The Olentangy girls lacrosse team did what it has done the entire season. It found the back of the net.
Maddie Garner had seven goals and helped out on four others to lead visiting Olentangy passed rival Olentangy Orange 21-10 Thursday night in Lewis Center.
“Obviously, it’s a rivalry game – so it comes down to whoever shows up,” Garner said. “We’ve been building on this team for three years with the same group of girls. At the end of the day – we work well together, we feed off each other and I think that’s what helped us pull out the win.”
Garner’s free-position goal with 21:12 left in the opening half gave Olentangy a 2-1 lead, starting a 7-goal rally over the next 8 minutes, 5 seconds. The Braves never trailed again.
Garner said the free-position shot was something Olentangy had been working on lately, and it showed as four of the team’s 10 first half goals came in that form.
“We know we’ve got to put away (shots) like that,” she said. “We’ve been working on it and we’ve been working on drawing. If (the shot’s) not there – we know that our teammates are there and we can dish it off.”
Still, Orange didn’t go quietly, rallying for five of the final seven goals of the half to close within 10-5 at the break.
“I think it comes down to draw control, gaining possession and the transition game for us between the 30s,” Orange coach Megan Noone said. “Because when we got down defensively in our sets and offensively in our sets – we did really well and we were able to execute.”
Melanie Neuman and Kailee O’Brien scored back-to-back goals early in the second half to get the Pioneers as close as 11-7.
“We were causing our own turnovers,” Olentangy coach Amy McCormick said. “(They were) unforced errors. They’re high school kids – it’s going to happen. Orange has a lot of hustle and a lot of heart and they’re going to come back.”
But, Olentangy scored 10 of the final 13 goals to put it out of reach – led by Garner and Kenzie Sklar with three apiece.
“We told them to get back to the basics,” McCormick said. “It’s not like we lost the skill – we just got a little goofy.”
Sklar finished with five goals for the game and Elise Harder scored five and dished out four assists for Olentangy (5-0, 3-0), which has scored 20 goals or more in each of its last four games.
“We have a lot of threats on offense,” McCormick said. “We’ve got good chemistry … they work well together. If you look at our goals (this season), there’s assists as well – which just shows the teamwork. They’re clicking … their gelling as one unit.”
O’Brien finished with three goals and an assist, Hannah Brown scored twice and Neuman chipped in a helper to go with her goal to lead Orange (4-2, 1-2), which has lost its last two by a combined 37-10 margin after outscoring opponents 53-8 in its first four games.
“It’s a learning experience,” Noone said. “I think we’ll take tonight just as we took New Albany (Tuesday). They’re done, we can’t worry about them, they’re in the past. It’s (about) focusing on the next game and that’s (Pickerington Central) tomorrow (at 7 p.m.) and taking it game by game.”
Next up for Olentangy is a trip to Mason Saturday morning at 11 a.m.
Also: Hilliard Darby 14, Delaware Hayes 11.
Blake Eiland and Alex Schumacher scored two goals apiece to lead Delaware Hayes to a 9-3 win over host Darby Thursday in Hilliard.
Andrew Lyon, Casey Eiland, Sam Lagando, Ryan Smudz and Connor Prenger also found the back of the net in the win.
Buckeye Valley 14, Columbus Academy 3
Nathan Heiser poured in a game-best seven goals and Andy Nero and Trent Slavik added two apiece to lead Buckeye Valley to a convincing win over visiting Columbus Academy Thursday in Delaware.
Reid Lajeunesse added a team-best two assists while Nick Gerold finished with five saves in the Baron goal.
Also: Olentangy 13, Olentangy Orange 4; Olentangy Liberty 17, Westerville South 0.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.