With eight starters back in the fold, the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys lacrosse team is looking to improve on last season.
The Wolves, who are under the direction of first-year coach Mike Lippert, finished 11-11 overall a year ago after losing to Watterson 7-6 in four overtimes in the Division II, Region 7 final. They went 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place third behind Dublin Jerome (6-0) and Delaware (5-1).
Lippert spent the past four seasons as an assistant under Drew May, who led the program for eight seasons.
"We've got a great senior class that has collectively played a lot of minutes within our program," Lippert said. "Several of these seniors played extensively since their freshmen or sophomore years. I don't think any of the 11 seniors are satisfied with the season we had last year, and all have done a great job pushing the pace and playing with a sense of urgency thus far.
"I expect these seniors to continue setting the tone on a daily basis, while at the same time continuing to impact our developing culture. We've got a number of young guys that will contribute heavily, but I expect that we will go as far as our seniors take us."
The Wolves opened March 17 with an 11-6 win over Watterson and defeated Hilliard Davidson 12-3 on March 24. They begin league play April 5 at Hilliard Darby.
Among the returning seniors are midfielders Sam Biglin, Ryan Hester and Ryan Wesolowski and attacker Nick Clay. Last season, Wesolowski was named first-team all-league, Clay was second team and Hester made honorable mention.
"Nick is a four-year starter for us at attack and has been a very consistent player throughout his career," Lippert said. "He's got great hands and continuously finds a way to put the ball in the back of the net. I'm excited for Nick as he has worked tremendously hard to come back from an injury that he played through in 2017. He brings a lot of experience to the table and is someone we can lean on in high-pressure situations.
"Ryan is also a fourth-year varsity player and is the fire starter for this team. We look to him for that spark of energy every day. He always plays at a fast pace and his teammates feed off of that during practice and in games. Ryan models a great work ethic and practice habits for the younger players in our program."
Joining Clay in the attack are junior Jake LeVette and sophomores Carson Kott and William Alban. Junior Jack Ellis is expected to see time in the midfield and the top defenders are expected to be senior Joe Wasik (long-stick midfielder) and juniors Adam Clay and Hayden Sydnor.
LeVette was first-team all-league last season.
Junior Dane Jackson returns in goal.
"Dane is a two-time captain in only his junior season and is the leader of our defense," Lippert said. "He's played a lot of lacrosse for us in his first two seasons and is a very good communicator, both on and off the field. He is a natural leader and someone that his teammates gravitate to and look toward in times of need or encouragement."
Vying for playing time in the midfield are seniors Max Anderson, Marino Gasbarro and Stephen Maverick, juniors Aidan Cameron and Eric Campbell, sophomores Manny Herraiz, Max Kott and Riley Lewis and freshman Harrison Kline.
Senior Mikey Gandert also is seeking action in the attack, while other defenders include senior Alec Bickell, juniors Carson Dougherty and Nate Mitchell and sophomores Paul Jarvis and Brodie Shearn.
Senior Cortez Ratliff is the backup goalkeeper.
"This team is both deep and experienced," Lippert said. "We took our lumps last year with a lot of inexperienced players and a smaller graduating class. We also played in a lot of very close ballgames, several of which went into overtime. I think these factors allowed us to develop some depth at key positions and we hope to collect on that investment this year."
Girls lacrosse team has experience, talent
Girls lacrosse coach Doug Troutner has reason to be optimistic about this season.
The Wolves lost only four players to graduation and return the bulk of their lineup from last season, in which they finished 10-11 overall, went 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to place third behind Thomas (6-0) and Jerome (5-1) and won two postseason games.
Kilbourne is 3-2 overall entering its league opener April 5 at home against Darby. The Wolves opened March 17 with a 14-13 win over Cincinnati Summit Country Day before losing to DeSales 21-12 on March 20 and Springboro 15-13 on March 23. Then on March 24, they rebounded to defeat Louisville (Kentucky) Country Day 11-10 and Louisville Collegiate 11-4.
"We have a lot of returnees and talent, so we're looking to improve on last season and put together a very successful season," said Troutner, who is in his 27th season leading the program. "We've got 14 letterwinners and eight starters back."
Among the returnees are senior Morgan Schutte (attacker) and sophomores Lilli Hadden (attacker), Meagan Rosenfeld (midfielder) and Jackie Wolford (midfielder), who accounted for all of the Wolves' goals in a 16-13 loss to Columbus Academy in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal last season.
Also returning in the attack are seniors Christina DiMauro and Morgan Miller, while junior Gracie Burford returns as goalie and junior Lexi Bair and freshman Clair Schutte will see time in the midfield.
The defensive corps in front of Burford is a combination of seniors Kennedy Dauphin and Payton Greenlee, juniors Bridget Maloney and Reilly St. Myer, sophomore Lindsey Buterbaugh and freshman Ella Bally.
Rounding out the team are seniors Emily Fox (midfielder) and Abby Smullen (attacker), junior Jill Baumgardner (attacker), sophomores Melanie Fisher (goalie), Hannah Hale (midfielder) and Alli Stout (midfielder) and freshman Nicole Miller (midfielder).
March 17 -- vs. Watterson
March 24 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
March 29 -- at Brooklandville (Md.) St. Paul's
March 30 -- at Pittsburgh Mt. Lebanon
April 3 -- vs. Granville
*April 5 -- at Hilliard Darby
*April 12 -- at Hilliard Bradley
April 14 -- vs. Upper Arlington
*April 17 -- at Delaware
April 21 -- vs. Cincinnati Moeller
*April 24 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
*April 26 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
*May 1 -- at Thomas
May 3 -- vs. Olentangy
May 5 -- vs. Mason
May 8 -- at St. Charles
March 17 -- vs. Cincinnati Summit Country Day
March 20 -- at DeSales
March 23 -- at Springboro
March 24 -- at Louisville (Ky.) Country Day with Louisville (Ky.) Collegiate
*April 5 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*April 12 -- at Hilliard Bradley
April 14 -- vs. Cincinnati Mariemont
*April 17 -- vs. Delaware
April 20 -- Louisville (Ky.) Eastern in Hannigan-Galipault at Thomas
April 21 -- Cleveland Heights in Hannigan-Galipault at Thomas
*April 24 -- at Dublin Scioto
*April 26 -- at Dublin Jerome
April 28 -- vs. Shaker Heights
*April 30 -- vs. Thomas
May 3 -- at Olentangy
May 8 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne baseball, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
March 31 -- At New Albany with Olmsted Falls
*April 3 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
*April 4 -- At Jerome
*April 2 -- Home vs. Jerome
*April 4 -- At Hilliard Darby
*April 3 -- At Darby
TRACK & FIELD
April 4 -- At Marysville with Hilliard Bradley
*April 3 -- At Darby