Hilliard Davidson High School boys lacrosse coach Adam Beasley is hoping a challenging early season schedule will pay off for his team later this spring.

The Wildcats opened the season by playing two of the top teams in the area, losing at Dublin Jerome 16-4 on March 15 and falling to New Albany 12-7 in the Ohio Machine High School Showcase on March 17 at Fortress Obetz.

Last season, Jerome reached a Division I, Region 1 semifinal and New Albany advanced to a Division I, Region 3 semifinal.

"We had a better effort (against New Albany)," said Beasley, who is in his third season. "We start with a hard schedule, every year we do. (Jerome and New Albany) will probably be top 10 teams in the state by the end of the year. They're talented lacrosse teams and that's why we want to play them now. We have always been consistently playing our best lacrosse in May.

"We don't have those year-round lacrosse guys. It takes us a little longer to settle in and start playing quality lacrosse."

Davidson, which was 1-2 before playing Olentangy on March 27, defeated host Bradley 9-8 on March 21.

Last season, the Wildcats finished 12-9 overall, placed third in the OCC-Central Division at 5-2, behind Dublin Coffman (7-0) and Upper Arlington (6-1), and reached a Division I, Region 3 semifinal before losing to UA 9-8 in two overtimes.

Davidson opens OCC-Central play April 4 at home against Coffman and visits UA on April 24.

"We respect every team in our league," Beasley said. "UA and Coffman are the cream of the crop and we're lucky to get the chance to play against them every year."

Against Bradley, junior midfielder Alex VanVoorhis scored four goals and freshman goalkeeper Kaiden Roche had six saves.

"Whenever you play an in-town rival, you know you are going to get their best game," Beasley said. "(Bradley) coach (Alex) Gossard had his guys ready to play and we made enough plays to pull it out. I am proud of how our guys continued to compete and that we were able to come away with a win."

Last season, VanVoorhis had 35 goals and 21 assists and was named second-team all-region and all-league.

Roche has taken over in goal for 2018 graduate Sam Backenstoe, who finished last season with 161 saves and was honorable mention all-region.

Another key returnee is junior Jake Blevins, who was named faceoff Specialist of the Year in the region, first-team all-league and second-team all-state last season.

Other returnees are seniors Evan Annis (defender), Brennan Connolly (defender), Matt Ryan (defender), Cullen Smith (midfielder/defender) and Kole VanHonenstein (midfielder), juniors Jackson Carter (midfielder), Adam Gilligan (midfielder/defender), Kirk Myers (attacker), Trent Nuccetelli (attacker), Tyler Nulph (midfielder), Rishi Patel (goalie), Chase Williams (defender) and Andrew Woollard (defender) and sophomore Ryan Koenig (midfielder).

"We look forward to these tough games," Woollard said. "We're not an average program anymore. We want to be great and to be great you have to play great teams, so I'm excited to play all the best teams."

Also on the team are seniors Hayden Fetty (attacker) and Ethan Royer (midfielder), juniors Dylan Kokoska (defender) and Brett Lehwald (midfielder), sophomores Kayden Drake (midfielder), Isaiah Hernandez (defender), Cody Hummell (midfielder), Lorenzo Nieves (defender), Will Riffe (midfielder) and Nick Vidrick (attacker) and freshmen Quinton Frazier (midfielder), Josh Lovely (midfielder) and Jonathan Sonedecker (attacker).

"We're young, we lost a lot of scoring, but we're slowly trying to find it, work our way in," Beasley said. "I love the direction the program is going in. We have high goals every year and they consistently stay high. Winning our OCC means we're beating two top five programs, and when you have the goal to beat two quality programs in the OCC, you plan on playing for a while."

Girls lacrosse team opens with victory

The girls lacrosse team opened March 16 by defeating Delaware 9-8.

"It was important to start with a win because we're extremely inexperienced," sixth-year coach Chad Smock said. "We lost a bunch of seniors, we lost a bunch of upperclassmen who chose not to play this year, so we're young. We only have two seniors."

Junior midfielder Sally Sell had four goals against Dela-ware and junior midfield-er/attacker Sydney Petersen scored three. It marked the first lacrosse game for Petersen, a standout in cross country, track and field and basketball who opted not to compete in track this spring.

"Some of her friends on are on the team and she wanted to play a team sport and they convinced her to come out," Smock said. "I didn't know what to expect this year with losing so many players, but there's a couple surprises and she's one of them."

Junior goalie Taylor Monturo had 17 saves against the Pacers. She wore No. 41 in the game to honor Marissa Smock, a 2015 Davidson graduate who died May 6, 2015, at age 19 from complications of a severe asthma attack. The former Wildcats goalie was finishing her freshman year at John Carroll University, where she played lacrosse.

"Taylor played an unbelievable game," said coach Smock, Marissa's father. "It was nice to have her honor Marissa in that way. She's normally (No.) 38, but she wore 41 for Marissa. It was nice to see 41 between the pipes."

Last season, Davidson finished 7-8 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Central. The Wildcats open league play April 4 at Coffman.

"It's always tough when you're in the same conference as (UA) just because they play at another level of lacrosse, but this will probably be the most competitive team that I've had," Smock said. "We're really athletic, they're picking up stuff and it's a fun team. They're really enjoying being around each other."

The Wildcats have nine returnees in Monturo, Sell, seniors Alexandra Kerr (goalie) and Nora Van Vleet (defender), juniors Claire Courter (defender) and Kylie Smith (attacker) and sophomores Leah Craft (midfielder), Sadie Davis (midfielder) and Mattie Musser (midfielder).

Also on the team are juniors Haley Burke (defender), Kate DeSanti (defender), Erin Kodger (defender) and Ava Lucy (attacker), sophomores Avery Arkwright (midfielder), Julia Detterman (attacker), Ainsley Guthrie (attacker) and Jaden Miller (midfielder) and freshmen Ava Gooding (attacker), Emily Holland (midfielder) and Macey Monturo (attacker).

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Davidson baseball, boys lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:

BASEBALL

March 30 -- Lancaster at Beavers Field

April 2 -- Home vs. Darby

BOYS LACROSSE

March 29 -- Home vs. Pittsbrgh Upper St. Clair

SOFTBALL

March 28 -- Home vs. Ready

March 30 -- At Licking Valley (DH)

April 2 -- At DeSales

BOYS TENNIS

April 2 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty

April 3 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

TRACK & FIELD

April 2 -- Home vs. Westerville South

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

March 28 -- Home vs. New Albany

*April 2 -- At Reynoldsburg

*League contest