Worthington Kilbourne High School boys lacrosse coach Drew May hasn't heard his team being mentioned as one of the top teams in the state this season even though it was the Division I state runner-up a year ago.

Worthington Kilbourne High School boys lacrosse coach Drew May hasn't heard his team being mentioned as one of the top teams in the state this season even though it was the Division I state runner-up a year ago.

"There's been a lot of press on (Dublin) Jerome, (Upper Arlington), (Cincinnati) Moeller and Hudson being the leading contenders," said the third-year coach, whose team opens Sunday, March 25, at Huntington (Md.) Calverton School. "We're an afterthought."

Kilbourne finished 17-6 overall last season, losing to Hudson 14-8 in the state final. The Wolves allowed only 18 goals in their first four postseason games, defeating Westerville South 14-4 in the first round of the Central Region tournament, Olentangy Liberty 8-5 in a regional semifinal, UA 10-4 in a regional final and Moeller 6-5 in a state semifinal, before falling to Hudson.

The victory over UA ended the Golden Bears' streak of 19 consecutive state appearances under coach Ted Wolford.

Kilbourne went 4-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division last season to place third, behind 2011 Division II state champion Jerome (6-0) and UA (5-1) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (3-3), Thomas Worthington (2-4), Dublin Coffman (1-5) and Dublin Scioto (0-6).

Also last year, the Wolves placed second in the "B" bracket of the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association tournament, defeating Sewickley (Pa.) Academy 14-3 and losing to Pittsburgh Mount Lebanon 10-9.

Kilbourne lost goalkeeper Alex Wylly (196 saves) and defenders Kevin Carey, Nate LaBine and Domenic Luckino to graduation.

Juniors James Gundling and Kyle Johnson are competing for the starting job at goalkeeper, while junior Ryan Maloney leads a defensive unit that also returns senior Riley Brehm and sophomores Dylan Bishop, Matt Lacey and Taylor Wilson.

"Last year we had one of the most successful defenses in Kilbourne history," May said. "The guys coming back have some pretty big shoes to fill."

The Wolves return all three starters on attack in seniors Charlie Bassani, (36 goals, 24 assists) and Ryan Pritchett (31 goals, 19 assists) and junior Jake Roberts, while seniors Nick Bortolani (17 goals, 18 assists), Tae Young Kim, James Meager (34 goals, 25 assists) and Brian Miller (30 goals, 17 assists), juniors Jon Watson and Matt Wylly (23 goals, 8 assists) and sophomore Josh Happ are expected to see most the playing time in the midfield.

"There's not a lot of selfish lacrosse being played," May said. "They play as one unit. The key for us is how well we come together as a team and how hard the guys play for each other."

Thomas enters year seeking consistent play

Thomas struggled to play consistently all four quarters last season when it finished 9-10 overall, marking its first losing season since 2001 when it finished 8-11.

To combat that problem this season, second-year coach John Galipault has planned out practices to the minute.

"We run practices by the clock on the scoreboard," said Galipault, whose team opens Friday, March 23, at Moeller. "We're maximizing all our time in practice."

Last season, Thomas went 1-1 in the "C" bracket of the MSLCA tournament, defeating Hudson Western Reserve Academy 12-11 and losing to Detroit Country Day 6-5, and lost to Liberty 16-11 in the first round of the Central Region tournament.

Vying for playing time at goalkeeper are senior Andrew Jones and junior Evan Smith, while seniors Harrison Cohan, Zach Hegerty, Dan McCallister, Adam Norris, Nate Poleway and Nick Sharick, juniors Will Byars, Connor Grubb and Andrew Shackelford and sophomore Henry Karagory comprise the defense.

"The defensive side of the field is definitely our strong suit," Galipault said.

Seniors Zach Brown, Ryan Gabel, Kevin Gifford, Aron Meek, Eric Monfort, Will Shary, Eric Sutton, Brian Tsen and Marcus Willis lead an experienced group of midfielders that also consists of juniors Ezra Cason, Connor Haley, Devon Helfer, Brett McCarthy and Joe Rebeil, sophomore Brandon Miller and freshmen Ryan Gratz and Michael Schonhiutt.

The attack is comprised of seniors Kyle Gratz, Kyle McDerment, Graham Nadler and Peter Vaccarella, juniors Andrew Atterbury and Max King and sophomore Enzo Gianfagna.

Monfort has committed to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., and Kyle Gratz and Willis have committed to Widener University in Chester, Pa.

"We're definitely going to have a balanced attack from the midfield and attack lines," Galipault said. "We're looking to maximize the depth of our team as much as possible. Hopefully we'll wear out the other teams."

Thomas, whose home field was converted to artificial turf last summer, will host the MSLCA tournament on May 11 and 12 and play host to the state finals on June 2.

"We don't have a single game on natural grass this season, so getting a chance to practice on it every day is like night and day," Galipault said. "It doesn't make sense to practice basketball on blacktop if you're playing on hardwood all year."