The Ohio Boys Lacrosse regular season kicks off on Friday, March 17th. We caught up with a handful of coaches to preview their teams and the 2023 season. Here is a quick recap of the 2022 season in Divisions 1 and 2.
Ohio has three hotbeds of lacrosse: Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. Each region had at least one team in the state semifinals.
Dublin Jerome (Columbus) knocked off Hudson (Cleveland) 18-9 to make their second straight state championship appearance. In the other half of the bracket, Upper Arlington (Columbus) defeated St. Xavier (Cincinnati) 15-9.
Dublin Jerome and Upper Arlington met for the second straight year in the state championship. This time, the Golden Bears defeated Jerome 12-10 to capture their 17th state championship.
Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati were represented in the Division 2 semifinals. Chagrin Falls (Cleveland) defeated St. John’s Jesuit (Toledo) 18-5 in the first semifinal. St. Francis DeSales (Columbus) defeated Cincinnati Mariemont 14-8 in the other semifinal then topped Chagrin Falls 20-6 to capture their third state championship.
Dublin Jerome Conversation: Andy Asmo
We caught up with Dublin Jerome’s head coach Andy Asmo on his way home from practice last week to preview the season. The Celtics are coming off back-to-back state championship appearances.
They won the 2021 state championship and finished the runner-up in 2022. I asked Coach Osmo to give us a preview of some of the key players he will be leaning on in 2023.
Marek Tzagournis is our top player and has committed to playing at Denver. He is our leading points scorer at Dublin Jerome and was an All-American as a junior. Brady Sestilli, a second team face off man, is also an offensive player who scores. He is going to play football at Ohio University on a football scholarship. Luke Mcloughlin was first team all state and will be our leader at long stick middie. Senior Derek Hole will be leading the defense and he will be playing football at Findlay in Ohio.
Asmo shared with me one of the secrets to Jerome’s success: their unorthodox style of play. Jerome plays with a long stick on the field at all times, including on all offensive and extra-man possessions. It’s like the triple option in football. It’s a wrinkle that very few teams employ and takes time for other teams to try to adjust to.
The poles are not just there as decoys. Asmo makes sure they get work in practice and during the game. “We feel like we’re the most skilled poles around. We like to put pressure on other teams and push the ball offensively. This enables us to play very pressured and very fast, the whole time.”
Asmo put together a challenging schedule this year to prepare his team for a third straight appearance in the state championship. He pointed out how “Olentangy Liberty, Hudson, and St. Ignatius are three important games because they are always so good and we need to get by them to get to our third straight state championship game.”
Jerome will travel up north to play Michigan powerhouses Brother Rice and Hartland on back-to-back days in early May.
Next week they will travel on Spring Break to Florida to take on Flagler-Palm Coast High School (March 18), Ponte Vedra High School (March 20), and finish with the Bolles School (March 21). Ponte Verdra’s head coach, Chris Polanski, is a former assistant for Asmo and played at Jerome. He helped to coordinate the games. Asmo’s son requested that he get an autograph from Bolles’s offensive coordinator Matt Rambo. Good luck, coach!
Finally, I asked Coach Asmo about the strength and growth of high school lacrosse across in Ohio. What were the factors that have allowed it to emerge and thrive in three separate areas of the state? His response pointed to two spots.
“The youth programs are really strong in our areas, that’s where it starts. Nick Meyers does a really good job at Ohio State of supporting our programs. Ohio State having men’s and women’s lacrosse, the new stadium, has continued to build interest. I think there’s been a lot of success in Columbus, and then in Cincinnati, and then Cleveland is competing and starting to emerge.”
I would like to thank Coach Asmo for chatting with me and wish him and the Celtic success.
Elsewhere Around Ohio
Hilliard Davidson High School
Hilliard Davidson returns 20 letter winners from last season and almost all of their defensemen from 2022 where they reached the Regional Final for the first time in program history. Key returners include Cade Galko (Albany), Noah Dodgion (Baldwin-Wallace), Mason Kaufman (Trine), Dom Tsourkas (Transylvania), Fischer Son (Elmhurst), Adam Van Voorhis, Joey Clifford, Caden Wilson, & Jake Sampson. Vance Ames (’25) will take over in the cage for graduated 4-year starter, Kaiden Roche. Key games this spring include Upper Arlington, Olentangy Liberty, Hoover North Canton, Massillon Jackson, Dublin Coffman, Columbus Desales, & Worthington Kilborne.– David Ames, Head Coach
Players to Watch: Caden Minniti ’23 M, Braydon Spencer ’23 M, Ethan Brooks ’23 A, Alex Haughn ’23 D, Preston Mullett ’23 G, Dominick Imbrogno ’23 LSM
Key games: 3/18 vs. St. Ignatius, 4/6 vs. Dublin Jerome, 4/12 vs. Davidson, 4/20 vs. Upper Arlington, 4/22 vs. Hudson– Jason Godwin
Mariemont will be a strong contender this year in Region 8 and play a tough regular season schedule to prepare for the tournament. After losing in the final four last year, there is unfinished business as they will play hard to compete for another state title in Ohio Division Two.– Steve Peterson
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