The DeSales High School boys lacrosse team will be counting on its defense early this season.

The DeSales High School boys lacrosse team will be counting on its defense early this season.

Not only did the Stallions lose first-team All-American and Division II state Attacker of the Year J.T. Blubaugh to graduation, but they are learning new offensive sets and trying to find key contributors.

"Defensively, we're coming along a lot faster than the offense," 10th-year coach Matt Triplet said. "But we're adding a brand-new offense, too. There are a lot of ingredients in the pot that we're stirring right now. They're starting to jell. They're looking good. We've been pushing them hard to see where we are and how the guys will respond."

DeSales, which is seeking its second Division II state championship in three years, opened March 26 at home against Pickerington North. The Stallions finished 11-5 last year, losing to eventual champion Cincinnati Mariemont 16-9 in a state semifinal.

Blubaugh, who had 41 goals and 11 assists last season, now plays at Ohio State.

DeSales' defense returns all but one player, Drew Selegue, who opted to participate in track and field in his senior year. Senior Austin Jackson, who has signed with Rollins College, leads a unit that includes senior Hunter Chapman, junior Ben Hippler and sophomore Charlie Romano and is backed up by senior goalkeeper Ben Dumm, a two-year starter.

Other defenders are juniors Sam Bresnahan and Grant Gabel, sophomores Eric Myers, Nick McClary and Vinnie Susi and freshman Colton Hilleary.

"We're already pretty good at covering and communicating," said Jackson, who was named first-team all-Central Region last year. "Our sticks look great in practice. We've been clearing well and we've been in sync. We know nothing's going to be easy this year."

Despite losing Blubaugh and its points leader from a year ago in Matt Chadwick (37 goals, 28 assists, 65 points) to graduation, DeSales returns its leading scorer in junior attacker Nick Cannon, who had 43 goals. Sophomore attacker Nick Musci had 21 goals and seven assists last year and senior attacker McLean Fitzmartin, a Wheeling Jesuit signee who was first-team all-region last year, had 19 goals and six assists.

Cannon and Dumm were second-team all-region.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Tyler Klutch (attacker), Dante Pezzutti (midfielder) and Tucker Yinger (attacker), juniors Holden Chapman (goalie) and Hunter Hays (midfielder), sophomores Connor Beecroft (midfielder), Jonathan Desiderio (midfielder), Anthony Gatto (attacker), Nick McClary (defender), Ben Plzak (attacker), Josh Puscker (attacker), Lee Schockling (midfielder), Ragan Tuffey (midfielder) and Drake Yinger (midfielder) and freshmen Zach Bosco (attacker), Michael Brown (midfielder), Dominic DiMaccio (midfielder), Brady Krietemeyer (attacker), Jacob Mierzejewski (midfielder), Joe Revard (midfielder) and Chris Stoll (attacker).

"A lot of pieces are there," Triplet said. "It's more or less finding which slots they fit into right now and which pieces work with which pieces."

Cargin leads way forgirls lacrosse team

With seven returning starters, third-year girls lacrosse coach Joe Finotti is optimistic that his team's upward trend can continue.

DeSales has increased its number of wins annually the past three years, going from five in 2011 to eight in 2012 to 12 last season, when the Stallions finished 12-5-1 overall and went 4-2-1 in the eight-team Central Independent League to place third behind champion Columbus Academy (7-0).

"This is by far the best skilled team in the program's history," said Finotti, whose team opened March 25 at Olentangy Orange and has its home and league opener Friday, March 28, against Watterson. "How that translates to wins and losses, we'll have to wait and see. We can do some more advanced stuff, but that said, we always stress fundamentals from day one."

Senior midfielder Ali Cargin is the Stallions' top returning scorer, having recorded 34 goals and being named first-team all-league and second-team all-South/Central Region in Division II last year.

The other returning starters are seniors Katelynn Doran (defender), Toni Halter (attacker/defender), Liza Hornyak (midfielder) and Maggie Simon (defender) and juniors Marie Finotti (defen-der) and Cayman Nebraska (attacker).

Simon began the season sidelined with a broken right wrist sustained during basketball season.

According to coach Finotti, other projected starters were junior attacker/defender Julia Daniels, sophomore attacker Natalie Zolnier and sophomore attacker/midfielder Ema Pusecker. The goalies are junior Makenze King and freshman Emily Kraker.

"We're pretty young in some areas, but we're really athletic," Cargin said. "We're just working on moving the ball and setting up some plays. A lot of the younger players do have varsity experience. It's just getting it down, mastering their skills and making sure they can be confident."

Also on the team are seniors Maria Burkey (defender), Brianne Lehman (attacker/defen-der), Daysha Love (defender) and Saoirse Walton (midfielder), sophomores Adelaide Penzone (attacker) and Genevieve Penzone (midfielder) and freshmen Jennie Finotti (attacker) and Jaclyn Gilmore (defender).

Schedules

BOYS LACROSSE

March 26 -- vs. Pickerington North

March 29 -- Glenbrook (Ill.) at Dublin Coffman

April 2 -- vs. Watterson

April 4 -- Wildcat Classic at Westerville South

April 9 -- at Columbus Academy

April 11 -- at Westerville Central

April 15 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

April 23 -- vs. Bexley

April 25 -- vs. Delaware

April 26 -- vs. Toledo St. Francis

April 29 -- at Granville

May 3 -- at St. Charles

May 8 -- at Pickerington Central

May 10 -- vs. Cincinnati Turpin

May 12 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

May 14 -- vs. Westerville North

GIRLS LACROSSE

March 25 -- at Olentangy Orange

*March 28 -- vs. Watterson

April 1 -- vs. Westerville Central

*April 3 -- at Columbus Academy

April 5 -- at New Albany

*April 8 -- vs. Bexley

*April 10 -- at Granville

April 12 -- Middletown Fenwick in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington

April 12 -- Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine-Richland in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament

*April 25 -- at Columbus School for Girls

April 26 -- vs. Gahanna

*April 29 -- vs. Hartley

*May 1 -- at Wellington

May 3 -- at Olentangy

May 6 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

May 8 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*League contest