Kilbourne carries on its winning tradition


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High school lacrosse: Kilbourne carries on its winning tradition
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 3:35 AM
By Adam Conn


When Mike Riffee took over as boys lacrosse coach at Worthington Kilbourne this spring, he faced a daunting challenge: carry on a winning tradition minus 17 seniors.

Riffee replaced Bill Wolford, who compiled a 179-120 record in 16 years. The Wolves experienced just three losing seasons since 1991 and had played in a state championship game in 2005 and a regional final last year.

Riffee, who was a Kilbourne assistant last year after coaching at Perry Middle School in Worthington, picked up where Wolford left off, and the Wolves are in the state final four for the second time in three years.

"We knew we were going to be young, but as practice progressed and we saw who we were going to end up with, we got pretty excited," Riffee said. "We believed in what they could do. Getting them to believe it has been a work in progress."

The Wolves (15-6) started 6-1, including an opening victory over state semifinalist Cincinnati Moeller. But they soon were humbled with back-to-back losses at Hudson and Upper Arlington.

Since then, Kilbourne has won nine of 12 and will get a chance at redemption at 7 tonight at Hudson (18-0).

In its first game against Hudson, on April 20, Kilbourne jumped out to a 4-0 lead but gave up two quick goals at the end of the first quarter and was outscored 9-2 in the second and third on the way to a 13-8 defeat. An 11-3 loss at UA followed.

"We've had a lot of raw energy from the younger kids," Riffee said of Kilbourne's late-season surge.

The Wolves are led by juniors Nick Beattie (47 goals, 19 assists) and Andrew Wilfong (45, 17) and have tapped into the youth of sophomore goalie Luke Bott, who took over as a starter midway through the season.

Bott had 14 saves in each of the past two games, and Kilbourne likely will need another big effort from him. Hudson, led by attackman Billy Paster (46, 13), has five 20-plus goal scorers.

"They're very balanced. It's definitely going to be a challenge," Riffee said.

Should the Wolves meet that challenge, they'll face either Upper Arlington or Moeller, who meet in the other semifinal at 7:30 tonight at UA.

The Golden Bears (19-1) are seeking their fourth straight state championship and are riding a 15-game winning streak.

UA has scored in double digits in 12 games, but was held to its lowest goal output of the season by Moeller (16-4), which has won 13 of 14 since a 5-0 loss to the Golden Bears on April 7.

"They're as good as any defense we've played all year," UA coach Ted Wolford said. "I really think it's going to be a slugfest."
Hudson-8 Kilbourne-4

Congrats to Hudson on a perfect 19-0 season and big win over Kilbourne last night.

Unfortunately I expect this comes to an end on Saturday with UA winning decisively for their 4th straight OHSLA title. Good luck to Hudson and nicely done Golden Bears... (can you say "dynasty"?)
It looks like Kilbourne got whacked with a number of penalties in the fourth quarter. Tough way to lose a game. That's a pretty good effort against an undefeated Hudson squad, though.

Hudson 8, Worthington Kilbourne 4
Host Hudson took advantage of five Worthington Kilbourne penalties to score five goals in the fourth period and win a Division I semifinal.

Hudson scored on three of its five man-advantages in the final period, breaking up a close game. Hudson (19-0) led 3-2 at halftime.

Christian Sorensen had two goals for Kilbourne (15-7). Tim Davis and Kevin Mack had one each.