The Thomas Worthington High School boys lacrosse team has more than doubled last season's win total and junior goalkeeper Owen Kehl thinks there are more wins to be had.
"We're playing real well right now and we're hungry and looking forward to the (Division I, Region 3) tournament," Kehl said. "This is so much better than last year and we're more comfortable on defense. Our defense has improved so much from the beginning of this year."
The Cardinals picked up their third victory in four games by defeating Hilliard Davidson 12-11 on May 2 and are 10-6 overall entering the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association tournament this weekend at Fortress Obetz. They will play Olentangy on Friday, May 10, and Hudson Western Reserve Academy on Saturday, May 11.
"We're still a young team with a lot of sophomores and freshmen, but they've been led by a small but strong senior class that now knows how to step up and lead when times are rough," said second-year coach John Haldeman, whose team went 5-14 last season. "It's been a good combination and the kids have improved a great deal, which is why we have our first winning season since 2011."
Kehl has been amazed by the team's improvement on defense.
"We've used a combination of man and zone defense and our defensive coordinator, Collin Lisi, has really helped the young guys," Kehl said. "We've got a freshman starter in Owen Ryan and he has stepped up along with his brother, Ethan (Ryan). Trevor Law, Kemauni Peyton and Eli Short are playing well.
"Ethan is very aggressive going out to play the ball and creating turnovers and Trevor, Kemauni and Eli are doing great as long-stick middies and helping us clear to lead the transitions."
The Cardinals defeated Dublin Scioto 19-5 on April 16, Olentangy Berlin 13-5 on April 23 and Hilliard Darby 10-7 on April 25 before falling to Kilbourne 15-6 on April 30 to finish 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division. Their other league win came against Hilliard Bradley, 9-3 on April 9.
Against Davidson, Cole McDermott scored four goals, Bennett Fischbach scored three and Nick McCarthy added two. Against Berlin, Fischbach had four goals, Carson Smith scored three and Tanner Hunt scored two.
Kehl made 15 saves against Kilbourne.
"Owen has played excellent in cage and we've been very solid on offense with Bennett, Nick and Cole leading us," Haldeman said. "Nate Hoover has played a huge role for us as a faceoff midfielder. Things are going well and we're very excited about (the Region 3 tournament)."
Thomas is seeded fifth of 16 teams in the Region 3 tournament and will play host to sixth-seeded St. Charles in the first round Tuesday, May 14. The winner plays third-seeded New Albany or 15th-seeded Gahanna in a regional quarterfinal May 17.
Girls lacrosse team edges Wolves
The girls lacrosse team snapped a two-game losing streak by edging Kilbourne 13-12 in overtime on May 2 and followed up with a 16-4 win over visiting Springboro the following day.
The Cardinals were 10-5 overall before playing Olentangy on May 7 and will close the regular season Saturday, May 11, at Cincinnati Loveland.
Rachel Rinaldi scored four goals and Tori Banks and Mollie Estepp both scored three against Kilbourne, as the Cardinals finished 6-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to place second behind Dublin Jerome (7-0). Abbey Midnight added two goals for Thomas, which lost to the Celtics 13-11 on April 10.
The Cardinals are seeded third of 17 teams in the Division I, Region 3 tournament and will play host to 13th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in the first round Tuesday, May 14. The winner plays sixth-seeded Pickerington Central or 12th-seeded Beavercreek in a regional quarterfinal May 17.
Boys tennis team set for sectional
Members of the boys tennis team are set to compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, May 9, and Saturday, May 11, at Reynoldsburg.
Senior Kai Britz is seeded fourth in singles. Also playing singles are senior Steve Jackman and sophomore Will Newberry.
Senior Aaron Zeller and junior Deep Gupta are playing doubles, as are junior Mitch Button and sophomore Ryley Briones.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 16 and 18 at Reynoldsburg.
Softball team opens postseason
The softball team lost to host Kilbourne on May 1, falling 7-6 in what ended up being the regular-season finale after games against Bexley and Olentangy were canceled May 2 and 3, respectively, because of bad weather.
The 38th-seeded Cardinals then lost at 34th-seeded Central Crossing 14-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 6 to finish 3-17 overall.
With the loss to Kilbourne, Thomas finished 3-11 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Baseball team ends losing streak
The baseball team erupted for five runs in the top of the 10th inning May 2 at Dublin Scioto to win 9-4 and snap a six-game losing streak.
The game began May 1, but was suspended because of darkness.
The Cardinals' previous win came against DeSales, 6-1 on April 16.
Thomas lost to Darby 16-1 in five innings May 3 and 10-0 in five innings May 6 and was 5-17 overall before playing Upper Arlington on May 7 and 2-10 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Kilbourne on May 8.
The Cardinals will close the regular season Friday, May 10, at Kilbourne.
Thomas is seeded 37th of 48 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play host to 44th-seeded Franklin Heights in the first round Monday, May 13, with the winner playing at fifth-seeded Gahanna in the second round Wednesday, May 15.
The second-round winner will play 15th-seeded Central Crossing, 16th-seeded Grove City or 38th-seeded Westland in a district semifinal May 20 at a site to be determined.
The district final is May 22 at a site to be determined.
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas track & field and boys volleyball teams:
TRACK & FIELD
May 9, 11 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Davidson
May 15, 16, 18 -- Division I, district 3 meet at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 22 and 24 at Pickerington North.
May 9 -- At Pickerington Central
May 14 -- OCC Challenge at Hilliard Darby