A season ago the Hartley High School girls lacrosse team won a postseason game for the first time in six years, beating Westerville Central 13-5.

A season ago the Hartley High School girls lacrosse team won a postseason game for the first time in six years, beating Westerville Central 13-5.

Whether or not it can repeat that accomplishment this spring may hinge heavily on what goes down in the next few days. The Hawks are one of three teams auditioning for the fourth seed in the seven-team South/Central Region of the Division II tournament.

"The games that we play now are the ones that will set us up for seeding, so a lot of how we do in the postseason kind of relies on how we do now," senior Jaclyn Mueller said.

The Hawks had the fourth seed last year and played at home against Central, which was unseeded. Since the final three teams all are unseeded, the fourth seed is critical because it would guarantee that Hartley would not have to play one of the top three seeds until the second round. The likely top three seeds -- Wellington, New Albany and Olentangy Liberty -- are a combined 20-10.

Coach Kevin Gieg said he believes that his Hartley team has a legitimate claim for the No. 4 spot, as do Westerville North and Westerville South. The spot will be decided by the coaches' votes and will be announced on Sunday night.

Hartley, which beat Division I Hilliard Darby 9-7 on April 24, is currently 4-5-1 overall and is 1-3-1 against Division II teams its region. North is 8-1 overall and 1-3 in the region, though its schedule is significantly weaker than Hartley and South. South is 2-8-1 overall and 0-3-1 in the region. North and South do not play until May 10, and South also does not play Central until Tuesday.

A couple of factors make the battle for the fourth seed particularly tight. For one, Hartley and South played to a tie at 4 in their only meeting on April 14, even though Hartley outshot South 30-7. Secondly, Hartley isn't scheduled to play North until Tuesday, two days after the seed meeting, although Gieg said he hoped to reschedule the game before Sunday.

"I think No. 4 is up for grabs," Gieg said. "I think three teams all have an argument for why they should be No. 4."

The Hawks have played well overall, but Gieg said he's tried to shift the focus back to the basics of the game in the past week. Too many times, he said, the Hawks have had a well-coordinated attack foiled because of a dropped ball near the goal.

"Sometimes on the basics, we get a little behind, just because we want to advance to do so many good things on the field," senior Rebecca Schlater said. "Sometimes it's like we're not passing the ball well and catching the ball well, but the past few days at practice we've really been practicing the basics."

On the whole, Gieg said it's hard to complain much about the way his team has played, and the future appears bright. The Hawks' leading scorer is a freshman, Emily Sweeney, who is the first product of the St. Catharine's Middle School program to make an impact on the varsity team.

Gieg said the Hawks have also gotten a nice lift from sophomore defender Sarah Erwin, who moved up from the junior varsity right before the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament on April 5.

Gieg, who is leaving after this season, said the program will be left in good hands with assistant coach Ann McElwee, who played at perennial power Sycamore in the late 1990s. McElwee seems to have made quite an impression on Gieg and his players in her first year with the team.

"Gieg is an awesome coach, he's been my favorite coach throughout school in any sport, but Ann, because she was just playing a couple years ago, just brings that experience," Schlater said.

"Because lacrosse is getting more popular and more well-known, the game itself is evolving and changing," senior MaryKate Pasini said. "So it helps to have new ideas in there."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Hartley baseball, softball and track and field teams:

BASEBALL

April 22 -- Defeated Bexley 11-4. Colt Stafford, Adam Gregor and Pat Stone all had a home run. Jeff Daley pitched six innings.

*April 23 -- Def. Watterson 8-2. Stone pitched six innings. Akil Cavin hit a solo home run.

*Last Friday -- Def. St. Charles 11-2. Kyle Barr pitched a complete game.

*Last Monday -- Lost to DeSales 8-6

*Last Wednesday -- Played Ready

*Friday -- At Worthington Christian

Saturday -- Home vs. Licking Valley

*Monday -- Home vs. Watterson

Tuesday -- At Bloom-Carroll

Wednesday -- Home vs. St. Charles

Of note: The Hawks were 12-5 overall and 4-2 in the CCL before last Wednesday.

SOFTBALL

*April 21 -- Lost to Watterson 3-0

*April 23 -- Lost to Ready 4-2

Last Friday -- Def. Brookside 2-1 in Stellar Classic at Beekman Park

Last Saturday -- Lost to Madison Plains 3-1 in Stellar Classic

*Last Monday -- Lost to DeSales 5-0

*Friday -- Home vs. Worthington Christian

Saturday -- Home vs. Berne Union

Tuesday -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg

May 8 -- At Big Walnut

Of note: The Hawks are 6-12 overall and 2-4 in the CCL.

TRACK & FIELD

Last Friday -- Boys: Finished seventh (43) in Russ Owen/Bexley Relays behind champion Bexley (78); Girls: Finished fifth (47) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (90). Hartley won the sprint medley (1:52.4).

Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished eighth (61) in Kallner Invitational at Hamilton Township behind champion Grove City (105). Rufus Walls won the 200 (22.34); Girls: Finished second (98) behind Thornville Sheridan (125.5). Aisha Cavin won the 100 (13.26), Paige Coleman won the 300 hurdles (49.57) and Ashlee Hoffman won the 200 (27.08). Hartley won the 800 (1:45.4), 400 (52.5) and 1,600 (4:15.3) relays.

Last Wednesday -- Competed at Whetstone

Friday -- At Huber Heights Wayne Invitational

Saturday -- At Jesse Owens Classic at Ohio State

Wednesday -- At Red Devil Relays at Marion Franklin

*CCL contest