Mollie Phythyon has a young Westerville North High School girls lacrosse team, but the third-year coach doesn't need to drill the basics.
The Warriors already know the fundamentals of the game as they work to improve on last season's 10-9 finish. It was their first winning record since going 10-8 in 2010.
"When I started here, we wanted to start building a youth program," said Phythyon, whose team finished second (4-1) in the OCC-Ohio Division last spring behind Pickerington Central (5-0). "They can come in here knowing how to catch and pass, so we don't have to start at square one."
The Warriors have 36 players in the program, with 26 being sophomores and freshmen. Three of the starters are sophomores in midfielders Kait Boso and Gracie Heighway and defender Kate Smith.
Midfielder Abbey Chafin (honorable mention all-league last season), attacker Megan Harris, defender Rhanda McNamee, defender Noel Saffold (second-team all-league) and attacker Alyssa Villilo (special mention all-league) are the program's five seniors.
"We're working together this season as a unit," Villilo said. "We're learning to trust each other, and trust is a big thing in this game."
The Warriors lost their first two games, falling to DeSales 16-1 on March 21 and to Watterson 18-5 on March 23. They then had a two-week break from competition, working on their game in practice in preparation for their OCC-Buckeye opener Thursday, April 6, at Big Walnut.
"We haven't had our team at full strength whether because of injuries or spring break (March 25 to April 2)," Phythyon said. "Hopefully we'll be back and ready to go when we return from break."
Goalkeeper Reese Burke, defender Sydney Chafin and attackers Emily Garee, Tatiana Siesnick and Marissa Tanner are juniors.
Freshman Maddie Morrison also will see time in goal.
"They are learning to play on varsity in a trial by fire," Phythyon said. "High-school lacrosse moves at a different speed than they are used to playing in middle school. At that level, there is a lot of running up and down the field, but there is more catching and passing in high school. It's more of a team game."
Boys lacrosse team
An experienced boys lacrosse team expects to top last season, when it finished 8-11 overall and tied Pickerington Central and Westerville Central for third (3-3) in the OCC-Central behind Delaware (6-0) and Pickerington North (5-1).
"We have about 75 percent of our starters back," said coach Nate Nelson, who is in his second season. "We have all of our starting defenders and attackers back and three of our top six midfielders."
Leading the attack are seniors Tommy Bichsel (second-team all-region) and Parker Hicks (honorable mention all-region) and junior Luke Fuller. Seniors Grayson Horn, Keeton Rafferty, Cade Pillow and Nickel Thompson and junior Zack Whaley lead the defense, and senior Michael Bayda and sophomore Andrew Crawford anchor the midfield.
Juniors Richard Du and Philip Elliott play in goal.
"Most of the guys have played varsity since they were sophomores," Nelson said. "I came in as an assistant that year. They know what we want done."
North was 5-1 before playing Columbus Academy on April 5. Its loss was a 14-13 setback against Hilliard Davidson on March 25.
The Warriors defeated Pickerington Central 11-7 on March 18, Buckeye Valley 9-4 on March 24, Dublin Scioto 17-16 on March 28, Sylvania Southview 13-10 on March 30 and Sylvania Northview 18-13 on April 1.
North opens OCC-Buckeye play Thursday, April 6, at home against Big Walnut.
Boys tennis coach
excited by potential
Fourth-year coach Rob Carlson has a boys tennis team loaded with experience.
Last season, the Warriors finished 10-6 overall and placed fifth (3-4) in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion Dublin Jerome (7-0).
"This is the most experienced, veteran group that I have coached," said Carlson, whose team opened April 4 against Marysville after its match April 3 against Groveport was postponed because of bad weather. "We're pretty solid through the varsity and j.v. levels and only have one player with less than three years of experience."
Senior first-singles player Daniel Mayotte qualified for the Division I district tournament last spring for the second consecutive season. Junior Reese Nguyen will play second singles and senior Pierre Penzo, an exchange student from Italy, will play third singles.
"Ability-wise, this is best group that I have ever coached as a whole," said Carlson, whose team opens OCC-Buckeye play Thursday, April 6, at Westerville Central. "I made our schedule stronger because I thought this team could handle it, and because it could prepare them for sectional."
The doubles courts will be filled by a group of players including seniors Justin Evans and Nathan Phillips, juniors Lukas Liskay, Trent McFarland and Kyle Reiniger and sophomores Harry Passerrello, Ervan Rogers and Jason Walden.
"Every single year, we re-organize the doubles courts," Carlson said. "We want to find some continuity and find players who complement each other and jell together well. We'll see how the challenge matches go."
March 18 -- vs. Pickerington Central
March 24 -- vs. Buckeye Valley
March 25 -- at Hilliard Davidson
March 28 -- at Dublin Scioto
March 31 -- vs. Sylvania Southview
April 1 -- vs. Sylvania Northview
April 5 -- vs. Columbus Academy
*April 6 -- vs. Big Walnut
April 8 -- vs. Gahanna
*April 10 -- at Westerville South
*April 13 -- at New Albany
*April 18 -- vs. Westerville Central
April 22 -- at Granville
*April 27 -- Olentangy
*May 3 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
May 6 -- at Springboro
May 10 -- vs. Jonathan Alder
*May 12 -- at Olentangy Liberty
March 21 -- at DeSales
March 23 -- vs. Watterson
*April 6 -- at Big Walnut
April 7 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
April 8 -- at Hilliard Darby
*April 11 -- vs. Westerville South
*April 13 -- vs. New Albany
*April 18 -- at Westerville Central
April 20 -- at Hilliard Bradley
April 22 -- Newfane (N.Y.) and Oak Park (Ill.) in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington
*April 25 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*April 27 -- vs. Olentangy
April 28 -- vs. Granville
*May 2 -- at Olentangy Orange
May 4 -- at Hilliard Davidson
May 8 -- vs. Bexley
May 11 -- at Gahanna
April 3 -- vs. Groveport
April 4 -- vs. Marysville
April 5 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
*April 6 -- at Westerville Central
*April 11 -- vs. Olentangy
April 12 -- at Newark
*April 13 -- at Olentangy Liberty
April 17 -- vs. Bexley
*April 18 -- vs. Westerville South
*April 20 -- at Olentangy Orange
April 22 -- Bob Raica Tournament at Westerville South
April 24 -- at New Albany
April 26 -at Hartley
April 27 -- at Pickerington North
April 29 -- Big Walnut Doubles Tournament
May 2 -- at Big Walnut
May 3 -- vs. Lancaster
May 4 -- vs. Columbus West
May 8 -- vs. Pickerington Central
Below are the coming schedules for the North baseball, softball, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
*April 7 -- At Olentangy
April 8 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson (DH)
*April 10 -- At Olentangy Liberty
*April 11 -- Home vs. Watterson
*April 12 -- Home vs. Liberty
April 6 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
*April 12 -- At Westerville Central
TRACK & FIELD
April 8 -- Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North
*April 6 -- Home vs. Olentangy
April 8 -- Polar Bear Bash at Massillon Jackson
*April 11 -- At Liberty