When Kendall Gordon heard about the girls lacrosse coaching vacancy at Dublin Jerome High School at the conclusion of last season, she became intrigued about the possibility of leading the program.
Getting to see the Celtics firsthand twice last spring had a bit to do with that.
Jerome finished 16-4 overall and averaged nearly 18 goals last year under former coach Caroline Chao, who stepped down three seasons.
Two of the Celtics' losses, however, came against Thomas Worthington, for which Gordon was an assistant the past two seasons. The Cardinals beat Jerome 20-17 in the regular season and 15-5 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal.
"We played Jerome twice last year and I just noticed that there is a ton of raw talent and that it really was a team with a ton of potential that had the capability to be a powerhouse," said Gordon, a 2011 Thomas graduate who played at the University of Louisville. "I was happy at Worthington, but the opportunity opened up and being a head coach is something that was a goal of mine and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to go to a school that really supports their athletes."
Thomas won the OCC-Cardinal Division title last season, going 6-0 as Jerome (5-1) placed second.
The Celtics lost just two players from a year ago to graduation in attackers Hannah Rashidi and Cameron Finnegan, who had 64 and 62 goals, respectively.
Jerome again has just two seniors: defender Antavia Horne and attacker Shayla Nguyen.
Sophomore midfielder Isabel Francati is the top returning offensive player after having 68 goals and 15 assists last season.
Other key returnees include juniors Kate Edwards (defender), Mandy Menning (attacker), Mackenzie Potts (goalkeeper), Gabby Rothermund (midfielder) and Mary Grace Zamary (defender).
Jerome opened March 20 with a 15-9 loss to Olentangy Liberty and lost to Massillon Jackson 10-4 on March 23. The Celtics' next game is their league opener April 10 at Delaware.
"(Coach) Gordon has done a great job in creating expectations, introducing new techniques and forming a close-knit team," Rothermund said. "It's truly the beginning of a new era for Jerome girls lacrosse."
Kara Gosnell is a key midfielder despite being a freshman. Sophomores Emmy Peele and Sydney Stone are others in the midfield, and sophomore Karleigh McGuire is the backup goalie.
Others looking to contribute include juniors Claire Tzagournis (attacker), Payton Kessler (attacker) and Abby Kloss (defender), sophomores Taylor Bohl (attacker), Olivia Chandler (midfielder/defender), Hannah Lim (defender), Kelly Mamula (attacker), Katie McKibben (attacker) and Olivia Sivak (attacker) and freshmen Catie Berniger (attacker), Olivia Brooks (attacker), Jamie Cline (midfielder), Ava Czechajewski (defender), Katelyn Root (midfielder), Izzy Seikel (midfielder) and Anna Speeney (defender).
"There's a ton of awesome athletes, and it's going to be fun this year," Gordon said. "Our goal this year is to be a really dynamic team from our goalkeeper down to our attackers. We're really going to be a well-rounded team."
Boys lacrosse team to have new look
The boys lacrosse team has a mostly new group of key players this season after losing 18 to graduation from a team that finished 14-5 overall, went 6-0 in the OCC-Cardinal and reached a Division I, Region 3 semifinal.
Second-year coach Andy Asmo, though, sees plenty of reasons to be excited despite his team's relative inexperience.
"We've got a ton of talent," Asmo said. "Some of them are just learning the game. What we lack in varsity playing time we make up for in willingness to work. They're buying into the whole team mentality and it's been neat to see. They're all in it together, which is fun. It'll be fun to see how far this team can come by the end of the season."
Jerome was 3-0 overall before playing March 26 at Pittsburgh Mt. Lebanon. The Celtics opened March 17 with a 10-5 victory over New Albany and beat Westerville Central 15-6 on March 22 and Wexford (Pennsylvania) North Allegheny 10-8 on March 24.
Jerome begins defense of its OCC-Cardinal title April 10 at home against Delaware.
Against New Albany, junior attacker Andrew Brim had three goals and three assists, senior attacker Chris Posacki and senior midfielder Nick Gosnell both scored two goals, freshman midfielder Ian Dean had two goals and an assist and senior attacker Kellen Posacki added one goal.
Brim has committed to play for Denison and Gosnell has committed to Ohio Northern.
Kellen Posacki has returned to the program after focusing on track and field last spring.
Junior Brandon Infante, who was named first-team all-league last season, is joined on defense by juniors Logan Miller and J.P. Weaver, sophomores Zach Dubois and Nathan Wallschlaeger and freshman K.J. Robinette.
Senior Grant Grytza is the No. 1 goalie, with senior Charlie Farmer also expected to see action in goal. Farmer has committed to Capital.
Junior Vince Comfort and freshmen Will Ackert and Seth Martin are at long-stick midfielder.
Others playing attack are juniors Mason Arnold and Reid McCrabb and sophomore Brock Izzo.
Freshman Carter Barco, who is the youngest of five brothers to come through Jerome's program, should contribute at midfielder.
Also looking to contribute in the midfield are juniors Cam Ewing, Cole Iacono, Palmer Lambert, Jack Moses, Ray Prochko, Ryan Rhodes and Trey Welch, sophomores Peter Albright, Dom Nardone and Spencer Rubel and freshman Jack Donahue.
"I thought it was going to be tough rebuilding from last year since we lost (so many) seniors and our whole starting lineup, but after (the win over New Albany) and some practices, I feel like we are better than last year," Infante said.
"Some younger kids have really stepped it up from last year. We have some freshmen playing a good amount of varsity right now that are killing it and are making a big impact for the team."
March 17 -- vs. New Albany
March 22 -- vs. Westerville Central
March 24 -- at Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny
March 26 -- at Pittsburgh Mt. Lebanon
April 7 -- at Olentangy
*April 10 -- vs. Delaware
*April 12 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
April 13 -- vs. Coffman
*April 17 -- at Hilliard Bradley
April 19 -- at Hilliard Davidson
April 21 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
*April 24 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*April 26 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
April 27 -- vs. Mason
*May 1 -- vs. Scioto
May 4 -- vs. Springboro
May 11-12 -- TBA in MSLCA tournament at Hudson Western Reserve Academy
March 20 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
March 23 -- at Massillon Jackson
*April 10 -- at Delaware
*April 12 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
April 14 -- vs. Coffman
*April 17 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
April 19 -- at Olentangy
April 21 -- Cleveland Heights and Cincinnati Indian Hill in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington
*April 24 -- at Hilliard Darby
*April 26 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
April 28 -- vs. Westerville Central
*May 1 -- at Scioto
May 5 -- vs. Hamilton (Ind.) Southeastern
May 8 -- at Upper Arlington
May 11 -- at Cincinnati Sycamore
Below is the coming schedule for the Jerome baseball, softball, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
March 29 -- Columbus (Wisc.) in Orlando, Fla.
March 31 -- Wanaque (N.J.) Lakeland Regional and Little Falls (N.J.) Passaic Valley in Orlando
*April 3 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*April 4 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
*April 2 -- At Kilbourne
April 3 -- Home vs. Marysville
*April 4 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
TRACK & FIELD
March 31 -- Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson
April 3 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby and Pickerington Central
*April 3 -- Home vs. Thomas
April 4 -- Home vs. St. Charles