Lily Berger feels comfortable with a stick in her hand, no matter the season.
The senior is in her fourth year as a midfielder for the Columbus School for Girls lacrosse team and completed her fourth season with the field hockey team last fall. She also has spent several winters playing ice hockey.
"All three of the sports have sticks. ... I can't play without a stick," Berger said. "I tried volleyball and that didn't work out. I tried soccer, and it wasn't my thing. I guess I have hand-eye (coordination), not foot-eye.
"I also play field hockey, but it's not my favorite. There is a lot of blowing the whistle and stopping play. It's a slow-moving game. It's not my speed."
Berger led the lacrosse team in scoring the past three years and is doing so again this season. She had 29 goals and eight assists through eight games for the Unicorns, who were 6-4 overall and had won six consecutive games after defeating McMurray (Pennsylvania) Peters Township 12-6 and Wooster 15-5 in the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament on April 21 at Thomas Worthington.
A University of California Berkeley recruit in lacrosse, Berger said her shooting skills on the ice have helped her in lacrosse.
"A lot of things cross over between ice hockey and lacrosse that have helped me out," said Berger, who began playing hockey in fourth grade and has played for the AAA Blue Jackets girls program. "In ice hockey, I'm used to shooting low. When you see the boys in lacrosse, they have these rising shots and a lot of the girls can't do that. But I practice that all of the time in ice hockey and it's easy for me to do those big power shots. Hockey also is one of the only other sports where you can go behind the net.
"I know a lot of girls who have done both (sports) and went on to play lacrosse at some pretty good (colleges). It's all about the stick work."
Berger had 50 goals and 17 assists last season for the lacrosse team after recording 51 goals and six assists in 2016 and 34 goals and five assists in 2015.
"Lily is a game-changer all over the field," lacrosse coach Kellen Morrissey said.
"She runs the midfield for us with defensive stops, she scores goals and probably leads the team in ground balls as well. She's really passionate and creates a spark for us all over the field.
"She scores for us, but she also has a lot of assists. She does a good job of setting up her teammates."
Berger said her experience on the ice has made her aggressive on the field, allowing her to take control of any situation.
"In lacrosse, a lot of girls are super timid, so when you get older, you find the holes (to the net) easier," she said. "You have an opening (to shoot) more often than you think. A lot of the boys at the high school level can't stop a super-fast shot, even from the 8 (-meter mark), which is really close to the net. ...
"It's like ice hockey, the more that you shoot, the better chance you have of it going in. Maybe I shoot more than I probably should, but it helps in the long run."
Berger had six goals and two assists in an 18-5 win over Bexley on April 17 as the Unicorns improved to 2-2 in the Central Independent League.
"Sometimes Lily's aggression comes off as being too aggressive, but she just loves the sport so much and tries to get her teammates fired up," Morrissey said. "We like the hustle and intensity that she brings."
Berger said her intense nature is part of her competitive spirit.
"I get angry pretty easily, so I need to work on my headspace, my composure," she said. "Maybe it's from ice hockey. Maybe it's from having two brothers. I have a very short temper. I always think that I should be better than I am and I get frustrated, and it can hold me back."
Babatunde leads way for track team
Imani Babatunde led the track and field team in the Elmo Kallner Invitational on April 21 at Hamilton Township.
The senior won the 200 meters in 26.4 seconds and was anchor on the winning 400 relay (51.2) with Peyton Jackson, Asia Nguyen and Emily Dewolf.
The same four girls were on the second-place 800 relay (1:49.55) and Alexandria Rodgers, Jackson, Eva Nicolosi and Babatunde comprised the runner-up 1,600 relay (4:14.82).
Placing third were Nicolosi in the long jump (16 feet, 1 1/2 inches) and Nyah Funderburke in the 100 (13.27).
The Unicorns scored 66 points in the 13-team meet to finish fifth behind champion Groveport (84).
Below are the coming schedules for the CSG lacrosse and track & field teams:
*April 26 -- Home vs. Watterson
April 27 -- At Pickerington Central
*May 1 -- At Centennial
TRACK & FIELD
April 27 -- Marion Harding Night Relays
May 2 -- Home vs. Africentric and Bexley