MEDINA — In Pat O’Brien’s return to the sideline last spring, Medina’s boys lacrosse team won 17 games and advanced to the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association Final Four.
So what will the veteran coach and his Bees do for an encore in 2011?
“We hope we can repeat and go one step further, that’s for sure,” said O’Brien, whose team lost in the Division I semifinals to Worthington Kilbourne.
Despite losing four key players — two of which combined for 118 goals a season ago — Medina returns a host of talent to make another run deep into the postseason.
Without the scoring prowess of Connor McBride and Collin McMannis, the Bees have gained an attack that is as balanced as ever.
“We lost Collin and Connor, a big part of our goal production, and those are big shoes to fill,” O’Brien said. “But we gained more of a midfield look. We’re deep at the middies, which is really rare, but they all have been shooting lights out.”
Led by senior Nate Blue, a Bellarmine University recruit, Medina also has veterans Kevin Schulte and Andrew Willse. All started a season ago in the midfield and have a knack for putting the ball in the back of the net.
Toss in juniors Hogan Harris and Andrew Dorman, sophomore transfer Josh Kuehn from Walsh Jesuit and junior long-stick midfielder Cole Giordan and the Bees will control the pace of the game, which O’Brien thinks is something that can take his team to the next level.
“When you lose the points that we lost, that’s a big void, but our middies stepped up and will have to be contended with,” he said. “The weakness of most teams is your middle defense. If your middies can score, you’re a tough team to contend with.”
Don’t get the Medina coach wrong, though. His team’s attack is still pretty good.
Senior Alex Schell recorded an eye-popping 109 points en route to being a first-team All-Ohio selection last season. Joining Schell up top will be juniors Jared Ross, a ground-ball specialist, and Alec Sulesky at crease attack.
“When you have a dominant attack, the midfield is usually a second option,” O’Brien said. “We now have a combo of both. No doubt that Alex and Jared can dominate, but we have a number of guys that score.”
Along with an offense that is considered the best in Ohio and No. 10 in the nation, the defense isn’t too shabby, either.
Junior Andrew Harris, a second-team all-region goalkeeper, returns to the backline with fellow 11th-graders Dan Flake and Alex Harris. Aidan Dorman, a senior who returns to the program after taking a couple of seasons off, will also see time on defense along with sophomore Tyler Galosi.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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