MASON, Ohio — Making a third straight Final Four appearance can bring out a variety of emotions on the practice field.
Coming into Friday’s OSLA Division I state semifinal, second-year Medina girls lacrosse coach Amanda Wilson feels her team is more than ready.
“We have the kind of focus that we’ve been down here before and we know what it’s like,” she said, “We also want to keep it light and fun, though, along with fine-tuning the details.
“Whether it’s your first or third time down there, it’s something to celebrate. We really want it.”
The back-to-back D-I champions will have their hands full as the Bees (14-3) open with Sycamore — a team Medina edged 9-8 in overtime in April on the same field on which they will play the rematch.
According to Wilson, the squads mirror each other in many ways, making this match-up one that, like earlier this season, might come down to final possession.
“It’s going to come down to the details,” she said. “The last time we had more groundballs, but they won in draw controls. It’s going to come down to who’s going to fight more.
“We have to get them to say, ‘Mercy’ first.”
Medina and the Aviators (12-2) are no strangers to each other. The Bees lost to eventual state champ Sycamore in 2009 at Mason.
While only a handful of the current Bees were on that team, the feelings add a little bit more fuel to the fire for an opportunity to advance to the state title game to face Upper Arlington — a team the Bees lost to earlier this spring — or Cleveland Heights.
“There’s a bit of history between to the teams,” Wilson said. “Sycamore is a team that as a competitor, you just love to play. It won’t be easy, but a win over them would make us feel good about ourselves.”
Playing with a target on its back has been nothing new for Medina. It was something the program learned during a two-game losing skid in early May when it lost to D-II state qualifier New Albany and New Trier (Ill.), a team that is currently 22-2.
“I think it puts us in a better position because that was a reality check,” Wilson said. “We learned that we just can’t show up and that every team has a chance.
“They’re people out to get us and we understand now that we need to want it more than they want to knock us out.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: OSLA Division I state semifinals.
WHO: Medina (14-3) vs. Sycamore (12-2), Friday at 5:15 p.m.; Upper Arlington (16-3) vs. Cleveland Heights (11-6), 7:15 p.m.
WHERE: Mason Multipurpose Field, 6100 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, 45040.
AT STAKE: A berth in the state championship game, Saturday at 3:30 p.m.