Field Hockey: Bexley working to rev up offense

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Senior midfielder Eimear McCann and the Bexley field hockey team are looking to improve on last season's 6-9-2 finish.

Coach Kara Whitlatch is looking for some offensive production from her Bexley field hockey team.

The Lions return 10 starters after finishing 6-9-2 overall last fall and seventh (1-5-2) in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division behind champion Columbus Academy (8-0). However, most of those returnees come from the midfield and defense.

"We're trying to figure out who can score goals," said Whitlatch, who is in her 18th season. "Our first day as a team together was Aug. 22 (because of the COVID-19 coronavirus protocols), so we're behind but we're glad to be able to play. It's hard to figure some things out without scrimmages. It felt like our first couple of games were scrimmages.

"Our midfield is strong but our forwards need to jell. We need to find out who works better in each spot (midfield or forward). We haven't had enough reps in practice to work on the timing."

Senior midfielder Phoebe Snowdon (5 goals, 4 assists) and senior defender Audra Fleming (4 goals) were the team's top scorers last year, and junior midfielder Adelaide Zamensky had two goals and three assists.

Junior goalie Sally Sauer missed much of last season with health-related issues and will have an experienced group of defenders in front of her in senior Audra Fleming, junior Lainey Dorrian and sophomore Evie Holzhall.

The midfield includes Snowdon, Zamensky, senior Eimear McCann and sophomores Maddy Krasnow and Bea Meeks, and sophomore Caroline Whitlatch returns at forward.

"I think everything has changed (with the coronavirus) because it's more about making sure we're having fun in every part of practices, whether drills or running," McCann said. "You never know when it could be your last game, your last practice or your last run.

"We need to have a little more communication. We were in pods for so long we only knew those nine people in those pods. It seems alien when the other people are around. That (communication) usually comes earlier in the season."

The Lions won their opener against Dublin Coffman 2-1 on Sept. 2 as freshman forward Frankie Zehnal scored both goals. They followed with a 5-0 loss to Upper Arlington on Sept. 3 before beginning league play with a 3-2 loss to Lancaster on Sept. 10. Senior forward/midfielder Dasi Bandler and Fleming scored against the Golden Gales.

Senior leadership lifting Unicorns

Columbus School for Girls returns nine starters from a team that finished 3-12-2 overall and tied Lancaster for eighth (1-6-1) in the COFHL-East.

That group includes seniors Gabby Anthony (defender), Kayla Badyna-Carpenter (forward), Olivia Barry-Wilson (goalie), Jolien Kusi (defender) and Charlotte Love (defender).

"The girls are really working together, and we have some really good senior leadership," said coach Jessica Schirner, who is in her eighth season. "All five seniors are returning starters, and they're all spread out around the field. They've given us good leadership by showing the younger girls what's going on."

Junior forwards Sarah Lonser and Gia Noel Manokas also started a year ago along with sophomores Jacey Cassandra (midfielder) and C.C. McLarty (defender).

"We've been working on our offense in practice, working on sticks on the ground in the circle and working on corners," Schirner said. "We need to work on finishing. We have trouble with spacing, but we're getting better each game."

The Unicorns lost their first game 2-1 on Aug. 25 to Hilliard and their league opener to Columbus Academy 10-0 on Aug. 27. Barry-Wilson had 26 saves against the Vikings.

"Olivia is in her fourth year in goal, and she's been phenomenal," Schirner said. "Her communication with the defense has been great, and she's such a strong presence in goal."

CSG lost 3-0 to Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 1. Badyna-Carpenter, Cassandra and freshman midfielder Morgan Halpern all scored in a 3-1 win over Dublin Scioto on Sept. 3.

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At a glance

BEXLEY

*Coach: Kara Whitlatch, 18th season

*Top players: Lainey Dorrian, Audra Fleming, Evie Holzhall, Maddy Krasnow, Eimear McCann, Bea Meeks, Sally Sauer, Phoebe Snowdon, Caroline Whitlatch and Adelaide Zamensky

*Key losses: Allison Bernstein, Angelina Coles, Andi Meyer and Tessa Ziegler

*Last season: 6-9-2 overall

*2019 COFHL-East standings: Columbus Academy (8-0), Watterson (7-1), New Albany (6-2), Worthington Kilbourne (5-3), Granville (3-5), Hartley (2-6), Bexley (1-5-2), Columbus School for Girls and Lancaster (both 1-6-1)

*2019 postseason: Lost to Olentangy 2-1 (OT) in first round of district tournament

COLUMBUS SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

*Coach: Jessica Schirner, eighth season

*Top players: Gabby Anthony, Kayla Badyna-Carpenter, Olivia Barry-Wilson, Jolien Kusi, Sarah Lonser, Charlotte Love and Gia Noel Manokas

*Key losses: Maura Donnelly, Amirah Lomax, Grace McNeil and Ellen Monahan

*Last season: 3-12-2 overall

*2019 COFHL-East standings: Academy (8-0), Watterson (7-1), New Albany (6-2), Kilbourne (5-3), Granville (3-5), Hartley (2-6), Bexley (1-5-2), CSG and Lancaster (1-6-1)

*2019 postseason: Lost to Granville 2-0 in second round of district tournament