WESTERVILLE – Big Walnut boys lacrosse coach Michael Brunner pointed to his defense as a strength for the Golden Eagles’ success in capturing a program-record for wins this season.
That defense, led by senior goalkeeper Josh Hageman, stood tall in a 17-0 victory over Bexley in a Division II regional tournament opener Monday night at Westerville Central High School.
“They work really well together,” Brunner said. “They’ve very much bought into the team concept on defense. Everyone has each other’s backs. They know to go out and be aggressive because someone is going to be there to help them and that’s really what it comes down to.”
Hageman stopped 10 shots in goal to anchor the effort for third-seeded BW, which owned a 15-4 win at Bexley Mar. 30.
“My defense is huge – they’re the ones that allowed me to see the ball,” Hageman said.
Judah Lozano, Nathan Montgomery and John Grumney scored four goals apiece to lead the Eagles (12-7) to their first tournament win since lacrosse became an OHSAA-sponsored sport in 2017.
The trio, along with Sam Metzger, have been linchpins for BW all season, Brunner said.
“We’ve got four guys that are over 50 points between goals and assists – which is huge,” Brunner said. “We’ve got a couple of guys with more than 20 and a couple of others in the teens. So, it’s definitely more spread out than it has been before, which is amazing to see … and it comes back to the team concept.”
Grumney scored twice in the first quarter as third-seeded BW built a 5-0 lead. He had a hat trick midway through the second and added a fourth goal late in the third quarter.
“It felt good to see them get going,” Hageman said. “That gives our defense confidence that we can back them up. It’s just one continuous effort.”
Lozano scored three of the last four goals of the half – all in the final 2 minutes, 17 seconds – to give the Eagles a 12-0 lead at the break. Montgomery had the other goal and assisted on two of Lozano’s in that sequence.
Montgomery and Metzger led with two assists apiece and Clark Jaeger had a pair of goals and Caleb Bailey, Trevor Ambrose and Luke Chiles each added scores for BW.
“Our motto this year is ‘Brothers on one mission,’” Brunner said. “They’ve bought into the brotherhood idea. They’re not playing selfish offensively – which has helped us to get the points spread around.”
Tyler Owens-Terwilliger stopped 12 shots in goal for the 11th-seeded Lions (6-13).
BW advances to the regional quarterfinal at third-seeded Columbus Academy Friday night at 6 p.m.
Also: Columbus Academy 20, Olentangy Berlin 7
Josie Derstine had five goals, Morgan Miller added four and Piper Adkins found the back of the net three times to lead Delaware Hayes to an 18-13 regional tournament win over visiting Olentangy Orange Monday night.
The Pacers jumped on top 9-6 by the break and outscored the Pioneers 9-7 in the second half to account for the final margin.
Tyler Bluvol and Jenna Durst led the Pioneers with four goals apiece.
Hayes’ Gabrielle Weckerley and Orange’s Grace McAninch had 10 saves apiece to anchor their respective defenses.
Also: Olentangy 23, Anthony Wayne 2; Olentangy Liberty 24, Westerville Central 7
Carson Becker finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and Wes Coey tossed a complete game on the mound to lead Big Walnut to a 8-3 win over Chillicothe in the first round of the Division I district tournament Monday in Chillicothe.
The 26th-seeded Golden Eagles trailed early, but plated a couple runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to take the lead for good.
Viktor Giordano, Jakob Daniels and Ryne Conley backed Becker with two hits apiece, with Conley and Giordano each knocking in a pair of runs.
Coey, meanwhile, allowed three runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking three in the complete-game win.
Next up, Big Walnut will take on 14th-seeded Marysville in Wednesday’s second round. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. in Marysville.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.