The Gahanna Lincoln High School boys tennis team hopes its championship window finally opens this spring.

The Gahanna Lincoln High School boys tennis team hopes its championship window finally opens this spring.

Pickerington North, which has won five consecutive OCC-Ohio Division titles, lost its top three players to graduation while the Lions have five of their top seven back.

Although seventh-year coach Chris Schwinnen knows that doesn't necessarily make Gahanna the favorite to win the league, it could mean the gap between the two programs is at least smaller than in recent seasons.

The Lions went 6-1 in the league last year to finish second, with their only loss coming to North 5-0.

The teams will meet May 6 at Gahanna.

"I love (North coach Brian Hoff), but I'm happy to have him lose his top three players," Schwinnen said. "With my three sophomores all getting a little bit better, we're hoping to get an OCC title this year. Pickerington Central and Pickerington North are always good."

Senior Chris Kusovski, who teamed with 2015 graduate Eric Chen to reach the Division I district tournament in doubles last season, is playing first singles.

Sophomore Colin Jordan now is at second singles after playing at No. 3 last season, when he reached the quarterfinal round of the sectional tournament.

Junior Jake Selker is at third singles after playing mostly doubles last season.

Sophomores Oliver Cope and Daniel Shtein are playing first doubles.

Juniors Sam Baker and Zack Ryan and sophomores Connor Barnett and Josh Miller are others who should play mostly doubles.

The only other player lost from last season is Harry Bishoff, who was a doubles player as a junior but graduated early.

Gahanna opened April 4 by beating Pickerington Central 4-1 and then defeated Groveport 5-0 on April 5 in league matches.

The Lions had their match April 8 against Olentangy Orange in the first round of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association state team tournament postponed. They also played Newark on April 12.

"I'm going to have some flexibility with my lineup," Schwinnen said. "We might not be as strong in singles as we were last year, but I also think we'll be a little stronger at second doubles.

"I'm excited. I like the energy and enthusiasm they all have."

Volleyball team out to keep run going

After reaching the state tournament in 2014, the boys volleyball team settled for a Division I East Region runner-up finish in each of the last two seasons.

Seniors Elijah Sweet (setter), Matt Tran (libero/defensive specialist) and Zane Wiles (middle hitter) -- all experienced players -- are hoping to lead the Lions to another strong season.

A year ago, Gahanna went 16-9 overall and 8-2 in the OCC-Capital to place second behind Mount Vernon (9-1).

The Lions lost to the Yellow Jackets 17-25, 25-12, 25-15, 25-23 on April 5 in their league opener and were 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the league before playing Olentangy on April 12. They beat Dublin Jerome 25-19, 25-18 and Watterson 25-19, 25-18 on April 9.

"We have a nice little core group back, but we have some new varsity players as well," 13th-year coach Mike Sage said. "We're trying to just see how the team chemistry goes. We're feeling our way through it."

Wiles, who is 6-foot-6, is joined at middle hitter by junior Ryan Hawkins.

Senior Brad Davis (right-side hitter), junior Alex Metz (outside hitter) and sophomore Russell Burke (outside hitter) are other regulars.

Also contributing are seniors Mohamed Ahmed (utility) and Michael Summers (utility) and sophomore Derek Sally (outside hitter).

Last season, Sweet was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-region, as he set the program record for assists in a season with 597. Wiles was honorable mention all-league.

The Lions' biggest losses to graduation were Nathan Matthews (outside hitter), who is playing for Wittenberg after making first-team all-state, Vino Cabiness (middle hitter), who was second-team all-state, and Logan Washburn (right-side hitter/outside hitter), who made second-team all-league.

Gahanna started 6-5 but won 10 of its final 14 matches last season.

"The postseason is when we want to make another run, and if we play well at the end of the season, we can do that again," Sage said. "I feel like we're going to be a good offensive team."

Unity, offense lead boys lacrosse team

After winning two more games a year ago than it did in 2014, the boys lacrosse team opened this season with back-to-back victories.

