The Westerville North High School girls club lacrosse team took a step in the positive direction this season with its first postseason win.

The Westerville North High School girls club lacrosse team took a step in the positive direction this season with its first postseason win.

The Warriors defeated Olentangy Liberty 14-5 May 14 the first round of the Division I North Region tournament before losing to Toledo St. Ursula Academy 15-11 in a regional semifinal.

North finished 16-4 overall. The Warriors were second in the OCC-Ohio Division at 5-1 behind New Albany (6-0) and ahead of Olentangy (3-3), Olentangy Orange (3-3), Liberty (2-4), South (1-5) and Central (0-6).

"It was a very successful season for us," first-year coach Richard Case said. "With a new coach coming in, it's kind of hard knowing what to expect at the beginning of the season. The girls accomplished more than they have before."

Not only did the Warriors win a game for the first time in the Division I postseason, they set a program record for wins in a season.

North loses nine seniors including Samantha Bahan (second-team all-OCC), Monica Craigmile (first-team all-OCC), Sarah Eichhorn, Casey Flynn (second-team all-OCC), Elizabeth Horton, Caitlin McKenzie, Samantha Powell, Sophia Sapia and Molly Schleve (honorable mention all-OCC). Those players started with the program in 2006, the year North broke off from a united Westerville team.

North has continued to stay ahead of the other two Westerville schools, winning both games convincingly this season. The Warriors defeated South 16-2 on March 31 before beating Central 14-2 on April 27.

"Eight of the nine seniors were starters, so we lose two thirds of our starting team," Case said. "The seniors meant a lot in terms of leadership. The younger girls really turned to them. The four sophomores that played a lot had by far better stats than the seniors did at that age."

North is expected to return juniors Caitlin Bonacuse, Rita Finy, Colleen Moore and Madison West as well as sophomores Keama Garrett, Taylor Hurl (first-team all-OCC), Kaitlyn Kropf and Molly Petruzzi (first-team all-OCC).

Hurl (51) and Craigmile (50) led the team in goals. Those two accounted for over 42 percent of North's goals. Hurl and Garrett (27 goals) are expected to be the team's top returning scorers. Defensively the Warriors will be looking for someone to replace Horton at goalkeeper.

"The North lacrosse team has always been overlooked," said Bahan, who finished with 14 goals as a midfielder. "I feel we made a name four ourselves, so now as a senior people started to respect us."

Bahan said the biggest difference between this season and the past was the way the team pulled together with Case. For a team that has had three coaches in the last three seasons, Case made players feel closer than in past year Bahan said. For instance a team fundraiser raised $48,000 to provide a wheelchair-accessible van for Kelly Hanlin, a 2005 North graduate who suffers from spinal muscle atrophy.

"Under (Case) the team bonding was so amazing," Bahan said. "Somehow he just united us all. Before we all kind of stayed in different groups. He made it feel like it was a family."

•South finished 2-12 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Ohio. The Wildcats' lone league win came against Central 8-7 on April 9.

South, which was under the direction of first-year coach Laura Reynolds, lost in the first round of the Division I South Region to Hilliard Darby 17-7 on May 12. The Wildcats will lose seniors Katie Bondy, Helena Hayter and Marlaina Patterson. It would have been more, but several players from last year did not return for their senior season and South had to take a step back this year to teach fundamental concepts to a large body of new players.

Expected to return are junior captains Sarah Escape and Caitlyn Quigley as well as juniors Alex Beard, Kaelyn Bildsten, Cat Cadieux, Lauren Knight and Crystal Shilling. Sophomores Kiaya Lynn, Gabby Silverman and Devin Woods and freshmen Kinsey Clearman, Blake Duhl, Brittany Fandrey, Sally Mackin, Brittni Padgett, Taelor Severing, Abby Sutliff and Maggie Van Keuhls are also expected back.

"As far as next year, it is very important for all the girls to return," assistant coach Victoria Halvorsen said. "It is not fair to the team to have to teach so many beginners over and over. We need strength in our previous players to help guide and coach the new girls coming in."

•Central finished the program's third season 4-9 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Ohio under first-year coach Colleen McCambridge. The Warhawks will lose seniors Melissa Foster, Alyssa Pearce, Zoey Marquardt, Jamie Miller, April Tausch, Taylor Theiss and Tiffany Thomas after dropping their first-round Division I North Region tournament game to Thomas Worthington 26-5.

Expected to return are juniors Brooke Beavins, Jessica Lisi, Lauren Robinson, Ashley Stilson and Shannon Winks and sophomores Kiley Ayle, Kahla Keegan, Samantha Marburger, Carlie Oppliger, Sara Shively, Gina Son and April Tausch and freshmen Rachel Malaby and Sage Marquardt.

Beavins and Peters were captains this year and Stilson is expected to return in goal.

At a glance

CENTRAL

•Record: 4-9 overall, 0-6 (seventh) in OCC-Ohio

•Seniors lost: Melissa Foster, Zoey Marquardt, Jamie Miller, Alyssa Pearce and Tiffany Thomas

•Key returnees: Brooke Beavins, Lindsey Peters and Ashley Stilson

NORTH

•Record: 16-4 overall, 5-1 (second) in OCC-Ohio

•Seniors lost: Samantha Bahan, Monica Craigmile, Sarah Eichhorn, Casey Flynn, Elizabeth Horton, Caitlin McKenzie, Samantha Powell, Sophia Sapia and Molly Schleve

•Key returnees: Keama Garrett, Taylor Hurl and Molly Petruzzi

SOUTH

•Record: 2-12 overall, 1-5 (sixth) in OCC-Ohio

•Seniors lost: Katie Bondy, Helena Hayter and Marlaina Patterson

•Key returnees: Sarah Escape and Caitlyn Quigley