Last season, the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls lacrosse team found out just how close it is to becoming one of the top programs in central Ohio.

Last season, the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls lacrosse team found out just how close it is to becoming one of the top programs in central Ohio.

The Wolves finished 12-5-2 overall after losing to top-seeded Upper Arlington 16-7 in a Division I South-Central regional final and went 6-1 in the OCC-Buckeye Division to place second, behind UA (7-0) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (4-2-1), Dublin Coffman (3-3-1), Hilliard Darby (3-4), Dublin Jerome (2-4), Hilliard Davidson (1-5) and Dublin Scioto (0-7).

A league game between Davidson and Jerome was canceled. Davidson moved out of the league and has been replaced by New Albany, which was a Division I state semifinalist last year.

"We turned a corner," said 20th-year coach Doug Troutner, whose team opens Tuesday, March 29, at home against Watterson. "We won some games with teams we've struggled with in the past, and even in the games we lost, we played well."

The Wolves must find replacements on defense in order to achieve their fourth consecutive winning season. Of the 11 players who graduated last spring, eight were on the defense.

Senior Colleen Hile is the only returnee on defense. Others expected to be key roles on defense include junior Mariah Minichello, sophomores Gabi Gonzalez and Danielle Motter and freshman Kara Hines.

Sophomore Alex Malone takes over as goalkeeper for graduate Kat Elkins.

Senior Megan Ballantine, juniors Carly Cameron and Meredith Schram (16 goals, 4 assists), and sophomore Maria Whitesel are expected to be the top midfielders, and seniors Kelly Barford (12 goals, 10 assists) and Brittany Phillips (12 goals, 6 assists) and juniors Savannah Coen and Lindsay Hoskins should lead the attack.

Also expected to be key contributors on attack are sophomores Alycia Kingcade and Lexi Walton.

"Offensively, we're fairly close to where we need to be," Troutner said. "We need to get up to speed defensively."

•The boys team appears to be facing a rebuilding year, as it lost 16 players to graduation.

However, the Wolves faced a similar situation last year as they lost 15 players from their 2009 roster but went on to finish 16-7 overall and reach the Division I state final, where they lost to UA 10-8.

Kilbourne went 4-2 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie Jerome and Davidson for second, behind UA (5-1) and ahead of Coffman (2-4), Thomas (2-4) and Scioto (0-6).

"What stands out about last year was the growth of our team," said second-year coach Drew May, whose team opened March 23 against St. Charles. "It was fun watching that team take shape and make it as far as they did."

Kilbourne is looking for seniors Kevin Carey and Nate Labin and juniors Devin Heath and Trae Starker to anchor the defense after losing nine defenders to graduation. Juniors Riley Brehm and Mike Mayberry and sophomore Ryan Maloney also are expected to be key contributors on defense.

Senior Alex Wylly and sophomores James Gundling and Kyle Johnson are vying to be the starting goalkeeper.

Juniors Charlie Bassani (26 goals, 29 assists), Nick Bortolani (8 goals, 2 assists), James Meager (32 goals, 15 assists) and Ryan Pritchett (24 goals, 8 assists) and sophomore Jake Roberts return to lead the attack. Returning to the midfield are seniors Dominic Luckino, Matt Malone and Payden Pierce, juniors Brian Miller, Jared Wright and Tae Young Kim, and sophomores Jon Watson and Matt Wylly.

Luckino (Wittenberg), Pierce (Jacksonville) and Young (Ohio State) have committed to play in college.

"Offensively, we have a long ways to go to get to where we need to be," May said.

"We don't have any superstars. We need to compete together as a team. We're going to win as a team and we're going to lose as a team."