LEWIS CENTER – The Olentangy Orange boys lacrosse team broke the huddle after its 6-1 loss to Delaware Hayes to open the season with one clear message, “We are 35 strong. We are Orange.”
“There are 35 members on the varsity roster and 35-strong came from Coach (Pat) Boyce’s belief that it takes a team to win regardless of circumstance,” interim coach Zach Peterson said. “It’s all about the team and all about family.”
Boyce, who passed away Mar. 5, would have entered his third season as Orange’s head coach after serving the previous four as an assistant.
Peterson, meanwhile, had hung up his ballcap in favor of an administrative role as an assistant principal at Olentangy Liberty after going 67-34 in five seasons at Olentangy.
“The juniors and seniors right now – I actually had in class (at Orange Middle School),” Peterson said. “I just felt a really strong connection and I think that speaks to our district. We have over 22,000 kids, but we’re all one Olentangy. I felt a strong draw to come support my family here at Orange.”
The Pioneers will continue to honor Boyce with a patch on their uniforms and the No. 35 jersey spot reserved for him on the roster.
As for the game, Brystin Coldiron had two goals and an assist, Blake Eiland scored twice and Connor Prenger added a goal and an assist to lead the Pacers to a 6-1 win over Orange Tuesday in Lewis Center.
Peterson said he took the first week to observe and got together with the coaching staff to develop a game-plan. It was a lot to throw at the team in a short period of time.
“It’s been a collaborative effort,” Peterson said. “The coaching staff here is very strong. These guys have been through a lot this preseason. We threw a lot at them in terms of X’s and O’s go. I’ll tell you – the result isn’t indicative of how talented I think this team is and where this team is going to go.”
Coldiron used a pump-fake on both of his goals, including the Pacers’ first goal with 8:58 left in the first period to give Hayes a 1-0 lead.
“He got the goalie moving one direction and finished (going) the other,” Hayes coach John Lyon said. “It was all good.”
Hunter Piroska rounded out the scoring for the Pacers (1-0) and Tyler Carney stopped nine shots in goal.
“We’ve still got a lot of things that we’ve gotta get better at,” Lyon said. “It wasn’t our best game – (we had) a lot of turnovers. I think, as a team, we’re happy for the win. But we realize we’re still a long way off from where we need to be.”
Tanner Davidson had 17 saves in goal for the Pioneers (0-1), who got their lone goal from Dylan Dempsey.
“(Hayes has) a great face-off kid,” Peterson said. “I don’t know if we won a clean face-off and whenever you (give up) possession, you’re going to be in a difficult spot.
“I think they possessed the ball and they had a keeper that made some great saves when we had a couple of long possessions. You put those together and it’s kind of the perfect storm.”
Next up, Orange hosts Olentangy Berlin in non-league play Thursday night at 7 p.m. Hayes is off until Monday when it opens its home schedule against non-league foe Bishop Watterson at 7 p.m.
New Albany 12, Olentangy Berlin 5
Jack Nebraska had two goals and an assist to lead the Bears in the first game in the history of Berlin boys lacrosse Tuesday in New Albany.
Gavin Angell added a goal and an assist while Drew Haver scored twice. Sam Warner finished with 19 saves in the Berlin goal.
Also: Worthington Kilbourne 9, Olentangy 3; Westerville Central 20, Buckeye Valley 4
Olentangy Berlin’s Jenna Brennan had four goals and Andi Henry added a pair, but visiting Pickerington North was able to generate some offense of its own on the way to a 12-8 win Tuesday in Delaware.
Bri Hibbits anchored the Bear defense with five saves in the setback.
Also: Granville 10, Olentangy 9