When Adam Beasley took over as coach of the Hilliard Davidson boys lacrosse team prior to the 2017 season, he not only had short-term goals, but also looked ahead to what he believed was a promising future.
Beasley particularly had high hopes for the 2020 season. Having 11 seniors on the roster this spring, he thought the Wildcats could contend for the OCC-Central Division championship and make a deep run in the postseason.
The seniors never got the chance to realize their potential, however, as the spring sports season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"These seniors are going to be hard to replace because almost every one of them had two to three years of starting experience or have had quality varsity minutes since they were freshmen and sophomores," Beasley said. "There's just so much experience that we're losing. The bigger key is these guys really cared about each other. They wanted to play together one last time and that's the toughest part for all of us."
Two of the seniors, faceoff specialist Jake Blevins and midfielder Alex Van Voorhis, were expected to lead the Wildcats, who finished 8-11 a year ago.
Last season, Blevins won 269 of 343 faceoffs (78 percent) and was named Faceoff Specialist of the Year in the region in Division I for the third consecutive season as well as first-team all-league and second-team all-state, while Van Voorhis had 44 goals and 18 assists and was first-team all-region, second-team all-league and honorable mention all-state.
"We've been playing together since fifth, sixth grade. We wanted to go out there and do something together," Van Voorhis said. "We thought we could do it this year. We all played together for so long, we know what we're doing. We've all put in our time and we had a lot of people returning and a lot of skill. Everybody was pretty pumped for what we all thought we could do."
For his career, Blevins won a program-record 799 of 1,100 faceoffs (72.7 percent) and had 16 goals and 13 assists.
"We'll never have another faceoff guy like Jake Blevins," Beasley said. "I don't know if the state will ever see another faceoff guy like Jake Blevins."
Blevins said he developed a love for the position in seventh grade.
"I was bouncing around from position to position through (youth) lacrosse as many players do," Blevins said. "Once I saw I could find my way onto the field by doing faceoffs, I realized that if I want to play, I'm going to have to set myself apart. The faceoff position when I first started was my ticket to get onto the field. It's really like a chess match going up against another guy."
Van Voorhis finished his career with 110 goals and 56 assists.
"We had very high goals for Alex this season," Beasley said. "You can't predict what he would have done, but he was playing his best lacrosse that I've ever seen. He was playing at an extremely high level."
Blevins and Van Voorhis both will play at the Division I college level. Van Voorhis is a Cleveland State recruit and Blevins has committed to High Point in North Carolina.
"I'm blessed enough that I get to have another four years of lacrosse, but what I'm really feeling is that I've formed such a bond with this group of seniors that we have," Blevins said. "It's a pretty large class. It wasn't just a four-year journey. We've had the similar roster since (Weaver) middle school. We formed a tight-knit group. It's sad to think about that."
Four other seniors also have committed to play in college. Jackson Carter (midfielder) will play at Aurora, Adam Gilligan (midfielder/defender) will play at Catawba, Chase Williams (defender) will play at Walsh and Andrew Woollard (defender) will play at Kenyon.