Whenever Lexi Piekarski is in the game, the Dublin Coffman High School girls lacrosse team knows that the middle of the field is in good hands.

While playing a role focused more on the defensive side last spring, Piekarski finished second on the team in ground balls and led in caused turnovers.

Piekarski, who was one of the team's leading scorers as a sophomore when she had 26 goals, has been asked to split time between focusing on offense and defense as a midfielder this spring.

"As one of the captains for our team, she's consistently pushing the other players," coach Michael Murphy said. "Lexi is a student of the game and does the little things to make the team and her teammates better, (with) a ground ball, a defensive slide, a pick to get another teammate open. She does it all and many of these things will not show up on the stat sheet."

The ability to take on any role necessary figures to come in handy when she joins the Kent State program next year. The Golden Flashes, who are in their inaugural season this spring, picked up their first win March 29 with a 21-6 victory over Delaware State and beat Howard 17-1 on April 14 to improve to 2-13.

Piekarski is a member of Kent State's second recruiting class and plans to study business marketing with a focus on fashion merchandising.

"(Kent State) has got (mostly) freshmen, and I wanted to start somewhere where we can make history," Piekarski said. "I've played every single sport and my dad is in business, so seeing him in the business world and talking about it has gotten me curious."

Piekarski missed time in early April with an ankle injury sustained during a 15-6 loss to DeSales on April 2, including a 13-12 loss to Olentangy on April 5, but returned for an 11-8 victory over Pickerington Central on April 9.

Coffman was 6-3 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Marysville on April 16.

Entering this week, the Shamrocks had won four games in a row since the loss to the Braves, including a 12-7 victory over Hartley on April 10. They then defeated Stow-Munroe Falls 16-3 and Rocky River 10-3 on April 13 in the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington.

Senior attacker Delaney Murray totaled 16 goals in Coffman's four games prior to facing Marysville, including six against Central.

The 5-foot-3 Piekarski, who had two goals against Central, also was a key player for the girls volleyball team as a defensive specialist when the Shamrocks won three Division I district championships, including in 2016 and '17 when Coffman reached the state tournament.

"Those were some of the best experiences I've ever had, just making connections with all the individual players and the chemistry," Piekarski said. "All the team bonds made me a better person than I am today. The competitiveness really drives me.

"I never focused on lacrosse before (my freshman season) and I would go from lacrosse practice to club volleyball practice. I ended up choosing lacrosse because I love playing for coach Murphy and the experiences I've been having in that sport."

Piekarski, who believes the combination of her speed, passing ability and aggressiveness are her best traits on the lacrosse field, sees a team that should remain one of the area's stronger programs after going 13-5 and earning a league runner-up finish last season.

"We're working really hard to get to that elite level," Piekarski said. "We have great potential of making it to that level if we keep working hard in practice. I've seen that improvement in our team."

Boys lacrosse team out to strong start

The boys lacrosse team was 9-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Marysville on April 16.

Through nine games, all but one of the Shamrocks' wins was by six goals or more. The exception was an 8-6 victory over Weddington (North Carolina) on March 25.

After opening league play April 4 with a 15-2 victory over Hilliard Davidson, Coffman earned blowout league wins over Pickerington Central (23-6 on April 8) and Newark (27-0 on April 11).

"I'm most pleased with how we've come together as a team," coach Shane Comisford said. "I thought we did really well on our spring break trip to North Carolina."

Through eight games, Evan James had 28 goals and 14 assists, Nick Harris had 20 goals and three assists, Peter Tyack had 14 goals and seven assists and Will Hunter had eight goals and 10 assists while Wyatt Bartlett had won 60 percent of his face-off opportunities.

Ethan Tyack missed six of Coffman's first nine games but had five goals before April 16.

Defensively through eight games, Zach Kasun had 18 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers, Troy McConnaughey had 14 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers and goalkeeper Sean McCourt had saved 73 percent of the shots he faced.

"We've had some crucial injuries to start off the season, but we've had players step up and fill the voids without missing a beat," Comisford said.

Coaches named for two girls teams

Coffman recently announced new coaches in girls volleyball and girls basketball.

On April 5, Kim Atherton was named girls volleyball coach.

Atherton guided Marion Pleasant to 11 Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference titles from 2002-13 and a Division III district title in 2013. She was named district Coach of the Year seven times and had more than 200 wins with the Spartans.

In addition, she served as an assistant at Coffman in 2015 when the Shamrocks were the Division I state runners-up under Mary Anne Souder, who amassed a 297-51 record in 13 seasons. The Shamrocks finished 23-4 last fall.

Adam Banks has been named girls basketball coach, pending school board approval.

A 2004 Scioto graduate who went on to graduate from Ohio State and earn a law degree from Western Michigan's Thomas Cooley Law School, Banks served as an assistant boys coach for one season at Coffman and coached the Shamrocks' freshman boys team for six seasons.

Banks takes over a girls program that went 188-41 in nine seasons under Bryan Patton, who stepped down March 14.

This past season, Coffman went 22-3 and lost in a Division I district semifinal.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek