With just six players with varsity experience, including no seniors, Westerville North High School girls lacrosse coach Chip Walston realized this season would be a learning experience for his team.
The Warriors finished 5-11 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division. They lost to Westerville South 10-9 on May 12 in the first round of the Division I North/Central Region tournament.
"We began this season having lost 11 varsity players from last year's team," Walston said. "We played this year with a young, inexperienced team. We had 33 players on the roster and 20 had no lacrosse experience. I am very excited about the future of our program. We learned a lot this season, we came together as a team and we had a lot of fun along the way."
Sophomore midfielder Macey Fuller led the team with 39 goals, followed by junior attacker Megan Boso with 30 and sophomore attacker Payton Hurl with 27.
Boso was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Fuller was second-team all-league and Hurl and sophomore defender Rachel Long were honorable mention all-league.
Walston said junior goalkeeper Sarina Tran sustained a concussion early in the season and missed several games. She finished with 93 saves.
Sophomore Nia Stewart, who had no prior lacrosse experience, replaced Tran in goal and finished with 70 saves.
Walston pointed to the leadership of captains Boso, Long and Tran as being vital in the team's development.
"I am most proud of the leadership of our team captains," he said. "They did an awesome job with the girls - leading by example, staying positive through difficult times and showing the girls how to play lacrosse the right way."
North was sixth in the league behind Pickerington Central (5-0), Pickerington North (4-1), Westerville Central (3-2), Gahanna (2-3) and South (1-4).
The Warriors lost to South 18-8 on April 17 and Central 13-7 on May 8.
Central sets record for wins
Central earned the most wins in the program's eight seasons, finishing 11-7-1 overall under first-year coach Megan Noone.
Playing in their first Division I North/Central Region tournament semifinal, the Warhawks lost at Medina 19-3 on May 19. They advanced to the semifinal with a 10-7 win over Mentor on May 12 and an 11-10 win over Whitehouse Anthony Wayne on May 14.
The Warhawks defeated South 10-9 on April 24 and North 13-7 on May 8, the first time they beat both in the same season.
"What an amazing season for these girls," Noone said. "We made some noise in the OCC, we made it to the (semifinal) round of playoffs for the first time, we had a winning season for the first time and, most importantly, we 'ruled the 'Ville' for the first time. The future is looking bright for the Warhawks."
Attacker Rachel Schroeder, who was one of five seniors, led the team in scoring with 41 goals and seven assists. She was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Freshman attacker/midfielder Kristina Ellis had 27 goals and six assists, junior midfielder Maddy Toole had 23 goals and two assists and junior attacker/midfielder Cydney Fugazzi had 21 goals and three assists.
Fugazzi was second-team all-league and Ellis was honorable mention all-league.
Junior goalie Gabi Conard had 90 saves and was honorable mention all-league.
Senior defender Mackenzie Moushey was first-team all-league and senior midfielder Brady Walston was second-team all-league.
Noone credited the seniors in helping with the transition to a new coaching staff.
"The seniors should always be proud to look back at this season," she said. "They played a major part in getting Westerville Central off and running again. There will always be a special connection to our seniors for (assistant coach) Kelsey (Cunningham) and me, as they were our first as Westerville Central coaches."
South's season 'didn't go as planned'
South finished 6-12 overall under first-year coach Erin Balcerzak, who announced after the season that she was resigning.
After defeating North in the first round of the regional tournament, the Wildcats lost to
Medina 20-3 in the second round May 14.
"The season didn't go as planned, but some of the girls truly love the sport and it shows," Balcerzak said. "I love lacrosse and will continue my career elsewhere."
Midfielder Victoria Husain, who was one of six seniors, was first-team all-league. She will play at Capital University.
Midfielder Kieran Arens and attacker McKenna Davis, both seniors, were second-team all-league. Davis will play Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.
Junior defender AnnaMarie Lynn and freshman midfielder Gabby Rossantelli were honorable mention all-league.