Thomas Worthington High School girls lacrosse coach Ally McCarthy-Minister doesn't believe an early exit from the postseason tarnishes her team's season.
The Cardinals had a first-round bye in the Division I South/Central Region tournament and lost to Dublin Coffman 13-12 in the second round May 15 at home to finish 11-6 overall.
Thomas had beaten the Shamrocks 11-7 in an OCC-Buckeye Division contest April 9.
"We had a very successful season," McCarthy-Minister said. "Our tournament run ended too quickly, but that loss doesn't represent our season as a whole. We celebrated our 40th season of existence this year, and this season is a great addition to the tradition and history of Worthington lacrosse."
The Cardinals went 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye to place fourth, behind Upper Arlington (5-0), New Albany (4-1) and Worthington Kilbourne (3-2) and ahead of Coffman (1-4) and Hilliard Darby (0-5).
UA won the Division I state championship this spring, beating Cincinnati Sycamore 14-8 in the final June 1.
Among the season highlights for Thomas were home wins over Cincinnati Mariemont (11-10), Chagrin Falls Kenston (10-8) and Shaker Heights (9-7) in the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament on April 12 and 13.
"We had a lot of close games where our girls pulled through and won by one or two goals," said McCarthy-Minister, whose team was 6-1 in games decided by one or two goals. "We went 3-0 in the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament and showed a lot of team growth over the season."
The Cardinals lose two seniors in Hannah Heinke-Green (attacker) and Tonycia Melfe (midfielder).
Melfe had 17 goals and 14 assists.
Among those expected to return are juniors Liza Carey (midfielder), Devan Chakroff (midfielder), Claire Durfee (attacker), Chelsei Fullerton (defender), Mara Sheban (midfielder), Jasmin Singh (midfielder), and Abby Strasser (defender) and freshmen Zoe Collaros (attacker), Kelli Hill (goalkeeper), Ellie Poss (midfielder) and Mallary Weinsz (attacker).
Carey (69 goals, 21 assists) was named first-team all-state, all-region and all-league. Sheban (11 goals, 11 assists) was second-team all-region and first-team all-league, Hill was second-team all-region and honorable mention all-league, Durfee (30 goals, 11 assists) was honorable mention all-region and Singh was second-team all-league.
Weinsz had 18 goals and 12 assists.
"This was a special group of seniors who are a well-rounded group of individuals," McCarthy-Minister said. "I feel very optimistic about next year because our girls are focused and motivated and they're willing to put in the work to get ready for next season."
Wolves set team record for wins
It was a record-breaking season for Kilbourne.
The Wolves scored a program-record 324 goals and finished 17-4 overall, breaking their record for wins in a season. In addition, they advanced to a Division II state final for the first time, losing to New Albany 11-10 on June 1 at Thomas.
"This was the best season, by far, in our program's history," coach Doug Troutner said.
Kilbourne also lost to New Albany in OCC-Buckeye play, falling 13-12 on May 7, as it placed third in the league at 3-2. Its other league loss came against UA, 15-14 on April 11.
The Wolves' other loss came against Medina, 12-2 on April 13. The Battling Bees won three consecutive Division I state titles from 2010-12 and were a state semifinalist this season.
One of the highlights for Kilbourne was a 14-5 win over Thomas on April 26.
"We fell behind 3-0 against a very good Mariemont team (in a season-opening 12-7 win March 22), but it didn't faze us and we went on a 12-1 run to set the tone for the rest of our season," Troutner said. "Thomas Worthington's always an important game for us, too, because of our rivalry."
Kilbourne opened the South/Central Region tournament May 16 at home with a 19-4 victory over Kings Mills Kings. It then beat visiting Cincinnati Seton 15-11 in a regional semifinal May 21, rallying from a 9-6 deficit in the final 20 minutes, and defeated Columbus Academy 14-10 in a regional final May 23 at home to capture its second regional championship.
The Wolves, who won their first regional title last season, then rallied from a five-goal deficit to beat Chagrin Falls 17-14 in a state semifinal May 31 at Thomas to advance to the final.
"Coming back to beat Seton set us up to do the same thing against Chagrin Falls," Troutner said. "That was an exciting win and it put us in our first state final."
The Wolves lose five seniors, including four starters in attackers Alycia Kingcade and Lexie Walton, goalie Alex Malone and defender Maria Whitesel.
Walton (61 goals, 24 assists) was second-team all-state and first-team all-region and all-league. Kingcade (34 goals, 23 assists) was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-region and Whitesel was second-team all-region and all-league.
The expected returnees include juniors Kara Hines (midfielder) and Nichole Viscolglosi (defender), sophomores Miriam Bassani (attacker), Maggie Baumgardner (midfielder), Allison Martz (attacker), Riley Spencer (defender) and Kaitlin Troutner (defender) and freshman Grace Cameron (attacker).
Bassani (71 goals, 26 assists) was honorable mention all-American and first-team all-state, all-region and all-league and Hines (64 goals, 4 assists) was honorable mention all-American and first-team all-state, all-region and all-league.
Baumgardner (27 goals, 2 assists) was second-team all-region and all-league, Martz (40 goals, 27 assists) was honorable mention all-league and Cameron had 17 goals and seven assists.
"Our seniors rose to the challenge this year, especially on attack," coach Troutner said. "We're going to have two honorable mention all-Americans back along with a lot of other good players, but we're still going to have to go through all the hoops to have another year like this because nobody's going to overlook us."