Rachel Tooker has stepped down after two seasons as coach of the Westerville Central High School girls lacrosse team, but she leaves the program with fond memories.
The Warhawks were 10-22-1 under Tooker, a 2010 North graduate who is continuing her education and cited time constraints as the reason for her resignation. They finished 5-10-1 overall this spring after going 5-12 in 2012.
Central, which went 2-11-1 in 2011, saw its season end with a 19-9 loss to Toledo Notre Dame Academy in the first round of the Division I North/Central Region tournament May 14.
"Although I am excited about this next chapter, I will remember coaching this team for the rest of my life and I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to do so," Tooker said. "Each of those girls had an impact on my life and it meant a lot to me to be able to watch them transform into not only outstanding athletes, but also wonderful people."
The Warhawks went 2-5 in the OCC-Central Division to finish sixth, behind Pickerington North (7-0), Pickerington Central (6-1), Westerville South (5-2), Gahanna (4-3) and Westerville North (3-4) and ahead of Delaware (1-6) and Big Walnut (0-7).
Senior midfielder Kelsie Malloy led the Warhawks with 51 goals and was named first-team all-league. Junior attacker Rachel Schroeder, who scored 50 goals, was named second-team all-league and senior midfielder Andrea Robinson was honorable mention all-league.
The Warhawks lose three seniors in Malloy, Robinson and defender Kiki Hall.
"I'm very proud of how far each and every player has come, even just over the past year," Tooker said. "They have all really come together as a team and started to trust each other, which has shown through in each game. It will be sad to see our seniors go because they truly embodied the meaning of leadership and commitment, but I know the class of 2014 players will do an outstanding job of carrying on that attitude."
Among those expected to return are Schroeder, juniors Sam Abrahamsen (goalkeeper), Gracie Albany (attacker), Karlene Harrison (defender), Mackenzie Moushey (defender) and Brady Walston (attacker), sophomores Gabi Conard (goalie) and Cydney Fugazzi (midfielder) and freshman Lauren LaCasse (midfielder).
"We were very happy (with the season)," Walston said. "We had great coaches and they were really serious within the season. The girls on the team this season were really dedicated to the sport and they really wanted to win, and so did I. Wanting to win and wanting to play just made our season one of the best seasons we've ever had."
Wildcats set team record for victories
It was a record-setting season for South.
The Wildcats finished 10-8 overall to set the program record for wins in a season, nearly doubling the previous mark. Their previous high in their seven-year history came last season, when they finished 6-10.
South ended its season with a 19-2 loss to top-seeded Medina in the second round of the Division I North/Central Region tournament May 15 after defeating Delaware 19-8 in the first round May 13.
The Wildcats, who won four of their final five games, placed third in the OCC-Central at 5-2.
"It was our first winning season and most rewards we have received in the (region)," coach Allison Neff said. "We (also) have beaten the (other) Westerville schools two seasons in a row. All of these accomplishments with only two seniors and one sub were our goals this year. We were able to meet our expectations and have an unforgettable season this year."
In the crosstown matchups, South defeated North on April 25 and Central 10-7 on April 29 and North beat Central 14-9 on May 6. Last season, the Wildcats beat the Warriors 11-6 and the Warhawks 13-9.
Senior goalie Isa Rodriguez had 258 saves on the season and was first-team all-league and second-team all-region. Junior midfielder Victoria Husain had a team-high 55 goals and five assists and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-region.
Junior midfielders Kieran Arens (32 goals) and McKenna Davis (27 goals, 7 assists, 112 groundballs) were second-team all-league, and junior defender Jackie Mickley was honorable mention all-league.
The team's other senior was midfielder Katie Gorman.
In addition to Arens, Davis, Husain and Mickley, expected to return are junior Kayleigh Garcia (defender), sophomores Anna Marie Lynn (defender), Amanda Phillips (midfielder), Tiffany Schafer (attacker) and Olivia Skaates (midfielder) and freshmen Audrey Poissant (attacker) and Becca Rottersman (midfielder).
Neff also hopes to have Casey Kusan back in the lineup next year. The junior midfielder missed the entire season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. She sustained the injury playing soccer last fall.
Warriors improved on 2012 season
North took a step forward this season, finishing 6-10 overall after going 4-12 in 2012.
The Warriors' season ended May 9 with a 12-8 loss to Dublin Scioto in a regular-season game, as coach Chip Walston decided to not have his team participate in the Division I North/Central Region tournament because several players had other commitments.
North finished fifth in the OCC-Central at 3-4.
"We had a much better season compared to last year," Walston said. "This was mostly due to a great group of players that worked well together, never quit on their teammates, and seniors that set a good example for the many young players on our team. We did not depend on one or two players to carry us this season. The load was shared by many players, including some very talented freshmen and sophomores."
Senior attacker Katy Will-iams had a team-high 36 goals and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-region. Senior attacker Caitlyn Moreland was named second-team all-league and sophomore attacker Megan Boso was honorable mention all-league.
Sophomore goalie Sarina Tran had 142 saves on the season.
North loses eight seniors, including Williams and Moreland.
In addition to Boso, expected to return are juniors Grace Myers (attacker) and Ciera Rogers (attacker), sophomores Morgan Blumling (defender), Teresa Chatel (midfielder), Rachel Long (defender), Anna Sivey (defender) and Karleigh Smith (utility) and freshmen Michala Adelman (midfielder), Macey Fuller (midfielder), Madi Gauthier (midfielder), Emilee Gavan (goalie), Valerie Helenberger (midfielder), Payton Hurl (attacker) and Hana Matsumoto (attacker).