The Olentangy Liberty High School boys lacrosse team had gone further in the postseason and had more wins than any other squad in program history, but the sting was still there.

The Olentangy Liberty High School boys lacrosse team had gone further in the postseason and had more wins than any other squad in program history, but the sting was still there.

The Patriots finished a program-best 17-5 overall after losing to Cincinnati St. Xavier 14-3 on June 3 in a Division I state semifinal at Kings Mills Kings.

"(The Bombers) were here last year (in a state semifinal) and lost 3-2 (to Dublin Jerome)," said coach Jason Godwin, who completed his third season. "I told the guys this was our first time here and (the Bombers) knew how this (loss) feels."

Junior attacker Eric NeCamp scored off a pass from junior attacker Ethan Garland to tie the game at 1 with 9 minutes, 24 seconds left in the opening quarter. Senior attacker Drew Gouhin added another first-quarter score, but Liberty trailed 5-2 entering the second.

Junior midfielder Alex Lando scored off an assist from senior midfielder Nick Durtschi to cut the deficit to 5-3 with 7:22 left in the second, but the Patriots would not score again.

"They came out in a zone, which is something we expected," Godwin said. "What we didn't expect was how aggressive they would be in their zone."

Senior goalkeeper Sean Murphy had 18 saves for Liberty, which defeated fifth-seeded Dublin Coffman 16-6 on May 30 at Westerville Central to win the program's first regional title.

The Patriots were seeded third and had a first-round bye in the Central Region tournament before defeating ninth-seeded Thomas Worthington 15-2 on May 23 in the second round and fourth-seeded Jerome 7-6 in a regional semifinal May 27. NeCamp passed to junior midfielder Grant Uehlein for the winning goal in the final seconds against the Celtics.

The Patriots finished third (5-2) in the OCC-Buckeye Division behind Worthington Kilbourne and Upper Arlington, which tied for the championship at 6-1. Jerome (4-3) was fourth, followed by Coffman (3-4), Olentangy (3-4), Thomas (1-6) and Hilliard Davidson (0-7).

They led the state defensively by allowing only 5.14 goals per game. Chagrin Falls was second at 5.4.

Liberty had 13 seniors, several of whom earned postseason honors. Defender Jackson Druckenbroad (Ohio Wesleyan recruit) was first-team all-state, all-region and all-league.

Durtschi (Bellarmine University) scored 31 goals and was first-team all-state and all-region and second-team all-league, and Murphy allowed only 4.3 goals per game to earn second-team all-state and first-team all-region and all-league honors.

Midfielder Ryan Gratz (Nazareth College) was second-team all-region and first-team all-league, and defender Jake Worrell (Ohio Wesleyan) was second-team all-region and honorable mention all-league.

Attacker Sam Chickerella signed with the University of Tampa and Gouhin committed to Ohio Wesleyan.

"Our seniors gave us a lot," Godwin said. "They were awesome players and awesome leaders."

Sophomore attacker Griffin Hughes was a top scoring threat before missing the second half of the season with a leg injury. NeCamp finished with 20 goals and 21 assists.

Orange expects to return most of roster

Orange expects to return 27 of 30 players from a team that finished 5-13 overall.

The 17th-seeded Pioneers lost to second-seeded Kilbourne 11-0 on May 23 in the second round of the Central Region tournament. They defeated 12th-seeded Pickerington Central 11-6 on May 21 in the first round.

In the OCC-Ohio, Orange finished fourth (3-3) behind New Albany (6-0), Hilliard Darby (5-1) and Hilliard Bradley (4-2) and ahead of Dublin Scioto (2-4), Gahanna (1-5) and Marysville (0-6).

The seniors led on all three areas of the field in midfielder Nick Buening, attacker Sam Button and defender Bryce Meade.

"The seniors were a special group," said coach Will Mathes, who completed his second season. "There were only three, but they hung in there even when things weren't going so well. They could have shut down or bailed at any point, but they kept fighting and that's something we pride ourselves on."

Top players expected to return are junior attacker Danny Arcaro (31 goals), junior attacker Adam Rieger (15 goals, 15 assists), junior goalie Michael Trombetti (202 saves), sophomore attacker Nick Brandt (24 goals) and sophomore midfielder Josh Rochon (13 goals).

"There are a lot of players coming back that will make major impacts next season," Mathes said. "Obviously, Michael Trombetti in the cage is a vital component to our defense, but we also will have a good defense back. Danny Arcaro really emerged during the season and was our leading scorer, and Josh Rochon was strong in the midfield. (Junior midfielder) Tyler Lichter missed the entire season due to injury, and there are so many others."

Olentangy to return all-state performer

Olentangy, which finished 9-9 overall, expects to return the state's long-stick midfielder of the year in Zach Whitenack. The junior also was named first-team all-region and all-league.

Third-year coach Zach Peterson led the Braves, who tied Coffman for fifth (3-4) in the OCC-Buckeye behind co-champions Kilbourne and UA (6-1).

Senior midfielder Cliff Kigar scored five goals for the eighth-seeded Braves in a 12-11 loss to Coffman on May 23 in the second round of the Central Region tournament. Sophomore attacker Patrick Grubb scored twice and senior goalie Ryan Dop had six saves.

In the first round May 21, Olentangy defeated 18th-seeded Gahanna 18-3.

Kigar (first-team all-state, all-region and all-league), Dop and midfielder Blake Saliaris (honorable mention all-league) led an eight-player senior class.

Also expected back are freshman goalie Charlie Harkin, sophomore attacker Cam Kennedy and freshman attacker Kyle Milliron.