The Cleveland Heights High School girls lacrosse team struggled at the start of the season, posting a 2-4 record.
The team’s early setbacks weren’t all that surprising considering that it was breaking in seven new starters.
But how the young Tigers used those disappointments – and each of their losses – as learning experiences to help them finish the regular season strong and go on a postseason run that has earned them a spot in this weekend’s Ohio Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association Division I state tournament wasn’t quite as predictable.
“Those losses have simply been steps toward a final goal,” Cleveland Heights head coach Terry Saylor said. “For this team, it’s been [about] how we end, not how we began.”
The final chapter the Tigers (11-6-1) are writing to the season is helping them forget the struggles they endured in March and April.
“Inexperience created early struggles, but that now seems like a long time ago,” Saylor said.
Cleveland Heights will play Upper Arlington in a semifinal contest at Mason High School tonight. The winner will play either Medina or Sycamore in the state championship game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
WKYC’s HighSchoolSports.net: What are three adjectives that describe your team and/or its play this season?
Cleveland Heights girls lacrosse coach Terry Saylor: Centered, patient and confident.
WKYC: What has been your team’s greatest strength this season?
Saylor: The great leadership displayed by those returning players in staying patient, remaining positive and offering great support and direction [to] those players who lacked experience but showed great potential.
WKYC: What has been the high point of your team’s season thus far?
Saylor: Earning a spot in the Division I Final Four is always a goal, but never easily achieved. Doing so is a nice accomplishment.
WKYC: Who are your team’s leaders? What do they bring to the team?
Saylor: Our seniors Margeaux Apple, Ellie Austin and Meg Lentz have been able to keep this group grounded and focused.
WKYC: Who is your team’s unsung hero(s)? Why?
Saylor: No one is unsung; everyone is vital to success.
WKYC: What must happen for your team to continue its deep postseason run?
Saylor: Win the draw, limit turnovers and play solid defense.
WKYC: Is there anything else you’d like to add about your team and/or its season?
Saylor: The season seems everlasting; I’m glad that it [has] been extended. I’ll miss it when it concludes.
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