Lacrosse players might not wear as many pads as football players and their helmets might not be as bulky, but there's no debating it's a physical sport that requires great strength and stamina.
Tommy Bichsel, a senior attacker for the Westerville North High School boys team, isn't deterred by the hits he knows he'll take when he drives toward the goal.Video •Watch an interview with Westerville North boys lacrosse player Tommy Bichsel.
He's determined to not let defenders slow him down.
"(Getting hit) definitely doesn't feel good, but it's motivation for me," Bichsel said. "When someone does that, it only makes me mad and motivates me to put the ball in the net.
"You have to be tough to play the game. You always have to have an eye open and know the cuts and slide packages of the other team."
Bichsel has a team-leading 37 goals for the Warriors, who are 9-4 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division. He played football as a freshman, but decided to focus on lacrosse.
He has been a starting attacker for four seasons and has played lacrosse since he was 8 years old.
"The most important thing for an attacker is being quick on your feet," said Bichsel, who was second-team all-region last season. "You have to be able to deal with the defense when they put pressure on you."
Coach Nate Nelson said Bichsel always is aware of his surroundings on the field, which always makes him a threat to score.
"Tommy keeps his head up all of the time, watching the offense, watching the defense," Nelson said. "He's looking to see what he can take from the defense."
One thing that Bichsel can't take is playing a waiting game. As an attacker, he can only stand and watch near midfield as the opposing offense plays its chess match with North defenders.
"I hate standing around waiting," he said. "As an attacker, the most difficult thing is not getting the ball. You can't get the ball from the other side as an attacker, so you're waiting. ... When the other team has momentum, it can be difficult."
North had a strong start to the season, but has dropped three consecutive games heading into its league contest Thursday, April 27, at Olentangy.
The Warriors already have surpassed last season's win total when they finished 8-11.
"The chemistry of this team has been great because we have a lot of upperclassmen who have played together for so long," Bichsel said. "We have a special bond that connects us."
The losing streak is something the Warriors need to get past. They need to get back to playing together as a unit.
"We have to take this as a learning experience," said Bichsel, a Lake Erie College recruit. "We can't worry about the team we play as much as we need to worry about ourselves. We can't pay attention to records, just go out and play our game."
Girls lacrosse team
looks for more scoring
The girls lacrosse team was 2-8 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Olentangy Liberty on April 25.
Through 10 games, the Warriors had scored 7.2 goals per contest but had surrendered 11.0. They had averaged just 5.4 goals in their eight losses.
North's first victory came against Westerville South 16-0 on April 11. It also defeated Newfane (New York) 13-3 in the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament on April 22 at Thomas Worthington. The Warriors lost to Oak Park (Illinois) 10-6 in their other Hannigan-Galipault contest.
North lost to Hilliard Bradley 11-6 on April 20. Abbey Chafin scored twice and Gracie Heighway, Paige Miller, Tatiana Siesnick and Alyssa Villilo all had one goal. Goalkeeper Maddie Morrison had six saves.
Boys tennis team
endures tough schedule
The boys tennis team was 6-4 overall after losing to New Albany 5-0 on April 24 and is 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye.
The Warriors close their league schedule Friday, April 28, at Orange.
"I think overall we have been successful," coach Rob Carlson said. "We came super-close to beating Liberty (on April 13). We lost 3-2, but our second-doubles team (of Nathan Phillips and Kyle Reiniger) went three sets (in a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 loss). We have lost to some pretty good teams."
Phillips and Reiniger were winners at second doubles when the Warriors defeated Westerville Central 4-1 on April 19. Daniel Mayotte won at first singles, Pierre Penzo won at third singles and Justin Evans and Trent McFarland won at first doubles.