Seven of the 13 players on the Columbus School for Girls volleyball team are freshmen. On top of that, the team only has two seniors: seniors Lily Burkhalter (outside hitter) and Maggie Wilson (outside hitter).

Seven of the 13 players on the Columbus School for Girls volleyball team are freshmen. On top of that, the team only has two seniors: seniors Lily Burkhalter (outside hitter) and Maggie Wilson (outside hitter).

"We are a very young team, but they're all excited and eager. They don't have much experience, but they're all very athletic," coach Dave Mitchell said. "We'll rely on our seniors and our juniors will do well for us. Our freshmen will be our setters. We'll be spending a lot of time preparing our freshman setters this season."

The Unicorns ended last season with a loss to Heath in the second round of the Division III district tournament.

Other players with returning varsity experience include juniors Jane Newland (defensive specialist/outside hitter), Rachel Pappa (middle hitter) and Elizabeth Simmons (outside hitter/middle hitter).

But because there are so many new players, Mitchell expects to rotate his lineup throughout the season as he tries to find the best combination.

"We will struggle at first with really having the setters without the ability to put the ball where they should," Mitchell said.

"Because of that we don't really have the go-to type of hitters, so we'll struggle earlier during the season with our hitting and getting the ball to the outside."

Though the Unicorns are young, Mitchell knows the progress made this year will make CSG that much stronger in the future.

"I'm actually very excited about the team this year because I think we have a lot of potential and a good team dynamic," Mitchell said. "We'll spend a lot of time this year working on the team concept and so far I think it's working out real well."

•The cross country team is primed for a good season. CSG returns all but one runner from last year and enters the season with its deepest team as 22 girls came out this year.

Last season CSG was third (67) in the CCL behind Hartley (61) and DeSales (67) and ahead of Watterson (76), Ready (80) and Worthington Christian (164). In the postseason, the Unicorns were fourth in their district and 10th at the regional.

The top returning runners for CSG are seniors Kelsey Klopfer and Michaela McConnell, juniors Bridget O'Donnell and Laura Staravecka and sophomores Sophie Chatas, Alexis Jones and Sara Maurer.

"We've got a good group returning and it's going to be interesting," coach Jack Guy said. "We've been really pleased with what they've been doing so far. It's going to be pretty competitive, and that's all you can ask for.

"It will change week-to-week in terms of who finishes No. 1 and who doesn't, but I like the fact that everybody's got a shot."

Postseason success could be more difficult to come by since CSG moved up to Division II. Some of the area's top girls teams compete in Division II including Bexley, Canal Winchester, Granville and Johnstown, as well as CCL teams DeSales, Hartley, Ready and Watterson.

"DeSales dropped down to Division II this year and so is Watterson and Ready, so nothing changes when we go from CCL meet then the next week into the district meet together," Guy said. "If we can continue to do what we've done in the past, which is continue to improve and run as a pack, then we'll be OK."


Schedules

VOLLEYBALL

Last Tuesday -- vs. Shekinah Christian Today -- at DeSales Tuesday -- at Worthington Christian Sept. 10 -- vs. Ready Sept. 12 -- home CSG Invitational Sept. 15 -- vs. Hartley Sept. 17 -- vs. Watterson Sept. 22 -- vs. DeSales Sept. 26 -- at Buckeye Valley, Westerville North Sept. 29 -- at Ready Oct. 1 -- at Hartley Oct. 3 -- at Centennial Oct. 6 -- at Watterson Oct. 8 -- at Shekinah Christian Oct. 10 -- at Briggs Oct. 13 -- vs. Worthington Christian

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Wednesday -- Competed in New Albany Invitational Saturday -- at Newark Catholic Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion Wednesday -- at Canal Winchester Invitational Sept. 12 -- at Watkins Memorial Sept. 19 -- at Central Ohio XC Invitational at Three Creeks Park Sept. 23 -- at Heath Invitational Sept. 26 -- at Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster Oct. 3 -- at Erin Nance Fall Classic at London Country Club Oct. 10 -- at Liberty Union Invitational Oct. 17 -- CCL Championships at TBA Oct. 24 -- Division II district at Watkins Memorial