July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Girls lacrosse: Bees set to defend title

NEW ALBANY — Winners of the last three Division I Ohio Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association state titles, the target on Medina’s back couldn’t be bigger.

That’s quite all right with the Bees, who have taken everything in stride with calm confidence and focus that appear to be unflappable.

Medina will look to defend its legacy tonight when it takes on Sycamore for the second in a row in the state semifinals.

“It’s been good,” coach Amanda Wilson said of her team’s mindset. “This week has been relaxed. I don’t even have to tell them what to do. They’re just working all the time.

“We want to block out distractions, because nothing else matters except your teammates and what happens in Columbus.”

Medina already knows how to do that after facing every challenge this season with the same grit that has made it a state power.

The Bees have beaten nationally ranked teams like East Grand Rapids, Mich., and old rival Upper Arlington and await the final challenge.

And while this year’s team has big goals, it is playing for a game that slipped away.

“This is more a game of pride,” Wilson said. “In Medina’s first trip to state (2009), it was Sycamore that took it to them and went into a 15-minute stall. We’re fighting for those girls that played before us.”

If the teams matchup earlier this season, a 6-6 draw at the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament in April, is any indication, this semifinal could be one for the books.

The Aviators (13-4-1) have one of the more balanced rosters in the state, with an explosive attack and a defense that battled some of the area’s best offenses.

Senior Kathleen Gasset and juniors Kara Marth, Lizzie MacVittie and Ashley Bonnoitt lead the scoring for coach Eddie Clark, while the defense is paced by senior Carrie Berghoff and sophomore Maddie Locke.

“They have a team of athletes,” Wilson said. “They’re fast and strong on draw controls. We just need to play aggressive with our draws and if Sycamore puts the ball in a certain spot, then we find that spot and get it first.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.