The members of the New Albany High School boys lacrosse team are enjoying a little more freedom at the offensive end of the field.

The members of the New Albany High School boys lacrosse team are enjoying a little more freedom at the offensive end of the field.

"This year we've been working more of a freelance offense with less set plays," senior midfielder Zach Pewitt said after he scored four goals in an 11-7 victory April 9 over two-time defending OCC-Central Division champion Westerville North. "Coach is letting us just go play a little more instead of trying to force things."

Although he played defense in football, Pewitt has been among the offensive catalysts for the Eagles, who were 2-0 in the OCC-Ohio before playing defending champion Olentangy Liberty in their home opener April 18.

"We're playing more on feel," Pewitt said. "The variety we're showing is really helping. I think opponents are having a harder time defending us."

The early highlights included a 7-5 victory March 31 at Olentangy, which finished second in the OCC-Ohio a year ago. That was the first of five consecutive wins, which also included an 11-6 victory April 4 at Hilliard Darby in the second league game as the Eagles overcame a 3-2 halftime deficit. They scored six second-half goals to defeat Dublin Scioto 8-3 on April 7 after the game was tied at 2 going to halftime.

Midfielders Ben Schottenstein and Matt Puleri and attackers Brendon Bower and Garrett Greco also have been leading the offense.

"We changed quite a few things this year," coach Chris Brown said. "It's a new system, but I think the boys are getting the hang of it.

"We've asked them to read their positions and read the defenses a little more and just take advantage of what teams are giving us. We want the guys thinking for themselves and making some of their own decisions with the ball.

"But it's obviously a long season and we still have a lot to work on. That being said, we're in a pretty good spot right now."

The Eagles posted a 12-8 victory April 11 at Westerville Central for their fifth win in the streak before losing 15-5 on April 14 at Worthington Kilbourne, which advanced to last year's Division I state final. Central also is a veteran team that finished second in the OCC-Central last season.

"We see those two opponents as a true measuring stick," Brown said. "Those games will let us know where we really are and what we need to improve on."

Brown also said he's been equally if not more impressed by New Albany's defensive play.

"We're holding most teams to five or six goals and that's pretty good," Brown said. "Our goalkeeper (senior Connor Hinson) is doing a great job keeping us in a lot of games."

Pewitt, who Brown said might be the team's most athletic player, sees lacrosse as a good crossover sport. A strong safety in football, he's hoping to play that sport at the next level. He is considering several colleges, including Denison University.

"Some coaches want their players in the weight room during the offseason for obvious reasons," Pewitt said. "But I think lacrosse has helped me more than lifting has. I think it's helped my overall athletic ability and field sense."

Girls win at Mason on late goal

The girls team has been strong on offense as well, rallying from a 12-9 deficit to prevail 14-13 on April 14 at Mason when Morgan Fee scored the decisive goal with 1 minute, 45 seconds remaining.

"We had a couple of starters who didn't make the trip, and that certainly made it more challenging," coach Dave Ferguson said. "That and there were several rain delays, too."

The Eagles improved to 3-0 overall, and they were 1-0 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Worthington Kilbourne on April 17.

Abigail Manning scored five goals during a 16-11 victory over Thomas Worthington in the league opener April 12, a game in which the Eagles led 14-4 before pulling their starters.

New Albany scored a combined 46 goals in its first three games.

"Things are going well so far, but we've still got some work to do," Ferguson said. "We need to continue getting better on defense, although our new goalkeeper (Brooke Mendoza) is progressing and we're playing pretty well in front of her."