Lacrosse looking to dominate after previous season cut short


Audrey Strembicki

Senior Zane Banachowski pursues senior Maddox Nebel in practice.

This story was originally published in the fourth edition of The Lion’s Tale (February 7, 2021).

As the spring sports season at Oviedo High School (OHS) approaches, and lacrosse season with it, both the boys’ and girls’ varsity squads are looking to be very formidable opponents for teams in Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Districts Four and Seven,
respectively. After the previous season was cut short for both teams due to Covid-19, the players are more than ready and eager to come back and secure wins all season long. Although both teams lost important players to graduation, they feature plenty of new and returning faces looking to contribute.

Abby Greene, a returning senior midfielder on the girls’ varsity roster is eager to see what the season brings and what her new teammates can add to the squad.

“I feel pretty good, but we have a lot of people to replace on varsity since ten seniors graduated last year,” Greene said. “I’m excited to come back and play with my friends that I’ve known since elementary school for one last year.”

Justin Kotar, a junior defenseman on the boys’ varsity team, has just about the same eagerness as Greene to step back onto the field again for his third season with the team.

“I’m feeling pretty good going into the season; this is my third year on varsity and I’m excited to have a lot of potential,” Kotar said. “This year we have 20 plus seniors returning, which brings a lot of leadership to the team, and a very talented underclass. As far as the team
goes, we are looking to have one of the best seasons we’ve had in a while with the amount of talent on the team, and if everyone buys in and works on their flaws we could be a very good team.”

Since the last time these players stepped off the playing field with Lions jerseys on, they’ve had what’s essentially been an extended offseason, allowing time for recovery. But most importantly, it‘s given time for improvement.

“I believe I have improved very much from last year from hitting the wall, doing [one-on-ones] against other kids, footwork and just taking the time to improve the little things,” Kotar said.

The junior defenseman was not the only one to sharpen his skills with the given time. Ryan Calimlin, a senior attackman and midfielder, has been grinding and crafting his game, and now says he is a much improved player

“I believe I have come a long way since last year,” Caimlin said. “I trained almost everyday during quarantine, just working on the fundamentals, and took that into the summer season. I have gotten so much better with my left hand and IQ.”

As with any sport, both programs have a handful of rivals that they are all looking to compete with and win.

Natalie Cyrkel, a senior midfielder and captain on the girls varsity squad, named a few matchups that she is looking forward to, including Hagerty High School.

“It’s my last time playing against my friends [at Hagerty],” Cyrkel said. “Also, Lake Mary [is another rival]; they have been a lasting rival for us and it’s important we beat them every year.”

On the boys side, Caimlin is also looking to best some of those teams this year.

“I look forward to playing Hagerty, only because we all have some friends on that team and they are our crosstown rivals,” Caimlin said. “But I am also looking forward to playing teams like Lake Mary and Winter Park because they will be our biggest challenges.”