Girls Lacrosse: Hilliard Darby Panthers return to field with experienced roster

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Darby’s Carley House scoops up the ball in a scrimmage at Worthington Kilbourne on March 16. House, a junior attacker, is one of numerous key returnees for the Panthers, whose roster includes 13 seniors.

After the Hilliard Darby girls lacrosse team rallied to beat Watterson 15-14 in its opener March 19, coach Kaleb Secor reflected on his players’ opportunity to return to the field. 

The Panthers, who finished 11-7-1 in 2019, missed out on last season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

“It was a surreal moment just to realize that we’re actually going to get to play, and it did happen and we did play a game,” said Secor, who is in his third season. “Everybody was extra thankful.” 

Darby trailed most of the game before tying the contest at 14 on a goal by senior attacker/midfielder Haylee Handrahan with 29 seconds remaining, then pulled out the victory when senior attacker Lexi Lednik scored 18 seconds later. 

The Panthers improved to 2-0 with a 15-1 win over Buckeye Valley on March 23. 

“We’re really excited,” Secor said. “We have 13 seniors on our varsity team. We have two sophomores who start for us, but they both have had extensive club experience and are really solid players. They’re very confident in their game.” 

Those sophomores are midfielders Abberly Dela Rosa and Karissa Allbright, and they are joined in the starting lineup by senior goalie Logan Card. 

“Logan has put in a lot of work in the offseason and I’m excited to see what she can do,” Secor said. 

Other key returnees include seniors Kelsey Binion (attacker), Haley Clifton (attacker), Cate Gearhiser (defender), Sophia Iosue (midfielder), Kendyl Mahoney (defender) and Caroline Turner (defender) and junior Carley House (attacker). 

Darby is competing in the OCC-Cardinal Division with Dublin Jerome, Marysville, Olentangy, Olentangy Berlin and Thomas Worthington. It opens league play April 6 at Jerome. 

“Jerome and Thomas are the teams that are consistently putting out good teams,” Secor said. 

INSIDE THE PANTHERS 

Coach: Kaleb Secor, third season 

Next game: April 6 at Jerome 

Key athletes: Kelsey Binion, Logan Card, Haylee Handrahan, Lexi Lednik and Caroline Turner 

Senior midfielder Sadie Davis is one of the key returnees for Davidson and seventh-year coach Chad Smock.

Wildcats hope to 

make progress

Seventh-year Davidson coach Chad Smock hopes his team can progress throughout the season. 

The Wildcats opened by losing 14-4 to Gahanna on March 20 and 14-7 to Bexley on March 23. 

“We’re just trying to get our legs underneath us,” Smock said. “Twelve of my 22 girls have never played a high school game of lacrosse before this year. We’re so inexperienced, but they’ve been awesome. They’re like little sponges. They’re so excited to be playing a sport after the year that they had. ... This has been a really fun season to coach so far.” 

Davidson is looking to improve on a 5-11 record in 2019. 

“It’s unbelievably great to be back on the field,” Smock said. “It’s been amazing to think it was two years since we had an actual game. I tell them before every game that you have to play like it’s the last game of the season, because it might be. You never know. The girls are just playing their hearts out and enjoying each other as best as they can.” 

Key returnees are seniors Avery Arkwright (midfielder), Leah Craft (midfielder), Sadie Davis (midfielder), Julia Detterman (attacker), Ainsley Guthrie (attacker) and Mattie Musser (midfielder). 

Seniors Savannah Brumfield and Ally Rahe will split time in goal for Davidson, which is competing in the OCC-Central with Bradley, Dublin Coffman, Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange and Upper Arlington. 

It opens league play April 6 at Coffman. 

INSIDE THE WILDCATS 

Coach: Chad Smock, seventh season 

Next game: April 6 at Coffman 

Key athletes: Avery Arkwright, Leah Craft, Sadie Davis and Mattie Musser 

—Frank DiRenna

Jaguars coach wants

players to enjoy game

First-year Bradley coach Faith Meads is fresh from playing college lacrosse and wants to share her passion for the game with her players.

The Jaguars finished 0-18 in 2019. This season, they lost their first two games — 18-1 to Pickerington Central on March 19 and 19-7 to Big Walnut on March 23 — but the 2020 Wittenberg graduate said her players need to “celebrate little victories.”

“I tell the girls when they get down during games that they still did a lot of things right,” Meads said. “I tell them that they have nothing to lose, and we can only go up from here.

“I love lacrosse, and I want them to enjoy the sport. (Against Big Walnut), we had 15 ground-balls and we forced turnovers. We did good things. We’ll celebrate little victories and build from the ground up.”

Meads said Bradley’s scoring threats include seniors Reyann Askar (attacker/midfielder), Rylee Mason (attacker) and Alison Rasor (midfielder), juniors Alyssa Burnside (midfielder) and Alex Nilsen (midfielder) and freshman Isabella De La Cerda (midfielder). 

Sophomores Katelyn Kuhn and Delaney Warner also play in the midfield, while the defense will feature seniors Caitlyn Conklin and Natalie Green and junior Gabby Soto-Freytes. Green also backs up junior goalie Jordan Hires.

“I think they work well together and hold each other accountable,” said Meads, a Gahanna graduate who is an intervention specialist at Norwich Elementary. “It’s tough to lose game after game and not come to practice sulking or in a bad mood. They haven’t been that way. They like the game of lacrosse and support each other from whistle to whistle.”

INSIDE THE JAGUARS

Coach: Faith Meads, first season 

Next game: April 1 vs. Bexley

Key athletes: Reyann Askar, Alyssa Burnside, Caitlyn Conklin, Natalie Green, Jordan Hires, Rylee Mason and Alison Rasor

—Scott Hennen

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