive Division II state championships.
Katie Hernandez said she probably will play club lacrosse at Ohio State, where she hopes to pursue a degree in the medical field. Even then, her legacy might be felt at New Albany.
"We're hoping Liza can do some big things, too," Ferguson said. "The talent definitely runs in the family."
Softball team putting up big numbers
On one hand, softball coach Patrick Finn thinks his team's 9-8 win over Franklin Heights in OCC-Capital play April 10 might be par for the course this season.
On the other, he hopes he doesn't see many more games like it.
The Eagles got a grand slam from junior shortstop Kaitlyn Gliha in the third inning and outhit the Falcons 13-10, but they committed seven errors and needed senior utility player Jackie Drago's sacrifice fly to score junior outfielder Abbie Skowron with the winning run in the seventh.
"We knew at the beginning of the season that we'd have these types of games this year," Finn said. "Franklin Heights is vastly improved and they'll give teams a lot of fights. The way that game went, I think it's one our players can learn from."
The Eagles entered the week with records of 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Capital. New Albany had scored at least eight runs in five of its first six games before losing to Granville 14-0 and Dresden Tri-Valley 9-3 on April 13.
"We're putting up a lot of good offense inning-by-inning. We're where we want to be offensively," Finn said. "Defensively, we must get a lot better (and) communicate a lot better. We don't expect our pitchers to strike out a lot, just put the defense in a good position. Our pitchers are trusting the defense to make the plays, and we just have to do that for them."
Boys lacrosse team picking up steam
After a 0-3 start, the boys lacrosse team has won three of four entering a Thursday, April 18, game at Watterson.
Sophomore attacker Ryan Dunn had all four goals in the Eagles' opening 5-4 loss to Thomas Worthington on March 28 and had back-to-back three-goal games last week against Hilliard Darby (10-4 win April 12) and Wooster (10-6 win April 13). Junior attacker Garrett Greco added three goals against Darby, and senior midfielder Matt Puleri and sophomore midfielder Christo Semertsidis had two each against Wooster.
New Albany is 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Ohio. The game at Watterson is the Eagles' first road game since the loss to Thomas and their last until May 3 at Granville.