Duncan MacDonald proved his leadership and backed it up with his intelligence during the Upper Arlington boys lacrosse team's thrice-weekly Zoom meetings this spring.

Occasionally, coach Kyle Olson had to reign in the senior co-captain.

"At one point, I had to tell Duncan to stop answering the questions," Olson said, laughing. "He was so quick and on everything because of his lacrosse IQ. He is one of those kids you want other kids to see having that kind of success."

MacDonald was listed as a midfielder but expected to fill additional roles this season for the Golden Bears, who, before the season was initially postponed and later canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, were faced with a second consecutive year of debuting with a largely unproven roster.

MacDonald was one of a handful of returnees for UA, which went 17-6 overall in 2019 and lost to Cincinnati St. Xavier 9-8 in overtime in a Division I state semifinal.

MacDonald also expected to be more of an offensive threat than in his previous two varsity seasons, in which he had scored a combined eight goals, although his midfield role primarily involved defense. He was the Bears' top defensive midfielder a year ago, according to Olson, excelling primarily in winning ground balls and occasional faceoffs.

"I had to learn as much (about the offense) as the next guy considering it was pretty much a new team coming in," MacDonald said.

"I already knew the offense somewhat, but I had to get used to running it. I am not the biggest offensive threat, but a lot of guys coming from (junior varsity) didn't know half of what we were doing up here. But I think things would have worked out."

MacDonald scored three goals as a sophomore and five last year but had a strong summer in regional and national tournaments on both ends of the field, including at the National High School Lacrosse Showcase in Columbia, Maryland.

"He was going to be one of the leaders and main reasons for our success," Olson said. "What separated him was his ability to excel at both (offense and defense). There wasn't one position I wouldn't put him in.

"You get a kid that can pay excellent defense, can get ground balls, win faceoffs and can score goals, and not just score goals but help the offense work, that's special."

Junior Shea Keethler eventually took over faceoff responsibilities, allowing MacDonald to concentrate in other areas of the field.

Other returnees for UA included seniors Garrett Jepson (goalkeeper), Will Lawless (midfielder) and David Robbins (defender) and juniors Marco Landolfi (midfielder) and Mac Scholl (goalie).

UA lost 33 players to graduation the previous two seasons combined, including 17 in 2019.

MacDonald had 13 goals and 17 assists this past winter to help UA's hockey team to its best season ever, as the Bears went 36-1-1 and were ranked as high as second in the state before losing to New Albany 3-2 in a district semifinal.

MacDonald set a personal goal of scoring at least 10 goals this season, but said he hoped to lead a team in perhaps a less heralded stat -- ground balls.

"That's kind of a less popular stat, but the older guys I watched play and lead in that, I wanted to do the same thing, especially if we're not throwing and catching. That's key," MacDonald said. "I didn't really know what to expect scoring-wise considering I didn't know how much offense I was going to be able to play."

MacDonald received attention from Division II and III schools for lacrosse but ultimately decided to attend Ohio State, where he hopes to play club lacrosse or hockey.

"I definitely want to stay around the game," he said. "I'd miss it otherwise."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave