Matt Chadwick was content being a starter with a supporting role for the DeSales High School boys lacrosse team last year as a junior, but the season's final days let him know that his role would be changing.
When the Stallions lost standout attacker J.T. Blubaugh to an emergency appendectomy two days before the Division II state final, Chadwick's minutes increased and he was asked to provide more offense.
Chadwick didn't score in the Stallions' 8-6 win over Rocky River in the state final, but the contest gave him a head start on being a leader for his senior season.
"The spot I had in the regular season was just (being) the guy who was able to move the ball around, get some looks and get the plays to where they needed to be, not necessarily the guy who was scoring the goals or getting in the paper," he said. "Now I'm stepping into the older guys' shoes -- not only their play, but their mentality off the field."
Coach Matt Triplet said that's a departure of sorts for Chadwick, an attacker who scored five goals in a season-opening 18-0 win over Wellington on April 3.
"Last year, he was the little brother on a team with (15) seniors," said Triplet, whose seniors last season accounted for more than 200 goals. "He was the jokester, the prankster and the guy with the extra little comments. Now it's his turn to step up and be the mature one. He's really stepping into his own, finding out who he really is, both on and off the field."
Chadwick, who said he is entertaining the idea of playing at Capital University, takes his role as a captain personally.
"Some of it is just letting the guys know I'm here for them from a friendship standpoint, whether it's in the hallways or just hanging out or on the field," he said. "With the young players we do have, you get into situations sometimes where you panic or are rushed or flustered. The biggest part about stepping up was being able to have them look up to me and know when things are getting rough, they can go to their captain and I'll be there."
Sophomore attacker Nick Cannon had five goals against Wellington and scored a game-high five goals in an 8-7 win over Pickerington North on April 5. The Stallions lost to Toledo St. Francis 14-11 on April 13 to fall to 2-1.
"We're starting to identify the roles people will play now and kind of jell together," Triplet said. "It's not about how you're playing in April, it's about how you're playing in May. If we're experiencing some of those growing pains now, that's more ideal for putting us in a better position come tournament time."
Baseball team still tinkering with lineup
After losing its first five games, the baseball team earned its first win April 9, defeating Delaware 10-8.
The Stallions outhit the Pacers 10-8 and overcame four errors.
"Only one guy in the lineup didn't have a hit and we limited our strikeouts (to one)," coach Tom Neubert said. "Coming in, we were averaging nine per game. We're setting little goals and finally seeing the payoff for achieving those. We just have to put the ball in play and then make those routine plays ourselves. If we can do that, I think we're going to be in good shape."
DeSales had a total of six hits in its first three games. The Stallions had only one hit in an 8-0 loss to Piketon in their opener April 1, had three hits in a 2-0 loss to Wheelersburg on April 2 and had two hits in a 12-2, six-inning loss to Hilliard Darby on April 3.
"The goal is to make sure we're improving every day," Neubert said. "We're still juggling things, trying to find the right spots for people. We're starting to figure things out."
The Stallions were 2-5 before playing their home opener April 16 against Fisher Catholic and began CCL play April 17 at home against St. Charles.
New girls soccer coach welcomes challenge
Having served as an assistant coach for one of the area's top Division I girls soccer programs in recent years, Matt D'Auteuil told himself that only the head coaching position at DeSales could lure him away from Dublin Coffman.
When the job came open in February, the 2000 DeSales graduate pounced -- and came home.
"I was content with what we had at Coffman, but when this job came open I thought about it and knew it would be nice to come home to my alma mater," said D'Auteuil, who was an assistant to his brother, Marc, the past four years, during which time Coffman went 58-14-13, won four consecutive Division I district titles and was state runner-up in 2009. "It's something where I want to be a part of the program and the school and just help give something back to a place that gave me a lot."
D'Auteuil succeeds Bob McGee, who resigned in January after two seasons. McGee guided DeSales to the Division II state title in 2011 and a state runner-up finish last fall, when the Stallions lost to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 5-0 in the final.
"At DeSales, the hard-work aspect is ingrained," D'Auteuil said. "Everywhere you go, everyone you play knows about DeSales' work ethic. Second, I believe in an offensive style. They had a lot of one- and two-goal games here last year. When we score, I don't want us to pack it in."