The Worthington Kilbourne High School girls lacrosse team was preparing for big challenges when this week began.
The third-seeded Wolves played at second-seeded Columbus Academy in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal May 22, with the winner advancing to the regional final to play top-seeded DeSales or fourth-seeded Granville on Friday, May 25, at a neutral site to be determined.
The Wolves were 13-7 entering the semifinal, but were playing away from home for the first time in the postseason after posting home wins against 15th-seeded Dayton Miami Valley (20-1 in the first round May 17) and 16th-seeded Hartley (17-7 in a regional quarterfinal May 19).
Kilbourne lost to Academy 14-13 in overtime on May 8 and fell to DeSales 21-12 on March 20. The Wolves did not play Granville during the regular season.
"If we're fortunate enough to move on (to the regional final), I know the girls would be excited to play DeSales again because we're a totally different team from when we played them in the second game of the year," coach Doug Troutner said. "... DeSales is very impressive on defense and strong on offense, but we don't feel we showed them who we truly are."
The regional champion will face Cincinnati Mariemont, Cincinnati Indian Hill, Cincinnati Summit Country Day or Cincinnati Turpin in a state semifinal Wednesday, May 30, at a neutral site. The state final is June 2 at Ohio Wesleyan.
"One of the biggest improvements we've made throughout the season is on defense," Troutner said. "Gracie Burford, our first-year goalkeeper, has grown by leaps and bounds and we're communicating better. We've got five girls we rely on in front of her and we're rotating them. But all five, Kennedy Dauphin, Reilly St. Myer, Bridget Maloney, Lindsey Buterbaugh and Ella Bally, have been very solid."
Against Miami Valley, Jackie Wolford, Lilli Hadden and Abby Smullen each had three goals and Morgan Schutte, Morgan Miller and Nicole Miller each scored two. Against Hartley, Hadden had six goals, Wolford scored five and Schutte scored three.
"I like our current mindset on attack right now," Troutner said. "Morgan (Schutte), Jackie and Lilli are taking what the defense is allowing. They're reading the defense and adjusting their play accordingly, rather than just making their minds up ahead of time and doing what they want to do. So we've become smarter and more efficient on offense."
Boys lacrosse team rolling in postseason
The second-seeded boys lacrosse team combined to outscore its first two opponents in the Division I, Region 3 tournament 33-5.
Kilbourne was 15-5 before playing host to third-seeded New Albany in a region semifinal May 22.
The winner plays top-seeded Upper Arlington or fifth-seeded Hilliard Davidson in the regional final Friday, May 25, at a neutral site to be determined. The regional champion will face Cincinnati St. Xavier, Cincinnati Moeller, Springboro or Loveland in a state semifinal Wednesday, May 30, at a neutral site. The state final is June 2 at Ohio Wesleyan.
Kilbourne defeated Davidson 12-3 on March 24 but lost to UA 6-5 on April 14.
"Arlington is very strong as usual and fundamentally sound," coach Mike Lippert said. "They have three or four excellent midfielders and three or four real good guys at attack. I'd say this is one of the more balanced Arlington teams I can remember."
The Wolves opened the postseason by beating 14th-seeded Hilliard Bradley 18-2 on May 15 and defeated eighth-seeded Thomas 15-3 in a regional quarterfinal May 18.
"We had a slow start (against Thomas), but I think that was due to everything we've got going on like graduation and such," Lippert said. "But once we gathered our focus, I thought we played pretty well. I can't remember the last time we played a lopsided game with Thomas because it's a rivalry match where the records go out the window and they always seem to play us tough."
Against Thomas, Carson Kott had four goals, Sam Biglin scored three and Aidan Cameron and Jack Ellis each scored two as the Wolves led 7-2 at halftime and 12-2 after three quarters.
"I thought Aidan was terrific on faceoffs," Lippert said. "He's gotten better and better all year. Our defense was very good once we got the guys to get out and pressure the ball. We were sliding well and playing good, solid team defense."
Against Bradley, Ellis and Kott both scored three goals, while Biglin, Ryan Hester, Nick Clay, Jake LaVette and Max Kott each scored two.
Four track athletes advance to regional
Two athletes from both the boys and girls track and field teams qualified for the Division I regional meet, which began May 23 and concludes Friday, May 25, at Pickerington North.
Competing in their respective district 1 meets that concluded May 19 at Hilliard Darby, Sasha Bomser and Chidmina Anaraodo advanced for the girls team and Jack Begley and Elijah Young advanced for the boys team.
Bomser finished third in the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 23.33 seconds) and Anaraodo was third in the discus (108 feet, 1 inch), while Begley placed third in the 3,200 (9:41.71) and Young was third in the long jump (21-2 1/4). The top four finishers in each district event qualified for regional.
The girls team placed ninth (20 points) of 16 teams in district 1, behind champion Pickerington Central (112).
Also scoring for the Wolves were Keira Smith in the 3,200 (sixth, 11:46.48), Brooklyn Richardson in the discus (seventh, 101-3), Audrey Hunt in the long jump (seventh, 16-1 1/4) and the 3,200 relay of Smith, Natalie Guist, Chloe Emberton and Bomser (eighth, 10:13.23).
The boys team placed 10th (25.5) of 16 teams in district 1, behind champion Central (158).
Young just missed advancing in the pole vault, as he placed fifth (12-0) after losing a tiebreaker to Watkins Memorial's Austin Ballenger.
Also scoring were Tanner Williams in the 3,200 (fifth, 9:57.8), the 3,200 relay of Keegan Smith, Begley, Williams and Caleb Martin (sixth, 8:13.39) and the 400 relay of Jack Wieland, Lucas LaFleur, Joey McQuade and Young (seventh, 45.27).
At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
Boys volleyball team wins regional opener
The second-seeded boys volleyball team was 17-8 before playing host to third-seeded Watterson in a Division II East Region semifinal May 22.
The winner plays top-seeded St. Charles or seventh-seeded Dublin Scioto in a regional final Friday, May 25, at Westerville Central. The regional champion advances to the state tournament June 2 and 3 at Capital University.
The Wolves opened the regional tournament by beating sixth-seeded Licking Heights 25-10, 25-10, 25-15 in a quarterfinal May 19 at home.