New Albany Roundup: High expectations don't faze Eagles girls lacrosse team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Junior attacker Katie Kaucheck is one of the top returnees for New Albany, which has set high goals for this season. "Every day we step on this field is one day closer of reaching our goal of getting back to the state championship," coach Elaina Enich said.

If the New Albany girls lacrosse team had any jitters entering its first game since the 2019 Division I state final, senior attacker Jillian Bingman’s goal 53 seconds into the opener March 19 at home against 2019 Division II state champion DeSales helped set the tone in a 9-3 win.

A sound performance at both ends of the field, including several impressive saves from junior goalie Aubrey Bagenstose, was exactly what first-year coach Elaina Enich asked for.

“It’s not what we were hoping to see, it’s what we were expecting to see,” Enich said. “We know these girls. We’re excited about this team. …

“From the defense to the offense, we’re a very balanced team. With the girls coming in and communicating and helping each other out if there’s a weakness, we’re balanced. Our midfield and transition are pretty strong as well.”

Bagenstose and Bingman are among several returnees from two years ago, a group that also includes seniors Alison Dressel (midfielder) and Bridget Driscoll (midfielder) and juniors Mimi Economus (defender), Catherine Gurd (defender), Katie Kaucheck (attacker), Mary Carson (midfielder) and Meghan Kallner (defender). 

Several underclassmen earned starting spots or varsity time to start the season, including sophomores Cassidy Clapham (attacker), Abigail Cole (midfielder) and Natalie Weaver (defender) and freshmen Ellie McClelland (attacker) and Maddy Paz (midfielder).

Enich, the first two-time All-American in program history, was named coach in September 2019. She was a starting attacker on the 2013 Division II state championship team, went on to play at Cincinnati and was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 2018 and 2019.

“The program has expectations that just come with wearing the name ‘New Albany,’ ” Enich said. “They know what is expected of them every year. Every day we step on this field is one day closer of reaching our goal of getting back to the state championship. We are still trending in the right direction. The girls know that.”

GIRLS LACROSSE

Coach: Elaina Enich, first season

Next game: April 5, home vs. Columbus School for Girls

Key athletes: Aubrey Bagenstose, Jillian Bingman, Mary Carson, Bridget Driscoll and Katie Kaucheck

Boys team embraces

approach, mentality

Boys lacrosse coach Danny Gibson sees a few characteristics in his team that might be associated with another team that plays at Eagles Stadium.

“They have that ‘run through the line’ mentality. Everybody is getting after it,” Gibson said, referring to a hard-nosed, football-like approach. “We’re still coming into our own identity as a hard-working, gritty team that likes to muck it up a little bit. We have a smart team (but) a raw team. We have a massive junior class that should develop well, so we’re coming into our own but finding our footing. We’ll push the pace and make other teams make decisions. Sometimes we’ll pay for that and other times, it will go our way.”

Only three players return from 2019 in seniors Max Dupler (attacker), Grayson Passias (attacker/midfielder) and Brayden Wong (attacker). Dupler, who also was a goalie on the hockey team the past two seasons and helped it win the program’s first district championship in 2020, had 25 goals and 15 assists as a sophomore.

“When we’re really on it, our stick skills are hard to beat. We have fast ball movement and we take good shots,” Passias said. “It’s about finding our rhythm again. The more we play together, the better we’re getting. We’re getting to know our other players.”

Juniors Henry Briggs, Matthew Doran and Cade Leggio will help anchor the defense in front of goalies Ian Epstein and Ben Goodman. Briggs, a junior, also is a long-stick midfielder.

Epstein, a sophomore, is expected to be the primary starter. Goodman, a junior, will switch between goalie and attacker.

Junior Jack Vannoy and sophomore Zach Siegfried are the Eagles’ faceoff specialists.

Other expected contributors include junior Alex Chattos (defender) and sophomore Jacob Jose (attacker).

BOYS LACROSSE

Coach: Danny Gibson, third season

Next game: April 6, home vs. Newark

Key athletes: Matthew Doran, Max Dupler, Ian Epstein, Grayson Passias and Brayden Wong 

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave