Nick Gallagher has returned to the Dublin Scioto High School boys lacrosse program looking to lead a resurgence.
Gallagher, a 2004 Scioto graduate who helped lead the Irish to prominence in the early 2000s, replaced Drew Sraver as coach during the offseason. Sraver stepped down after five seasons, in which he compiled a 37-57 record and led Scioto to the OCC-Ohio Division championship in 2016.
The Irish finished 6-12 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Cardinal last season after going 16-5 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Ohio in 2016.
Gallagher, who was an attacker, helped Scioto win the Division I state title in 2003 and finish as state runner-up in 2001 and 2004. He earned All-American recognition in 2004 and was a three-time all-state and All-Midwest honoree.
Gallagher went to play for Ohio Wesleyan before beginning his coaching career. He served as an assistant at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, before spending the past four seasons as the first head coach at Muskingum University.
Gallagher is being assisted by 2004 Scioto graduate Ray Finnegan, a longtime friend and former teammate on the Irish's lacrosse and hockey teams.
"This is special for us," Gallagher said. "Anytime you come out to Scioto's field, a field we won a state championship on, it's a special place for us. It's special to be back."
Scioto was 0-2 overall before playing Pickerington Central on March 27. The Irish opened with a 16-4 loss to visiting Granville on March 19 and lost 16-3 at New Albany on March 24.
Scioto opens OCC-Cardinal play April 5 at Hilliard Bradley.
"When we played hard, we looked good," Gallagher said following the loss to Granville. "When we got out of our system, we didn't look great. You can't be upset about that. We're still a work in progress."
Sophomore midfielder Pete Hrelec had two goals and senior attacker Ben Gawronski scored one against New Albany. Last season, Gawronski had 33 goals and 28 assists.
Sophomore goalkeeper Alex Mar had 10 saves against New Albany and 14 against Granville.
"Without Alex in the cage, we're in real trouble," Gallagher said. "(He's doing) a really good job as a sophomore coming into a tough situation. We have a new defense. We're working in some new stuff. He did a great job holding it down in there (against Granville). He really bailed us out a couple times. I was really pleased with the way he played."
Mar replaces 2017 graduate Evan Hutras, a four-year starter who was named OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year and first-team all-region last season. He finished last season with 234 saves and led the team in ground balls with 90.
"I learned a lot from Evan," Mar said. "He was a great teacher. This was my first varsity start (Granville) and I just wasn't up to it. During clearings, I was under a lot of pressure. Coach is trying to keep my head up."
Also back are seniors Spencer Cogan (midfielder), Dakotah Marshall (attacker) and Evan Philipp (defender), juniors Jeremy Chapman (defender) and Scott Swain (defender) and sophomores Josh Chun (midfielder), Aiden Ekis (defender) and Max Whited (midfielder).
Last season, Cogan had 36 goals and 15 assists and was first-team all-league. He had two goals against Granville.
Rounding out the team are juniors Justin Chen (midfielder), Ben Cowan (defender), Inder Hothi (defender), Scotty Lininger (attacker), Huy Phan (attacker), Miguel Soto (attacker) and Zack Tharp (midfielder), sophomores Avery Langworthy (midfielder) and Christian Vo (midfielder) and freshmen Aidhan Boyle (goalie), Tyler Chase (midfielder), Vaughn Francis (midfielder), Nick Gould (defender), Garrett Mielke (midfielder) and Zach Waizmann (attacker).
Girls lacrosse team off to good start
The girls lacrosse team is out to a good start under second-year coach Sarah Zink.
The Irish are 2-0 overall, having defeated Pickerington North 13-6 in their opener March 20 and Westerville North 14-4 on March 22.
Last season, Scioto finished 8-10 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Cardinal.
"This gives them confidence," said Zink, whose team opens league play April 5 at home against Bradley. "When we first scheduled Pickerington (North), I was concerned about the level because they had a very good season last year, so I knew it was going to be a tough game and our girls really rose to the occasion. We have a lot of talent on the team, but they worked very well together.
"I'm hoping we'll do better this season."
Against Westerville North, freshman midfielder Ashleigh Rothe had four goals, junior midfielder Jessie Hartman and freshman attacker Avery Schwab each scored three and junior midfielder Allie Vogel scored two goals.
Last season, Vogel led the team with 42 goals, followed by Hartman (32).
Senior Aubrey Webb returns for her fourth season in goal.
"Our team goal is to spread the love of the game," Webb said. "The seniors came up with that just to motivate the team and bring us together as a family."
Also back are seniors Megan Cantwell (attacker), Kate Lewis (attacker), Taylor Nadal (defender) and Grace Scharte (defender), juniors Morgan Brown (attacker), Kylene Davis (defender), Lindsey Hebert (midfielder/attacker), Kiersten Jennings (attacker), Kimberly Martinez Torres (goalie), Jot Olobatuyi (defender) and See Rylie (midfielder/attacker) and sophomore Melika Saffari (defender).
Rounding out the team are sophomores Madison Berry (attacker), Keira Hubschman (defender) and Sydney Nadal (attacker) and freshman Karleigh Rothe (defender).
"It's very beneficial that they already know our offense and our defense that we're running so we come in a little more prepared than we were last season," Zink said.
"Our middle school coach (Rod Allen) has also done an awesome job. We have three freshmen on our varsity roster and all three start. (Allen) did a phenomenal job getting them ready for varsity."
March 19 -- vs. Granville
March 24 -- at New Albany
March 27 -- at Pickerington Central
March 31 -- vs. Centerville
April 3 -- vs. Westerville North
*April 5 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*April 10 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
April 12 -- vs. St. Charles
*April 17 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
April 19 -- at Pickerington North
*April 24 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*April 26 -- vs. Delaware
*May 1 -- at Jerome
May 3 -- vs. Columbus Academy
May 5 -- vs. Springboro
May 7 -- vs. Westerville South
May 9 -- at Coffman
March 20 -- vs. Pickerington North
March 22 -- vs. Westerville North
*April 5 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
April 7 -- at Liberty Township Lakota East
April 7 -- at West Chester Township Lakota West
*April 10 -- at Hilliard Darby
April 13 -- at Chillicothe
*April 18 -- at Thomas Worthington
April 21 -- Hannigan Galipault Invitational at Thomas Worthington
*April 24 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*April 26 -- at Delaware
*May 1 -- vs. Jerome
May 3 -- at Hilliard Davidson
May 4 -- vs. Buckeye Valley
May 9 -- at Big Walnut
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto baseball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
March 29 -- Home vs. Marysville at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
March 30 -- Home vs. Lansdale (Pa.) North Penn at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach
April 3 -- At Hilliard Davidson
April 4 -- Home vs. Mount Vernon
*April 3 -- Home vs. Delaware
TRACK & FIELD
March 31 -- Newark Invitational
*April 3 -- Home vs. Delaware