Notebook: Bexley Lions boys lacrosse team inches toward record season

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Bennett Bartz has been one of the top scorers for the Bexley boys lacrosse team, which is trying to surpass the program record of nine wins set in 2011. The Lions were 7-4 before playing Buckeye Valley on May 6.

The Bexley boys lacrosse team dealt with an early exposure to COVID-19 but still is working toward a record season.

The Lions were 7-4 before playing Buckeye Valley on May 6. They last had seven victories in 2017, when they finished 7-9. They also were 7-10 in both 2012 and 2013 and went 8-9 in 2016.

Bexley has been competing since 2007 and the program’s only winning record was in 2011 when the Lions finished 9-7.

“It’s been a while since we won this many (seven) games,” first-year coach Mike Bassani said. “We had the issue with COVID, but I don’t think that slowed us down. I think the kids are used to the on-again, off-again nature of sports this school year.

“When (the exposure to COVID-19) happens, it comes upon you very quickly. Then you wait and wait and wait until you can get back at it. These guys were ready.”

Bassani points to his defense — which features juniors Elliot Goldman and Kaelen Mathews and sophomores Bennett Bloebaum and Max Esque along with senior goalie Tyler Owens-Terwilliger — as one of the key components to the team’s success. 

“We’re good at the defensive end, but we’re also young,” Bassani said. “It all starts in goal with Tyler, who has a 63.0 save percentage, which is very good.

“We ask Elliot to do a lot for us. He faces off for us, he’s a long-pole midfielder and takes on the other team’s best player. He does so much.”

Senior midfielder Matt Cohn led the offensive attack through 10 games with 14 goals and nine assists. Other top scorers were junior midfielder Bennett Bartz (16 goals, 5 assists) and sophomore attackers Seth Rosenberg (10 goals, 2 assists) and Tate Stark (8 goals, 2 assists).

“We’re excited for the postseason, sitting at 7-4 (before May 6),” Bassani said. “We’re in the home stretch of the regular season, and we’re looking to finish strong. I think we’ll surprise people.”

•The Bexley boys tennis team finished 5-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division to earn a share of its first league championship since 2012.

The Lions tied with Wellington for the title, and Columbus Academy was 4-1 before playing Worthington Christian on May 7. It is the program’s first since first-year coach Will Gingery’s junior year at Bexley.

“The kids really have bought into working together as a team,” said Gingery, whose team was 12-4 overall before playing Dublin Jerome on May 5. “Will Meyer is at second singles and he feeds off the energy of Stefan Schiff at first singles and Austin Flamm at third singles. They really feed off the atmosphere.”

The Lions played Wellington on May 10 in a Division II district semifinal in the OTCA team tournament. The winner advanced to play Academy or West Jefferson on a date to be determined, with the winner qualifying for state May 30 at Reynoldsburg.

Meyer and Schiff teamed up to play doubles in the Division II sectional, which began May 11 and concludes May 15 at Academy. They were the top-seeded doubles team, and teammates Flamm and Mitchell Giller were seeded second.

In singles were second-seeded Blake Simons, fourth-seeded Drew Solar and Duncan Johnson.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 20 and 22 at Academy.

•Reece Yakubov is the top seed for the St. Charles tennis team in a Division I sectional May 13 and 15 at Hilliard Bradley.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 20 and 22 at Reynoldsburg.

Two years ago, Yakubov won sectional and district championships and lost in a state quarterfinal.

Brady Pema and Victor Roscoe also are playing singles for the Cardinals, while the doubles teams are Daniel Ferguson and Daniel Marino and Keller Bueneman and Andy Somodi.

The Cardinals were 5-4 overall before playing Olentangy on May 5 and 2-0 in the CCL before facing Watterson on May 7. They defeated Ready 5-0 on April 13 and Hartley 5-0 on April 20 in league action.

Austin Grzybicki had 30 goals and eight assists through 15 games for St. Charles. The Cardinals were 14-4 after going 3-0 in the Packer Classic on April 30 and May 1 at Cincinnati Princeton.

•The St. Charles water polo team went 3-0 in the Packer Classic on April 30 and May 1 at Cincinnati Princeton.

The Cardinals defeated Cincinnati Sycamore 20-9, Thomas Worthington 20-4 and Upper Arlington 12-10 to improve to 14-4. Goalie Chase Bateman totaled 17 blocks and six steals against UA.

It was the fifth time the teams had played, with the Golden Bears winning three times.

“It’s always a great game when we play UA,” coach Andrew Hoffman said. “When we play in the postseason, it’s going to come down whoever puts in the most work in the next few weeks.”

Through 15 games, Will Elsrod had 32 goals and 27 assists to lead St. Charles, and Austin Grzybicki had 30 goals and eight assists. Defensively, Grzybicki and Donnie Richardson both had 29 steals.

“You can tell each weekend that we’ve played that we’ve gotten better and better,” Hoffman said. “We’re so pleased with the progress.”

The postseason begins May 15 with a regional at UA. The top two teams advance to state May 22 at Princeton.

•Jameson Pillifant won two individual events and was a member of two winning relays as the Columbus School for Girls track and field team finished second May 1 in the 12-team Mount Gilead Invitational.

Pillifant won the 200 meters (28.94 seconds) and long jump (14 feet, 11 3/4 inches) as the Unicorns scored 105 points to finish three points behind Mount Gilead. She also was on the first-place 400 relay (53.5) with Kayden Edwards, Nyah Funderburke and Emma Spangler and the winning 3,200 relay (10:18.83) with Carly Priest, Lauren Sloan and Fabi Corso.

Edwards won the 100 hurdles (17.89) and was on the first-place 1,600 relay (4:18.17) with Priest, Funderburke and Corso, and Funderburke was runner-up in the 100 (13.99).

The MSL-Ohio meet began May 11 and concludes May 14 at Whitehall.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen