After struggling early on, the Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy high school boys lacrosse teams have started to find a rhythm.

After struggling early on, the Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy high school boys lacrosse teams have started to find a rhythm.

Following a 1-3 start, the Patri-ots had won five of six games before facing New Albany on April 18, including a 13-6 victory over Dublin Scioto on April 16.

The Braves were outscored 42-15 while losing their first three games but had won four of five before playing Westerville North on April 18, including a 9-8 victory over Westerville Central on April 16.

"I see us coming together," Olentangy coach Mike Kinney said. "We're starting to jell on offense and defense. The guys are really confident at going to (the) goal and feeling really good."

Both teams had the beginning part of their schedules loaded with top-flight competition.

The Braves lost to Dublin Jerome 17-3 on March 28, to Medina 18-7 on March 30 and to New Albany 7-5 on March 31. Those teams were a combined 19-3 before April 16.

Liberty lost to Medina 16-7 on March 24, to St. Charles 10-9 on March 27 and to Upper Arlington 17-2 on March 29. Those teams were a combined 18-5 before April 16.

"It's just tougher competition versus playing easier teams," said Liberty coach Eric O'Brien, whose team visits 2011 Division I state runner-up Worthington Kilbourne on Friday, April 20. "We've had a gradual progression throughout the season. This helps get us ready to hit our peak at the playoffs."

Kinney said Olentangy has done a better job of sharing the ball since the beginning of the season. In a 16-12 win over Cincinnati Summit Country Day on April 14, the Braves rallied from a 4-0 deficit to take a 7-6 lead at halftime and had 10 players score.

"Everyone is playing very unselfishly and really working together," Kinney said. "There's a lot of trust and belief in each other.

"We started out slow (against Summit Country Day), which seems to be a recurring theme for us, but the guys never panicked and they never got down on each other. I don't know if that is something that would have happened last year. We had some great players last year, but we're a much better team this year."

Girls teams preparing for Hannigan-Galipault challenge

The Olentangy Orange, Liberty and Olentangy girls teams will participate in the Hannigan-Galipault tournament Saturday, April 21, at Thomas Worthington.

The Pioneers play West Chester Lakota West at 9 a.m. and Uniontown Green at 11 a.m. The Patriots face Cincinnati Seton at 10 a.m. and Cincinnati Ursuline Academy at 1 p.m. The Braves play Gates Mills Hawken at 3 p.m. and Wooster at 5 p.m.

Last year, the three teams went 3-2-1 in the tournament, with Olentangy defeating Loveland 11-5 and Centerville 12-3, Liberty defeating Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 7-6 and tying Rocky River Magnificat at 8 and Orange losing to Cincinnati Indian Hill 13-5 and Louisville (Ky.) Country Day 7-4.

"I think it gives us a good opportunity to play and see teams from outside the area," Liberty coach Abby Osborn said. "That really helps us out, especially in the (Division I North-Central Region) we are in for the postseason. We're going to see a lot of teams from the Cleveland area."

Osborn, a 1999 Kilbourne graduate, played in the Hannigan tournament and always warns her team about its running clock. To accommodate 53 games, all of the Hannigan tournament games have 20-minute halves instead of the traditional 25, and the clock doesn't stop after goals are scored, except in the final two minutes of each half.

"The games seem to go super fast," Osborn said. "It seems like once you get going, it's over. You have to start strong and play strong the entire 40 minutes."