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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Anytime you have the reigning state player of the year back in the lineup, that's always a good thing.
Throw in a number of talented players in the mix and you have a powerhouse.
Such is life for the Hudson boys lacrosse team, which finished 19-2 last year after losing an 11-10 decision to Cleveland St. Ignatius in a Division I regional title contest.
Explorers head coach David Blue, who is 245-93 during his 18 years at Hudson, has plenty of weapons at his disposal.
Leading the way is senior attack Bo Lori, the 2013 Ohio Player of the Year. The All-American finished with 73 goals and 48 assists for a single-season record total of 121 points. He plans to continue playing at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.
"Bo is an extremely talented player who will be one of the team's leaders on offense," Blue said. "He will be one of the best offensive players in the state and will routinely draw the opponent's best defensive player."
Lori and his teammates will get plenty of opportunities to score, thanks to the Explorers' high-energy style approach.
"We will rely on this approach early in the season as it allows our newer defense to gain experience and depth," Blue said.
Hudson also has versatile midfielders that can change the momentum of the game on both sides of the field.
"Look for this group to develop and mold into a very substantial group," Blue said.
While Lori is the team's most talented offensive player, he won't have to do all the scoring by himself.
Senior attack Zach Nye also made opposing defenses miserable with 41 goals and 23 assists.
"Zach is a talented off-ball attackman who has a knack for finding the back of the net," Blue said. "Look for him to have a very good season."
Other key attack players include juniors Michael Charlton (30 assists), Sam Gregory (29 goals) and Gabe Vehar (32 goals) and sophomore Joey Palumbo.
"Michael is a very versatile attackman who can run midfield as well," Blue said. "He has a good stick and excellent size. Sam is one of the best off-ball players on the team. He is in constant movement and has the ability to find open areas to cut to.
"Gabe is a very big target on the crease. He has good hands, cuts well to space and has the ability to finish shots with accuracy and creativity.
"Joey has a strong build. He is learning to use his size to get in shooting space and drive to the cage."
Other attack players include sophomores Luc Jambon, Sean O'Loughlin and Matt Zelich.
The midfield will be led by seniors Cameron Haggerty, Erik Lindroth, who missed all of 2013 with a collarbone injury, Mick Mougey (22 assists) and Brent Zubal.
"Cameron is a good transition player who hustles and plays hard between the lines," Blue said.
"Erik is one of the fastest players on the team. He excels on the defensive end and in the clearing game.
"Mick will be the go-to middie. He is one of the best defensive midfielders on the team."
"Brent is a true workhorse. He hustles for ground balls, does well in the clearing game and is a threat to go to the cage."
The junior midfielders comprise Kyle Ator, Dan Brady, Grant Elffers (26 goals and 12 assists), Matt Rightnour and Reid Robinson.
"Kyle is a big, athletic midfielder who has a hard shot and can get to the cage," Blue said. "Dan is a quick midfielder who has the ability to play different roles on the team.
"Grant has a hard shot, plays physical defense and can create his own space to shoot. He had an excellent sophomore season.
"Matt is a very good athlete who can play good defense and create offense between the lines.
"Reid is one of the best defensive players on the team. He turns the field over faster than anyone on the team."
The midfield also features sophomores Josh Conger, Nate Menedez and Chris Motter.
"Josh is a big-time grinder on face-off wings," Blue said. "Nate has good size and speed and has really developed his game this winter playing box lacrosse.
"Chris is extremely talented at the face-off X. He will be the anchor to the fast-break offense at the face-off draw."
Other midfielders include freshmen Cole Miller and Matt Restifo.
Seniors Jacob Jesionek, Logan Malson, Rudy Ohlen and Seth Wagner are expected to anchor the defense.
"Jacob has good quickness, recovers fast and is solid in scooping up ground balls," Blue said. "Logan is physical, throws a lot of checks, plays with a ton of emotion and is the team's vocal leader.
"Rudy has good game sense of the game and has developed nicely over the past few years.
"Seth is one of the toughest kids on the team. He excels in transition off the face-off, gobbles up ground balls and is always a threat to score a goal."
Other key defensemen include juniors Will Hogan, Jared Jesionek and Trent Maendler, who recently committed to Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky.
"Will is extremely athletic and plays a physical style," Blue said. "Jared likes to use his body and smash his attackman.
"Trent is one of the most talented defenders on the team. He knows where to be and how to get to his spot."
Rounding out the defensemen will be sophomore Matt Bisbee and freshman Enrique Rodriguez.
The Explorers plan to use two goalkeepers during the season. They are senior Evan Carlson, who recently committed to Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and junior Jake Krone.
"Evan has the ability to make key saves and does a nice job stopping the ball," Blue said. "Jake makes a lot of saves and is very good in the clearing game."
Sophomore Spencer Kline also expects to see some time in the cage as well.
Hudson is scheduled to visit Olentangy Liberty March 24 in Powell. Game time is set for 6 p.m.