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Coach Kara Whitlatch is looking for offensive production from her Bexley hockey team.

The Lions return 10 starters after finishing 6-9-2 last fall and seventh (1-5-2) in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division behind champion Columbus Academy (8-0). Most of those returnees, however, come from midfield and defense.

“We’re trying to figure out who can score goals,” said Whitlatch, who is in her 18th season. “Our first day as a team together was August 22 (due to the COVID-19 coronavirus protocols), so we’re behind, but we’re glad we can play. It’s hard to figure things out without scrimmages. felt like our first few games were scrimmages.

“Our midfield is strong, but our attackers have to brag. We have to figure out who works better in every place (midfield or attacker). In practice, we haven’t had enough reps to work on the timing.”

Senior midfielder Phoebe Snowdon (5 goals, 4 assists) and senior defender Audra Fleming (4 goals) were the team’s top scorers last year, and junior midfielder Adelaide Zamensky had two goals and three assists.

Junior goalkeeper Sally Sauer missed much of last season with health-related issues and will have an experienced group of defenders in front of her, including senior Audra Fleming, junior Lainey Dorrian and sophomore Evie Holzhall.

The midfield consists of Snowdon, Zamensky, senior Eimear McCann and sophomore Maddy Krasnow and Bea Meeks, with sophomore Caroline Whitlatch returning as a forward.

“I think everything has changed (with the coronavirus) because it’s more about making sure we have fun with every part of the workout, be it exercise or running,” McCann said. “You never know when it could be your last game, your last practice or your last run.

“We need a little more communication. We were in pods for so long that we only knew those nine people in those pods. It seems strange when the other people are around. That (communication) usually comes earlier in the season.”

The Lions won their opener against Dublin Coffman 2-1 on September 2 when freshman forward Frankie Zehnal scored both goals. They followed with a 5-0 loss against Arlington Upper on Sept. 3. before starting league play with a 3-2 loss to Lancaster on September 10. Higher forward / midfielder Dasi Bandler and Fleming scored against Golden Gales.

Senior leadership lifting from unicorns

Columbus School for Girls returns nine starters from a team that finished 3-12-2 overall and Lancaster finished in eighth place (1-6-1) in the COFHL-East.

That group consists of seniors Gabby Anthony (defender), Kayla Badyna-Carpenter (forward), Olivia Barry-Wilson (goalkeeper), Jolien Kusi (defender) and Charlotte Love (defender).

“The girls really work together, and we have really good senior leadership,” said coach Jessica Schirner, who is in her eighth season. “All five seniors are returning starters, and they’re all scattered around the field. They’ve given us great leadership by showing the younger girls what’s going on.”

Junior forwards Sarah Lonser and Gia Noel Manokas also started a year ago with sophomores Jacey Cassandra (midfielder) and CC McLarty (defender).

“We’ve worked on our offense in the field, working with sticks on the ground in the circle and working on corners,” said Schirner. “We have to work on the finish. We have trouble with spaces, but we get better every game.”

The Unicorns lost their first game 2-1 on August 25 to Hilliard and their league opener to Columbus Academy 10-0 on August 27. Barry-Wilson had 26 saves against the Vikings.

“Olivia is in her fourth year at goal, and she’s been phenomenal,” said Schirner. “Her communication with the defense has been great, and she has such a strong presence in the goal.”

CSG lost 3-0 to Worthington Kilbourne on September 1. Badyna-Carpenter, Cassandra and freshman midfielder Morgan Halpern all scored in a 3-1 win over Dublin Scioto on September 3.

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