Coming off a season in which it posted the best record in program history, the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls lacrosse team would like to continue that march forward.

Gahanna followed a 10-8 finish in 2017 by improving to 11-7 last spring in coach Maggie Maley's first season.

"Each year our record has improved, so that's our goal again this year, while also having fun and building relationships," Maley said.

The Lions finished third in the OCC-Central Division at 4-2 behind perennial powers Upper Arlington (6-0) and Dublin Coffman (5-1) and ahead of a group of teams that included both Pickerington programs.

Gahanna beat Pickerington Central 9-5 during the regular season and was seeded seventh for the Division I, Region 3 tournament, but lost a rematch to the ninth-seeded Tigers 18-9 in the second round of the tournament.

Junior midfielder Julia Foresi and senior attacker Melanie Whalen have returned and figure to be among the team's top offensive threats again this season. Senior midfielder Sydney Ankrim and sophomore attacker Anna Linnabary are other returning offensive players.

Senior Lexi Bochenek, junior Nevaeh Lashley and sophomore Haley Meheren are the goalkeepers, and junior Julie Bray and sophomores Emily Burkhart and Brooke Gates are returning defenders.

Also on the team are seniors Megan Henry (defender) and Grace Schuler (defender), junior Emma Hasenstab (attacker), sophomores Gabby D'alberto (attacker) and Rachael King (attacker) and freshman Kenzie Streby (midfielder). Lashley also sees time at defender.

Gahanna opened March 19 with a 12-11 loss to Westerville North but beat Big Walnut 11-9 on March 21. The Lions open league action April 4 at home against Pickerington North.

Against Westerville North, Foresi scored five goals, Ankrim, Linnabary and Streby each scored two and Meheren and Lashley each saw time in goal.

"We're excited about this year," Maley said. "We lost a lot of great seniors last year, so this will be a building year. We have a lot of young talent."

Boys lacrosse team has young group

During his senior season with the boys lacrosse team in 2010, Brad Tarbutton was among the leading scorers as the Lions posted a winning record.

Some of the lessons he learned about culture as a player and while working as a middle school coach in the school district the past two years will be things he'll draw from this spring as the program's new coach.

Tarbutton took over for Chris Robbins, who headed the program for five seasons and is now Bexley's coach.

"It's a young group," Tarbutton said. "I've got some seniors that are really committed and passionate about improving our team. More than anything, we're completely trying to imbed a culture of accountability and hard work first, creating good men first and good athletes second, doing things the right way. Little by little, that's the goal here."

Gahanna, which was 1-2 before playing Hilliard Darby on March 26, opens OCC-Central action April 4 at Pickerington North. The Lions, who finished 8-11 overall and 2-5 in the league last season, beat Westerville North 10-2 in their opener March 15.

Seniors Connor Estell (attacker), Riley Lutsko (defen-der), Ben Siegel (defender), Jon Swelstad (long-stick midfielder) and Tyler Torr (midfielder) and juniors Mason Hall (attacker/midfielder) and Aidan O'Harra (goalie) are among the top returnees. The other senior is goalie Brendan Holahan.

Sophomore Braeden Henry, who is new to the team, and freshman Josh Knuckles are other key defenders.

Sophomores Zacc Hoffman, Maciah Houpe and Colton Ramsey are other attackers, and juniors Steven Dong, Ben Herman, Michael Leibas and Zane Thayer and sophomore Mykohl Martin are returning midfielders.

Others looking to contribute include junior midfielders Dylan Inman, Dominic Pernotto and Carson Wilson.

"It's very challenging since we're a young team," Swelstad said. "A lot of these guys haven't been on a sports team for very long, so definitely mental discipline is a big factor. We're working on more teamwork and not just learning how to play lacrosse."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis and boys volleyball teams:

BASEBALL

April 1 -- At Olentangy

April 2 -- Home vs. Whetstone

BOYS LACROSSE

March 30 -- Home vs. Licking Valley

April 2 -- At Big Walnut

GIRLS LACROSSE

April 2 -- At Westerville Central

SOFTBALL

April 2 -- At New Albany

April 3 -- At Newark

BOYS TENNIS

April 1 -- Home vs. Delaware

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

*April 2 -- At Pickerington North

*League contest