Given that the Upper Arlington High School boys lacrosse team fell two wins short of its sixth Division I state championship in eight years last season, second-year coach Kyle Olson sees no need to dramatically readjust the Golden Bears' goals.
UA is undergoing a personnel overhaul, however, in that while three of the Bears' top six midfielders are back, only one starter returns in both the attack and the defense and the team also has a new starting goalkeeper.
Last season, UA finished 20-3 overall, went 6-1 in the OCC-Central Division to share the league championship with Dublin Coffman and Hilliard Davidson and lost to Cincinnati Moeller 10-9 in a state semifinal.
"We've learned a lot about ourselves in the sense that we have a lot of guys stepping into new roles and they need to take them, not just sit back and let the game come to them," said Olson, whose team opened March 23 at home with a 13-0 win over Thomas Worthington and defeated visiting Cleveland St. Ignatius 8-7 on March 24. "We have a lot of guys who I think are right on the edge of figuring out where they're going to go. Who steps up? Who needs to do more?"
Senior Matt Marsh is the only returning starter on attack and classmate Will Robbins is the only starting defender back for UA, which begins league play April 5 at home against Pickerington Central.
Returning midfielders include seniors Charlie Little, Blake Showe and Ben Tjaden. Junior Michael Kern is back at long-stick midfielder.
The roster consists of 16 seniors, 16 juniors, three sophomores and one freshman, but Robbins cautioned that the number of upperclassmen can be misleading.
"An older team isn't necessarily a veteran team, especially in a program like this where you have a lot of older guys so even as juniors, some guys haven't played a whole lot," Robbins said. "It's a good chance to get guys out on the field to get some experience, some for the first time and some guys are just knocking the rust off. But the fact that we are an older team makes for a more mature team and that can help us down the road."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Harry Baker (attacker), Jackson Bergdoll (defender), Jake Carlin (goalie), Sam DeCapua (midfielder), Gordie MacDonald (defender), Hunter Neff (midfielder), Andrew Pema (defender), Zach Root (midfielder), Nik Schickram (attacker), Will Scott (midfielder) and Cole Tingley (midfielder), juniors A.J. Achatz (attacker), A.J. Borders (midfielder), Sean Byrne (midfielder), Sam Campbell (midfielder), Cooper Ellis (attacker), Drew Hellstedt (goalie), Nathan Junk (midfielder), Luke Marshall (attacker), Jack Mason (attacker), Anthony Pardi (attacker), Jamie Schuman (midfielder), Pierce Showe (defender), Alex Thomson (midfielder), Luke Tzagournis (midfielder) and Joe Winslow (defender), sophomores Garrett Jepson (goalie), Duncan MacDonald (midfielder) and David Robbins (defender) and freshman Garrett Junk (attacker).
"It's about the little things coaches are always preaching to us -- moving off the ball, hitting the weight room, things like that," Carlin said. "Down the stretch of last season, we got away from fundamentals too much. It's important to stick to what UA lacrosse is all about."
March 23 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
March 24 -- vs. Cleveland St. Ignatius
March 28 -- vs. Olentangy
*April 5 -- vs. Pickerington Central
April 6 -- at Cincinnati St. Xavier
*April 10 -- at Marysville
*April 12 -- vs. Pickerington North
April 14 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*April 17 -- vs. Newark
April 19 -- at Olentangy Liberty
*April 24 -- at Hilliard Davidson
*April 26 -- vs. Gahanna
April 28 -- vs. Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier
April 29 -- vs. Hudson Western Reserve
*May 2 -- at Dublin Coffman
May 5 -- vs. Cincinnati Moeller
May 11-12 -- Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association tournament at Fortress Obetz