Girls Lacrosse: Young Olentangy Braves expect midfielders to set tone

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Junior Grace Maddox is one of the top midfielders for Olentangy and first-year coach Keith Poss. The Braves return to action April 5 at Thomas Worthington.

As first-year Olentangy girls lacrosse coach Keith Poss continues to learn about his players, he expects his midfielders to lead the Braves to start the season.

Junior Grace Maddox and sophomores Sydney Nickel and Reagan Richeson will anchor the middle for the Braves, who also started the season with sophomore Kyndall Caffey in goal.

Olentangy went 15-6-1 in 2019, losing to eventual state runner-up New Albany 21-7 in the Division I, Region 1 final.

“Our greatest strengths will be at middie with their scoring and draw control capabilities. We have a nice blend of talent at attack and our defense is very young and athletic and should only get better as the season progresses as they gain more experience,” Poss said. “I feel confident about our starting goalie and the depth behind her. … (I would like to see more) consistency with our stick skills. I think some of the inconsistencies can be attributed to the lost season last year.”

Poss coached the Liberty Middle School girls team for the past four years. He was hired in mid-December to succeed Amy McCormick, who went 51-31-1 from 2016-19.

Seniors Macy Lorz and Maddie Richeson and junior Megan Miller are expected to pace the attack. Junior Eliza Foreman and sophomores Alyse Playko, Natalie Rudawsky and Ebony Wyse comprise the defense.

“We have a very young team, many of whom lack experience or much experience at the varsity level,” Poss said. “In some ways, our sophomores are still like freshmen, especially if they did not play club this past summer and fall.”

INSIDE THE BRAVES

Coach: Keith Poss, first season

Next game: April 5, at Thomas Worthington

Key athletes: Kyndall Caffey, Grace Maddox, Megan Miller, Sydney Nickel and Reagan Richeson

Sophomore Makenna Harrington is expected to lead the midfielders for Liberty. The Patriots return to action April 7 at home against Hilliard Bradley.

Patriots expecting 

to be competitive 

In Tim Bosco’s first season as coach in 2019, Liberty continued the success it had been enjoying during the previous three years under Nicole Stines by going 13-6 overall and placing second in the OCC-Buckeye Division at 6-1. 

The Patriots were expecting to build on that finish with a large senior class last spring before the season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Defense should be a strength with the return of senior Kelsey Eckhert and junior Ava Guagenti, who were among Liberty’s top players at that position two seasons ago. 

“I think we can compete for a lot this year,” Bosco said. “We played two pretty good teams (in Upper Arlington and DeSales in scrimmages) and I’m feeling good. My sophomores and juniors right now are unbelievable and Kelsey Eckhert and Ava Guagenti are returning defensive starters, but everybody else is pretty much new.” 

Sophomore Makenna Harrington should lead the way at midfielder, where the Patriots also feature junior Meghan Haddow. Others at the position include juniors Ellie Hoying and Katelyn McDonnell, sophomore Ryen Reusser and freshman Isabelle Pohmer. 

Senior Quin McGee and sophomores Syd Frantz and Lexi Bird lead an attack unit that also includes seniors Alissa Alexander and Amira El Masri and juniors Peyton Masters, Mallory Rivard and Gio Spallino. 

Joining Eckhert at defender are seniors Kylee Arvidson and Ryann Joseph and juniors Lauren Belt, Riley Cahill, Maci Picolo, Sophie Shear and Sid Struck. 

Junior Lilianna Aguirre and freshman Alayna Bogner are the goalies. 

Liberty has moved to the OCC-Central, where four-time defending state champion Upper Arlington will be among the opponents. 

INSIDE THE PATRIOTS

Coach: Tim Bosco, second season 

Next game: April 7, home vs. Hilliard Bradley 

Key athletes: Lexi Bird, Kelsey Eckhert, Syd Frantz, Ava Guagenti, Meghan Haddow, Makenna Harrington and Quin McGee 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

Harrington learning

about Pioneers

First-year Orange coach Mike Harrington has not coached at the prep level before, but he has been a mainstay in the local youth program for years.

The Pioneers started 0-2, losing to Hartley 20-9 on March 20 and Watterson 19-9 on March 23.

“This being our first year with these girls, we’re getting to know them,” Harrington said. “We need to work on finishing. We had a lot of good shots in the game against Hartley, but they just are not going to the back of the net. We also need to work on communication on defense.”

Senior attacker Jenna Durst had 16 goals in 2019 when the Pioneers finished 2-14. Junior midfielder Ellie Beck scored six goals, and junior midfielder Emma-Cait Cogan added four.

Senior attacker Raneem Ali and junior midfielder Sophia Meek also are top scoring threats for Orange.

“All our midfielders are multifaceted and we can mix and match them,” Harrington said. “Some play good defensively, some on the draw and some on the attack. We have several good midfielders.”

Senior Gabby McAninch and juniors Jossell Bakheet, Aubrey Timmons and Olivia Upchurch are top defenders in front of senior goalie Abigail Struntz.

“We have 35 girls in the program, so we don’t have a lot of subs on j.v.,” Harrington said. “We want to grow the program and expand the pipeline.”

INSIDE THE PIONEERS

Coach: Mike Harrington, first season

Next game: April 6, home vs. Upper Arlington

Key athletes: Raneem Ali, Ellie Beck, Jenna Durst, Emma-Cait Cogan, Gabby McAninch, Sophia Meek and Abigail Struntz

—Scott Hennen

Matey excited

to guide Bears

In her first season leading Berlin, Meghan Matey wants to pass on her love of the sport to her players.

Matey played for Ohio State before graduating in 2020.

“The (Berlin) boys coach, Dominique (Alexander), played at Ohio State and he reached out to our coach (Amy Bokker) to see if anyone was interested in coaching and I liked the challenge,” Matey said. “I was excited to continue being around lacrosse and here I can be a role model for the girls.”

Senior midfielder Courtney Suchan returns after being second-team all-league in 2019 when the Bears finished 8-11.

“Courtney is one of our most steady players,” Matey said. “She is consistent on both sides of the ball as a midfielder, she is good on the draw and she has a lot of endurance.”

Senior Grace Bosetti and junior Libby Cuckler are key attackers. Suchan is joined in the midfield by seniors Jenna Brennan and Dacey Redman, with freshman Lily Thompson in the rotation.

Juniors Raaga Chakilam and Halle Schmidt are two of the top defenders, and freshman Caroline Johnston is in goal.

The Bears dropped their first two contests, losing to Watterson 18-7 on March 20 and Liberty 18-1 on March 23.

“We are a younger team and there are some areas we want to work on,” Matey said. “They are fun to coach and they are hard-working.

“Besides the basics, I think we need to work on meshing together and finding out what their roles are. They are improving their lax IQ, but learning to play off each other comes with time.”

INSIDE THE BEARS 

Coach: Meghan Matey, first season 

Next game: April 1, home vs. Columbus School for Girls

Key athletes: Grace Bosetti, Jenna Brennan, Libby Cuckler, Dacey Redman, Halle Schmidt and Courtney Suchan

—Scott Hennen

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports