A slow start to the season didn't distract the Dublin Jerome High School boys lacrosse team from its long-term goals.
The Celtics lost to Mason 8-7 on March 17 and Coffman 10-1 on March 21 but rebounded to win their next six games before facing Hilliard Bradley on April 16.
Some of the biggest games of the regular season remain for Jerome, including a home contest against defending OCC-Cardinal Division champion Worthington Kilbourne on April 25.
However, the Celtics aren't emphasizing any particular games.
"Right now, our focus is just on getting better as a team rather than on who we play," coach Andy Asmo said.
The Celtics were 7-2 overall and 2-0 in the league before facing Bradley and continue league action Tuesday, April 23, at Hilliard Darby. Last season, Jerome went 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish second behind Kilbourne (6-0).
Continuing the steady defense that has been a strength thus far this season likely is the key to Jerome's success.
The Celtics allowed an average of just 4.5 goals during their six-game winning streak that entered the week.
Junior Evan Wieklinski is a first-year goalkeeper but has been supported by senior Brandon Infante, junior Zach Dubois and sophomore Seth Martin at close defense and junior Mac Smith and sophomore Will Ackert at long-stick midfielder.
Senior Reid McCrabb and sophomore Jack Donahue have been the most frequently used faceoff midfielders.
Jerome opened OCC-Cardinal action with a 19-2 win over first-year Olentangy Berlin on April 4 and beat Thomas Worthington 16-6 on April 11.
The win over Thomas, as well as a 14-5 victory over Indianapolis Cathedral on April 13, also were Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association games.
"Our defense has been strong, and we knew it would be with two all-state defensemen (Infante and Dubois) coming back," Asmo said. "With our goalie and our faceoff guys stepping up a little bit more, we're starting to feel more comfortable. Our offense is coming."
Girls lacrosse team out to strong start
The girls lacrosse team was 5-0-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Bradley on April 16.
The Celtics crossed off one of their biggest goals April 11 when they beat Thomas 13-11 to avenge a 10-9 overtime loss to the Cardinals in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal last season.
Thomas also is the alma mater of Kendall Gordon, who was an assistant with the Cardinals before taking over as Jerome's coach last season.
"We just came back with a lot of anger from last year being eliminated by them in the tournament," junior attacker Izzy Francati said. "We had that passion to win, and that helped a lot."
Francati, a Villanova commit, missed all of last season with a knee injury but has emerged as the team's leading scorer this spring. She had six goals against the Cardinals.
On April 13 in the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas, Jerome tied Louisville (Kentucky) Eastern at 8 and beat Cincinnati Indian Hill 12-7.
The Celtics had more than two weeks off in between their season-opening 19-2 win over Hartley on March 17 and a 19-2 victory over Berlin on April 4, but earned the win over Thomas one day after beating Delaware 19-4.
Seniors Kate Edwards (defender), Mackenzie Potts (goalie), Gabby Rothermund (attacker) and Mary Grace Zamary (defender) have been among the other standouts, according to Gordon.
"(The win over Thomas) was really just a team effort," Gordon said. "Really, it was for us getting back to basics and doing the things we know we do well and focusing on the fundamentals. We had a really young team last year and we're fortunate that we're a little deeper than last year."
OCC slate heats up for baseball team
The baseball team returns to OCC-Cardinal action Monday, April 22, at Berlin.
Jerome was 10-4 overall and 3-1 in the league before playing Berlin on April 17.
On April 13, the Celtics swept Briggs in a doubleheader, winning 11-0 in five innings and 10-0 in six innings.
In the 10-0 victory over the Bruins, Easton Gross and Sammy Stoner combined to throw a no-hitter, with Gross pitching the first four innings and Stoner pitching the final two. Drew Haab and Alex Fox each went 3-for-3 in the contest.
Jerome plays a pair of league games against Darby next week. The Celtics visit Darby on Wednesday, April 24, and play host to the Panthers on April 26.