The Delaware Hayes High School boys lacrosse team has set some lofty goals this season.
With a strong core group of returnees, fifth-year coach John Lyon believes the Pacers can improve significantly on last season when they finished 12-8 overall and went 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to finish second behind Dublin Jerome (6-0).
"Our goals, in order, are to win the league, win the (Division I) regional championship and win the state championship," Lyon said. "I think those are realistic goals as long as we continue to play with cohesion and work within our schemes and execute well."
Last season, the Pacers were seeded fifth of 15 teams in the Region 1 tournament and defeated 10th-seeded Toledo St. John's 16-2 and fourth-seeded Medina 9-3 to reach a regional semifinal, where they lost to top-seeded Olentangy Liberty 14-6. Liberty went on to win the regional and lose in a state semifinal.
Seniors Casey Eiland (midfielder), Levi Jones (midfielder), Keltin Melvin (defender), Dalton Powers (attacker) and Alex Schumacher (midfielder) and juniors Sam Lagando (midfielder), Andrew Lyon (attacker) and Connor Prenger (midfielder) have returned.
Lyon, the coach's son, was named second-team all-league last season.
"Our offense is looking pretty good, but we had to replace a lot of starters and key personnel on defense," coach Lyon said. "But we've got guys who we believe will step in and fill the voids. They just haven't gotten their chance and now they will."
Senior Chase McGarry and sophomore Tyler Carney will both see time in goal, looking to replace 2017 graduate Tyler Groth.
Expected to start on defense are Melvin, senior Josiah Naegele and sophomore Tyler David, while junior Xavier Yates is expected to see plenty of action as well. Sophomore Colby Cooper and freshman Clay Knight are expected to share time as long-stick midfielders.
"I think Josiah Naegele and Keltin Melvin are going to give us some strength at defender and they like to mix it up some," coach Lyon said. "I think we've got talent all over the field."
Others expected to make an impact are senior Dalton Powers (attacker) and freshmen Blake Eiland (midfielder) and Ryan Smudz (attacker).
The Pacers lost 11 players from a year ago to graduation, including Ethan Miller (midfielder), Remy Curtin (long-stick midfielder) and Drew Wagner (defender), all of whom were named second-team all-league.
"What I like about this year's group is that we have good team balance and chemistry," said coach Lyon, whose team beat Olentangy Orange 5-4 in its opener March 20 and played Liberty on March 22. "I don't think our opponents will be able to key in on stopping one guy and beating us. We just don't have that one individual who is going to carry us offensively. But we do have a strong squad with several guys who can make plays and I think we should have balance between offense and defense."
Against Orange, Schumacher scored two goals and Blake Eiland, Lagando and Smudz each scored one. Eiland scored the winning goal with 9 minutes, 18 seconds remaining off an assist from Lyon.
Carney made six saves against the Pioneers.
March 20 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
March 22 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
March 24 -- vs. Watterson
March 28 -- vs. St. Charles
April 3 -- at Medina
*April 5 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
April 7 -- vs. Hartland (Mich.)
*April 10 -- at Dublin Jerome
*April 12 -- at Hilliard Darby
*April 17 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
April 21 -- vs. New Albany
*April 24 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
*April 26 -- at Dublin Scioto
May 4 -- vs. Whitehouse Anthony Wayne
May 5 -- vs. Toledo St. John's
May 8 -- at Columbus Academy
May 11 -- at Strongsville
May 12 -- at Shaker Heights
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes baseball, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
March 27 -- Home vs. Saline (Mich.)
March 29 -- Home vs. Cardington
March 31 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
March 27 -- Home vs. Bexley
March 29 -- Home vs. Big Walnut
March 27 -- Home vs. Watterson
March 28 -- Home vs. West Jefferson
*March 29 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
March 30 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
March 26 -- Home vs. Caledonia River Valley
March 28 -- Home vs. Marion Pleasant
*March 29 -- Home vs. Darby
TRACK & FIELD
March 26 -- Home vs. Marion Harding and Oakstone Academy
*March 27 -- Home vs. Darby
March 29 -- Home vs. Northland