Worthington Kilbourne High School boys lacrosse coach Drew May sees a lot of positives in the 2013 season even though his team didn't accomplish all of its goals.
Seeded second in the Division I Central Region tournament, the Wolves reached the regional final before losing at top-seeded and eventual state champion Upper Arlington 7-5 on June 2 to finish 16-5 overall.
"Upper Arlington's a very good team and they stopped us from achieving our biggest goal of winning regional and state titles," May said. "But we were one of the top teams in the state and we had a really good season this year."
Kilbourne also lost to UA in OCC-Buckeye Division play, 10-3 on May 8. The Wolves went 5-1 in the league to place second, behind UA (6-0) and ahead of Dublin Jerome (4-2), Thomas Worthington (3-3), Dublin Coffman (2-4), Hilliard Davidson (1-5) and Dublin Scioto (0-6).
Among the season highlights were league victories over Thomas (12-3 on April 17) and Jerome (11-6 on April 24), two wins over Cincinnati Moeller (10-8 on April 3 and 8-7 in overtime May 4) and two wins on a trip to Pittsburgh.
The Wolves defeated Murrysville (Pa.) Franklin Regional 15-6 on April 19 and Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) 10-7 on April 20.
"We beat a lot of good teams, including Cincinnati Moeller twice," May said. "We had a lot of fun and played well on our Pittsburgh trip, and we beat Dublin Jerome and Thomas Worthington, who are our two biggest rivals."
Kilbourne opened the postseason with a 17-3 win over eighth-seeded Westerville Central in the first round May 25 at home. It then beat fifth-seeded St. Charles 7-3 in a regional semifinal May 29 at home before falling to UA.
"It was certainly nice to beat Westerville Central easily to open the tournament and we beat a real good St. Charles team by shutting down their guys," May said. "We gave Upper Arlington a real tough game, too."
Kilbourne loses nine seniors, including five regular starters in James Gundling (goalkeeper), Ryan Maloney (midfielder), Jake Roberts (attacker), Jon Watson (midfielder) and Matt Wylly (midfielder).
Wylly was named first-team all-American, all-state, all-region and all-league and Roberts was first-team all-region and all-league. Maloney was second-team all-region and all-league, Watson was second-team all-region and Gundling was honorable mention all-league.
Among those expected to return are juniors Dylan Bishop (defender), Josh Happ (midfielder), Shawn Lauderman (midfielder), Jayce Miller (midfielder), Sam Shaffer (attacker), Mike Turnbull (goalie), Cameron Watson (midfielder) and Taylor Wilson (defender) and sophomores Joe Davis (attacker) and Mike Viera (defender).
Happ was first-team all-region and second-team all-league, and Bishop and Wilson were second-team all-region and all-league.
"We're losing a good group of seniors but we've got a lot of talent and experience coming back on defense," May said. "Our goals will be the same. We expect to compete for a state championship every year."
Cardinals thrived in close games
Thomas finished 10-9 overall but thrived in tightly-contested games.
The Cardinals were 6-0 in games decided by one goal, 8-1 in contests decided by one or two goals and 10-3 when giving up nine goals or fewer.
Thomas, which went 3-3 in the OCC-Buckeye to place fourth, was seeded third in the Division I Central Region tournament and defeated sixth-seeded Coffman 8-7 in overtime in the first round May 25 at home before losing to host UA 9-4 in a regional semifinal May 29.
The Cardinals trailed Coffman 7-3 in the second half before rallying. Senior attacker Max King led the way with four goals, including the game-winner with two seconds left in overtime.
Thomas also defeated Coffman in league play, winning 7-6 in overtime April 24.
"We won eight games by one or two goals, so we were able to pull out close wins," coach Jeff Irwin said. "We've had teams in the past where that didn't happen, so it was nice to have more of the closer games go our way. Both wins over Dublin Coffman were major highlights for us."
The Cardinals lose 10 seniors, including six regular starters in King, Will Byars (defender), Connor Grubb (defender), Chase Norman (midfielder), Joe Reibel (midfielder) and Evan Smith (goalie).
Byars was first-team all-region and second-team all-league. Smith was first-team all-region and honorable mention all-league and King was second-team all-region.
Expected returnees include juniors Kevin Hill (midfielder), Justin May (midfielder) and Aiden McCarthy (midfielder), sophomores Michael Hilliard (midfielder), Henry Karagory (defender), Luke Porteus (attacker), Michael Schonhiutt (midfielder) and Ian Westfall (attacker) and freshmen Nick Hegarty (attacker) and Sam MacKenzie (goalie).
"We'll miss our seniors, but I feel confident that we'll be good next season," Irwin said.