In her first season as head coach Rebecca Ratterman’s McAuley High School lacrosse team only won one game. It was a rough season, but wins and losses aren’t the only standard by which a season can be judged.
Ratterman said her team grew close last season and their skill level took a leap in the right direction. The Mohawks only graduated one girl and return 11 starters.
McAuley’s experience and closeness as a team should go a long way in helping them improve this season.
“I’m very optimistic for my team,” Ratterman said. “They are all very close with one another. I don’t ever have to worry about anyone being left out or feeling uncomfortable with each other. This shows during games as well, I can see how they trust each other much more this year and work together as a team.”
McAuley has eight senior leaders this year. Returning as starters for the Mohawks are attackmen Jessica Ventura, Eirka Ventura, Maria Koenig and Hannah Steers, who Ratterman said have the ability to score multiple times a game as well as make incredible plays. More returning starters are midfielders Kate Calder, Emma Hudepohl, Bailey Ernst and Emma Pierani. The defensemen returning are Abby Kreimer and Brandy Browning and returning in goal is senior Osmari Novoa.
Calder’s signed to play next season with Wheeling Jesuit, according to Ratterman.
Ratterman pointed out that her midfielders all very aggressive players, “quick to pick up ground balls” and force turnovers while playing the whole field. Ratterman’s defensemen have served as “barriers” to the opponent’s attack, always hard at work causing turnovers and intercepting passes.
“We have a very strong defense, who work together to move as a unit against the other team’s attack,” Ratterman said.
So far, it’s been tough sledding early on for McAuley which has dropped three in a row to start the season, but the Mohawks still have big matches coming up at home against Fenwick April 16, at Milford April 20 and at Walnut Hills on May 1.
Mother of Mercy may have a young lacrosse team this season, but that’s certainly not a problem for fourth-year coach Dave Joerger.
“(I like) our young talent,” said Joerger. “We’re a young team, we have five seniors, eight sophomores and six juniors. It’s a very athletic team, very willing to learn. It’s just about consistency and we knew coming into the season that would be it.”
Last season, the Bobcats finished 7-10 and they have six starters returning from that team.
Back this season for the Bobcats in starting roles are senior defenseman Sara Doren, senior attackman Lyndsi Kohls, junior midfielders Anna Thorner and Maddi Frimming, and junior defensemen Molly Grayson and Jenna Kaiser.
Some new additions that have stepped into bigger roles are junior attackman Savannah Siebenburgen and sophomore midfielders Elizabeth Fladung and Sam Smith.
According to statistics posted on the Girls Greater Catholic League website, Thorner and Siebenburgen are in the top-five in the conference in goals.
“We’re 4-2 right now and we’ve been doing things the right way, but we have lapses,” explained Joerger. “Our juniors, this is their third year of playing lacrosse. Our sophomores are all counted on (to play). The future looks great and this team can do some good things.”
Joerger said his team adopted a motto this season: “Get two millimeters better than you were the day before.”
The Bobcats are building something, and the hope is that when season’s end draws near they’ll be at their best.
Mercy’s early season success saw wins over CHCA, Fenwick, McAuley and Cincinnati Country Day. The Bobcats lost to St. Ursula and Wyoming. Some big contests coming up are at Lakota West April 16, at home against Ursuline April 21 and at Walnut Hills April 23.
Drew Burchett has been the head lacrosse coach at Seton High School for 10 years, as long as the Saints have had a program. After a decade, they’re excited to see what they can accomplish in the next 10.
Last season, Seton finished 9-8 and reached the third round of the postseason before losing to eventual state champion, Worthington Kilbourne, which was the second straight season that’s happened to the Saints.
Seton, a Division II team, is no stranger to tough opponents. The Saints scatter their schedule with Division I opponents, several of which are also in the Girls Greater Catholic League (Mount Notre Dame, St. Ursula, Ursuline).
“We have some very difficult teams, Division I teams in our area, so we play competitive teams throughout (the season),” said Burchett.
This year, they’ll have to deal with another difficult schedule using a young roster led by just four seniors, all proven scorers and the only returning starters this season.
Senior attackman Carly Stagge returns and, Burchett said, she’s led Seton’s varsity team in scoring each of her first three seasons. Senior attackman Haley Sponaugle is another experienced scorer alongside Stagge. Also returning are senior midfielders Sydney Haussler and Hannah Fricke. The importance of leadership can’t be understated, Seton’s four seniors will have to step up after the Saints graduated nine last year.
“I like that we’ve got a lot of young players and people stepping up into new roles that were vacated by seniors last year. I like the vibe and the way the team meshes and works together,” said Burchett.
Some new additions to watch as Seton’s season progresses are junior defender Shannon O’Connor, who Burchett called the Saints’ top defender. Junior midfielders Taylor Frommeyer and Allison Bihl have been promoted into integral spots.
Being a younger team, Seton’s growth will be important. Burchett said that the jump from the eighth grade or junior varsity to varsity is jump that results in a much quicker/intense game.
So far, the Saints dropped their first two of the season against Kings and Summit Country Day. On March 27, Seton chalked one into the win column defeated Toledo St. Ursula 15-5, but on March 31 they ran into Mount Notre Dame and lost 16-8.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
McAuley senior Kate Calder: Signed with Wheeling Jesuit to play next season.
Mercy senior Sara Doren: An experienced defenseman that can impact the game on that end.
McAuley senior Jessica Ventura: An experienced scorer for the Mohawks.
Seton senior Carly Stagge: Has led Seton in scoring in each of the last three seasons.
Mercy junior Anna Thorner: Scored 20 goals in six games this season for the Bobcats.