What was most noticeable to third-year coach Chris Robbins was the manner in which the Lions won those games.

"The big difference is that our offense is shooting more," he said. "We're doubling our shots from about 20 a game to almost 40, and we're allowing fewer goals."

The Lions beat Granville 7-5 on April 8, lost to Columbus Academy 16-6 on April 11 and were 3-3 overall before playing Hilliard Bradley on April 13. They opened with wins over Lebanon 11-9 on March 25 and Wellington 14-7 on March 28.

Gahanna, which opened OCC-Ohio action April 4 with a 16-3 loss at Dublin Scioto, is led by seniors Ian Blaney (long-stick midfielder), Jake Chobany (midfielder), Jack Kauffman (midfielder), JayR Padilla (defender), Nathan Prociuk (attacker) and Justin Turner (midfielder/defender) and sophomore Thomas Prociuk (attacker).

Blaney was second-team all-league and Chobany scored 28 goals last season.

Sophomore David Leibas is back at goalkeeper.

"We've got a bunch of young talent," Robbins said. "We've got a lot of young leaders rising to the occasion. I'm impressed. This is the first time since I've been here that I've seen them playing so well as a team. The brotherhood is there."

Schedules

BOYS LACROSSE

March 25 -- at Lebanon

March 28 -- at Wellington

March 29 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*April 4 -- at Dublin Scioto

April 8 -- vs. Granville

April 11 -- vs. Columbus Academy

*April 13 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

April 15 -- at Hilliard Davidson

April 18 -- vs. Westerville North

*April 20 -- at New Albany

April 22 -- at Sylvania Northview

April 23 -- at Sylvania Southview

*April 27 -- at Olentangy Orange

May 2 -- vs. Westerville Central

*May 4 -- vs. Marysville

*May 11 -- at Hilliard Darby

May 12 -- vs. Pickerington North

May 14 -- vs. Buckeye Valley

BOYS TENNIS

*April 4 -- at Pickerington Central

*April 5 -- at Groveport

April 8 -- at Olentangy Orange in OTCA tournament

*April 12 -- vs. Newark

*April 14 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

April 15 -- at Olentangy

April 16 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament

April 18 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*April 19 -- at Lancaster

*April 21 -- vs. Grove City

April 23 -- Elida Invitational

April 27 -- vs. Marysville

April 28 -- vs. DeSales

April 29 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

May 3 -- at Dublin Scioto

May 4 -- at Dublin Jerome

*May 6 -- vs. Pickerington North

May 9 -- at Hilliard Davidson

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

March 25 -- vs. Northland

April 1 -- at St. Charles

*April 5 -- at Mount Vernon

*April 7 -- vs. Delaware

April 9 -- at Dublin Jerome with Watterson

*April 12 -- at Olentangy

*April 14 -- vs. Pickerington North

April 16 -- at Hilliard Davidson with DeSales

*April 19 -- at Pickerington Central

*April 21 -- vs. Mount Vernon

April 22 -- vs. Licking Heights

April 23 -- vs. Cincinnati Oak Hills and Upper Arlington

*April 26 -- at Delaware

*April 27 -- vs. Olentangy

*May 3 -- at Pickerington North

*May 5 -- vs. Pickerington Central

May 7 -- vs. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit and Beavercreek

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln baseball, girls lacrosse, softball and track & field teams:

BASEBALL

April 14 -- Home vs. Westerville Central

*April 15 -- At Reynoldsburg

*April 18 -- At Lancaster

April 19 -- At Newark Catholic

*April 20 -- Home vs. Lancaster

GIRLS LACROSSE

April 14 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange

*April 19 -- Home vs. Westerville Central

SOFTBALL

*April 15 -- Home vs. Pickerington North

*April 18 -- At Pickerington Central

*April 20 -- Home vs. Groveport

TRACK & FIELD

April 15 -- Elk Relays at Centerville

April 19 -- At Westerville South

April 20 -- Gahanna Relays at home

*League contest