Wendy Pinta coached the Upper Arlington High School girls lacrosse team for 16 years before stepping down after the 2007 season, in which the Golden Bears finished 16-4 and were Division I state runners-up.

Wendy Pinta coached the Upper Arlington High School girls lacrosse team for 16 years before stepping down after the 2007 season, in which the Golden Bears finished 16-4 and were Division I state runners-up.

Yet, Pinta feels like a rookie in her first year back with the team.

"The hardest thing about coming back is getting back into the full swing of all things, doing all the things that made Upper Arlington lacrosse successful," said Pinta, whose team opens Thursday, March 29, with an OCC-Buckeye Division game at Dublin Coffman. "All of that takes time and effort."

Pinta replaces Kim Rocheleau, who guided the Bears to a 49-13-1 record, two OCC titles and three state runner-up finishes in three seasons.

Last year, UA finished 16-5 overall, defeating Liberty Township Lakota East 19-0 and Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 19-1 in the first two rounds of the regional tournament, Cincinnati Sycamore 20-11 in a regional final and Hudson 13-11 in a state semifinal before losing to Medina 14-13 in overtime in the state final.

Last year in the OCC-Buckeye, UA went 4-1 to place second, behind New Albany (5-0) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (3-2), Worthington Kilbourne (2-3), Coffman (1-4) and Hilliard Darby (0-5). The Bears' lone league setback was a 12-11 overtime loss to New Albany.

Pinta, who was 213-78-12 and led UA to state championships in 2002, 2004, and 2005 during her first stint with the program, said among her challenges is putting together a lineup.

Expected to play attack are seniors Abby Dugger, Sally Holbert and Rachel Marsh, juniors Samantha Farwick, Sydney Farwick and Nicole Stines, sophomore Armonde Moore and freshman Molly Plasket, while seniors Lauren Drake, Megan Hansel and Erin Steen, juniors Abbey Stricharczuk and Carly Tovell and sophomore Carsyn Hager are expected to be midfielders.

Expected to play defense are seniors Molly Groza and Maggie Morrison and juniors Taylor Grow and Macauley Mikes, and sophomore Hannah Panos is expected to be the starting goalkeeper.

"The key for us is going to be adaptability," Pinta said. "Any one of our players could play anything from low defense to attack. The players have to get used to a new way of playing the game and new positions."

Holbert, who has signed with Jacksonville University, was first-team all-league and all-region and second-team all-state last season. Hansel was first-team all-league and all-region, Samantha Farwick was second-team all-league and all-region, Sydney Farwick was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-region and Morrison was second-team all-league.

Drake, who has signed with the University of Oregon, was honorable mention all-league a year ago.

UA lost three players from a year ago to graduation in midfielder Adriane Ghidotti and defenders Emma Frair and Elizabeth Sega.

Ghidotti, who is playing at the University of Connecticut, was first-team all-league, all-region and all-state last season as well as an all-American.

Boys team looking for better finish this season

The boys team saw its streak of consecutive state final appearances end last season at 19, marking the first time under coach Ted Wolford that UA failed to reach the state final.

The Bears, who finished 16-2 overall a year ago, defeated Pickerington Central 22-3 and Coffman 15-6 in the first two rounds of the Division I region tournament before losing to eventual state runner-up Kilbourne 10-4 in the Central Region final.

"Some of the expectations the guys set were left unfulfilled," said Wolford, who is in his 21st season leading the program. "We accomplished a lot, but they're also going to think about the woulda, coulda, shoulda of last season."

UA, which opens Thursday, March 29, at Olentangy Liberty and begins OCC-Buckeye play April 5 at Dublin Scioto, won the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association "A" bracket title last year for the first time since 2007 by beating Cincinnati St. Xavier 11-10 and Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice 11-3.

The Bears went 5-1 in the OCC-Buckeye last season to place second, behind Dublin Jerome (6-0) and ahead of Kilbourne (4-2), Hilliard Davidson (3-3), Thomas (2-4), Coffman (1-5) and Scioto (0-6). Its lone setback was a 6-4 loss to eventual Division II state champion Jerome.

UA returns seniors Tyler Pfister and Charlie Trotier and junior Zac Stowe as attackers. Also expected to see time at the position are juniors Tommy Goettler, Zach Shy and Jack Whitman and sophomores Cam Marsh and Justin Wick.

Returning to the midfield are seniors Eliot Allen, Garrett Powers, Joe Wallace and Max Zid, juniors Gus Ackley and Grant Gould and sophomore Jared Drake. Also expected to see time at the position are seniors Hans Aschinger and Clay Wirsing, juniors Arthur Gillette, James O'Neil and Davey Strahm and sophomores Kyle Roberts and Stuart Townsley.

Allen has signed with Georgetown and Pfister is an Ohio State signee.

Returning as defenders are seniors Colin Amicon, Zach Powers and Grant Shisler and juniors Joe Cameruca, Brendan Gibbs and Jake Nolan. Junior Blake Myers and sophomores Ben Clark, Brandon Jones and Reid Neri also are expected to see time at the position.

Senior Stefan Schultz and junior Jack Warmolts are vying for playing time at goalkeeper.

Zach Powers, who has signed with North Carolina, was named first-team all-Midwest and all-league last year.

Schultz has signed with Goucher College in Baltimore, and Pfister made honorable mention all-MSLCA last year.

The Bears lost 14 players from a year ago to graduation, including midfielder Luke Treece and attackers Adam Narwicz and Cam Williams.

Last season, Treece and Williams were first-team all-American, all-Midwest and all-league and Narwicz was second-team all-Midwest and all-league.

"We have a number of guys who can get after it and make a difference," Wolford said. "They just need experience.

"Our guys not only have to get along with each other, but push each other to excel. The higher the level of play in practice, the better prepared we will be for the game situations."