Sycamore High School’s boys lacrosse teams played some late March games against Springboro and Oak Hills, then benefited from a spring break team-bonding trip to Georgia.
In Savannah, they came across the Benedictine Military School team and won in 81-degree weather, 12-9 on March 31.
“Their guys were like 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds,” Sycamore coach Greg Cole said. “Their football team had won a state championship. They were a good team; No. 1 in the region. It was like Moeller, but the size of Mariemont. We pumped in some transition goals then slowed the game down.”
Sycamore tried to get some other games around Columbia, Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina but wasn’t successful. He’d like to make the trip again and play two or three times. However, the main focus of the trip was to develop chemistry. When not practicing their stickwork, the Aves were able to take part in a military obstacle course, beach lacrosse and some embarrassing bus karaoke challenges.
Cole’s squad is led by senior attack Tyler Hegyeshi and junior defender Tommy Barnhorst. Hegyeshi is averaging multiple goals per game and started off the season by rattling the cage for eight goals against Springboro March 23.
“He’s a captain on the field who just directs the offense and understands how to change the temp when it needs to be changed,” Cole said.
Barnhorst is verbally committed to play at Jacksonville University in Florida.
“Athletically, he’s a head above the rest,” Cole said. “We’re looking for him to have better decision-making in transition down the field. As a freshman and sophomore, he felt he had to make everybody miss. Now, we’re really teaching him how to distribute the ball and dump it down to one of our attackers.”
Hegyeshi has a grade point average of well over 4.0 and will not officially play for a college team. His scholastic offers include the University of Southern California and Indiana. Cole believes he’ll go on to play club lacrosse.
A multi-sport advocate, the Aves feature senior Philip Silverman from the football team along with sophomore goalie and football center Evan Schuster. Junior goalie Jason Beaudry from the hockey team is also vying for playing time. Barnhorst, who gave up football for lacrosse, may be mulling a return to the gridiron in fall.
Other players Sycamore will be counting on are junior attackman Andrew Cardenas and Nick Cliver, junior midfielder Michael Sorger and sophomore face-off Blake Petzelt.
The Aves were 10-8 a year ago and will again play some of the better teams around. Outside of the spring break trip down south, Sycamore’s opponents are in this region.
“There’s so many games on the schedule that you could call 50-50 games,” Cole said. “You could flip a coin beforehand to figure out who’s going to win. We just don’t feel like we need to leave (the area) anymore. It’s a long trip to go up to Columbus. These guys are students so we try to make it a little easier on them.”
Upcoming games for Sycamore are all on the road. The Aves are at Mariemont April 15 and Indian Hill April 17.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy features nine freshmen on the 25-man roster. Coach Jason Copestick said the younger guys are plenty talented, they just need to develop.
The Eagles return a strong trio on defense led by Payne Vanderwoude, Johan James and Mitch Kennedy.
Vanderwoude and James are both seniors.
“We’ll have our ups and downs, but I think we’ll see dramatic improvements from last year,” Copestick said.
On the attack, CHCA returns Josh and Jacob Eckert and Justin Stagnaro.
Copestick said the middle of the field is where the team is at its youngest, but added that the lines are coming together.
CHCA plays 6 p.m. April 15 at Cincinnati Country Day.
Second-year Moeller High School lacrosse coach Sean McGinnis led the Crusaders to a 10-10 mark in his first campaign and second-place in the Greater Catholic League-South. An 8-7 overtime tournament loss to yearly GCL nemesis St. Xavier kept Moeller from a winning 2014.
McGinnis and Moeller will fire back with 11 returning starters from last year’s team. The defense features seniors Jack Toomb, Grant Clark, Noah Flynn and goalie Mitch Nietupski. At midfield are seniors Jacob Rogan, Grady Quinn, Nick Cinquinna, Eric Reynolds and Ethan Cook. On attack are senior Matt Gates and sophomore Cory Lockwood.
Toomb was an all-region defender last year and all-Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association who has committed to play at Robert Morris. Clark was also all-region and has committed to Siena College. Sophomore Lockwood is also on the radar of Division I programs and several juniors and sophomores are getting looks from colleges at various levels.
“Our strength will be our defense,” McGinnis said. “We’ll be able to be physical and dictate play on that side of the field. On offense, we’ll be young at the attack, but skilled and seasoned at midfield. It’s nice to know we’ll have plenty of legitimate scoring threats this year and not have to rely on a few players to score like last year.”
Much like most sports at Moeller, the schedule is aggressive. The Crusaders have already split with Louisville Trinity and Louisville St. Xavier. They also face teams from Indiana and Pennsylvania as well as three Columbus-area schools. Next on the agenda is the St. Xavier Bombers April 15.
The Crusaders have already defeated Seven Hills (14-3 on April 1) and will play Mariemont April 22, Elder May 6, Indian Hill May 11, Loveland May 13 and Lakota West May 16.
On May 9, Moeller will honor legendary coach Tom Kennedy, who passed away from Parkinson’s Disease in January, with a Play For TK Day. The plan is to raise money for a memory scholarship to honor his legacy. The Crusaders face Columbus DeSales at 3 p.m.
“Moeller football has Gerry Faust; we have Tom Kennedy,” McGinnis said.
It was a good 2014 for lacrosse at Indian Hill High School as the girls were Division II runners-up and the boys made the regional finals under coach Tim McKay, falling to eventual Division II champions Mariemont.
The Braves had several victories over Division I opponents last season including Elder, Lakota East, Lakota West and Dublin Coffman. Three starters return from that 11-6 squad.
This spring, McKay will look for leadership from senior attackman Austin Schneider, senior face-off midfielder Samuel Markiewitz, senior defenseman Mitch Trout, junior goalie Cam McMillan and sophomore midfielder Owen Taylor. The Braves coach likes his team’s attitude and coachability.
Junior captain Cam McMillan mans the net now that Matt Young has graduated and is at Division II Florida Tech. Assisting Trout on defense will be juniors Grant Gottdiner, Jake Young and Kai Noahr along with sophomore Devin Heffernan.
At midfield, senior captain Markiewitz had 102 ground balls in 2014. Sophomore Taylor leads the midfielders along with juniors Otto Ackerman, Chuck Long and senior captain James Pflughaupt.
Offensively, Schneider had 15 goals and 29 assists last year. He’ll be joined on attack by juniors Davis McCoskey and Phillip Farist.
“This is a young team with only four seniors,” McKay said. “The junior class is very strong, as is the freshman class. The freshmen were part of last year’s Ohio Middle School championship team and come in used to playing at a high level. Several will contribute at the varsity level very quickly.”
After traveling to Elder April 15, the Braves return home to host Sycamore April 17 and Columbus St. Charles April 18.
“This team has a very tough schedule, playing 11 Division I teams and the cream of the crop in Ohio Division II Southwest,” McKay said.
Players to watch
Jack Toomb, senior, Moeller: All-Region defender, All-Region MSLCA. Committed to Robert Morris.
Grant Clark, senior, Moeller: All-Region defender committed to Siena.
Austin Schneider, senior, Indian Hill: 15 goals and 29 assists last season.
Samuel Markiewitz, senior, Indian Hill: 66 percent and 102 ground balls as face-off midfielder
Tommy Barnhorst, junior, Sycamore: Junior defender verbally committed to Jacksonville University.
Tyler Hegyeshi, senior, Sycamore: Senior attack who had an eight-goal game already this season.
Josh and Jacob Eckert and Justin Stagnaro, CHCA: All three are returning attackers for the Eagles.