Big Walnut Roundup: Injuries wreak havoc on Golden Eagles boys lacrosse team

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Coach Zeid Rawahneh is preparing the Big Walnut boys lacrosse team for the Division II postseason. “We’ve been struggling,” he said. “Just when it seems like we’d be getting healthy, we’d get another injury.”

The Big Walnut boys lacrosse team hopes to be at full strength for the postseason after injuries and illness disrupted its offensive attack.

Three of the Golden Eagles’ top scorers have missed a combined six games in recent weeks, coach Zeid Rawahneh said.

“We’ve been struggling,” he said. “Just when it seems like we’d be getting healthy, we’d get another injury. We had a stretch where we had seven games in a matter of two weeks, and that’s kind of when our injuries were hitting.”

Big Walnut was 5-9 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Westerville South on May 4.

The Division II, Region 7 drawing is May 9, with postseason play beginning May 15. In 2019, the Golden Eagles won a postseason contest before finishing 12-8.

“Hopefully, we’re going to be getting some of these guys back soon so we can finish out the year strong,” Rawahneh said.

Junior attacker Ashton Baker was leading the offense through 14 games with 28 goals and nine assists.

Junior attackers Luke Chiles (25 goals, 15 assists) and Braden Andreini (17 goals, 10 assists) and senior midfielder Gordon Rond (12 goals, 9 assists) have returned to the starting lineup.

However, senior defender Braden Keck and senior midfielder and defender Alex Ferguson, who Rawahneh said is “one of the best face-off guys around,” remain sidelined with injuries.

Big Walnut also has faced many Division I opponents with key contributors missing.

“We’ve played some tough opponents this year, and hopefully as we get guys back into the lineup that will help us once we get into regional (tournament) play,” Rawahneh said.

Boys tennis team 

preps for sectional

Throughout the regular season, boys tennis coach Ryan Balaz has taken his time in settling on a lineup for the postseason.

“We’re now looking to get some consistency heading into the postseason,” said Balaz, whose team was 9-5 overall before playing Grove City on May 5. “We had some success (recently) winning three out of four matches with this lineup.”

The Golden Eagles will compete in the first of two Division I sectionals at Reynoldsburg, held May 11 and 15. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 20 and 22 at Reynoldsburg.

The first-doubles team of junior Andrew Grubb and senior Isaiah Lott was 10-2 before May 5 and earned the second seed at sectional.

Also expected to compete are sophomore Evan Fisher at first singles and senior Brayden Buchs at second singles. Junior Andrew Grubb and freshman Jeevan Conduru have been sharing time at third singles and at second doubles with senior Charlie Jaeger.

Balaz said Fisher has “gotten a lot better in his role as the season’s gone on.”

Big Walnut finished 4-3 in the OCC-Capital with a 5-0 victory over Canal Winchester on April 27.

Softball squad 

set for postseason

The softball team opens the Division I district tournament May 10 at 24th-seeded Dublin Coffman.

The winner plays a second-round game May 12 at eighth-seeded Westerville Central.

Big Walnut is seeded 34th of 46 teams.

The Golden Eagles were 7-12 overall and 6-6 in the OCC-Capital before playing Dublin Scioto on May 5.

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