At 6-foot-3, Columbus School for Girls volleyball coach Meghan Simons held a height advantage over many of her opponents when she played at Ohio State in 2006, at Ohio University from 2007-09 and for a professional team in Denmark in 2010-11.
Unfortunately for the Unicorns, they have found themselves at the opposite end of the spectrum this season.
"The average height of our players is about 5 feet, 4 inches, so a lot of our opponents tower over our girls at the net," Simons said. "We've been at a height disadvantage in every match we've played this season, so we've had to be scrappy and not give away any points with silly errors.
"Obviously, we don't put up a big block, but we've done a great job of digging in our back row to stay competitive with teams that are much bigger than us."
Despite their lack of size, the Unicorns already have surpassed last season's win total, when they finished 3-21 overall and 0-8 in the CCL.
CSG is 0-5 in the CCL and was 4-13 overall before playing Gilead Christian on Oct. 1.
For CSG's tri-match Sept. 28, the Unicorns donated 50 percent of the admission costs to the Side-Out Foundation, a national nonprofit that supports breast cancer research.
With sophomores Molly Bokor (outside hitter), Asia Livingstone (middle hitter), Annabelle Lunt (middle hitter), Erin McGuire (setter) and Kaitlyn Yale (libero) and freshman Skylar King (outside hitter) in the starting lineup, the Unicorns went 3-0 in the CSG Invitational on Aug. 24 to tie Bexley (3-0) for first place.
CSG also defeated Tree of Life 23-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 16-14 on Aug. 29 to improve to 4-5 before going on an eight-match losing streak.
Seniors Autumn Pu and Chloe Romaker have split starts at opposite hitter, while juniors Briena Breckenridge (middle hitter) and Jackie O'Donnell (setter) and freshman Colleen Kelley (setter/libero) are contributing as substitute players.
"This is my first season as head coach after being an assistant here last year, and the girls have been receptive to the changes I've made," Simons said.
"We started strong, but we hit a wall since we started playing our CCL (matches)."
The Unicorns wrap up their league schedule by playing at Hartley on Thursday, Sept. 3, and by playing host to DeSales on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
CSG lost to Hartley 25-7, 25-9, 25-5 on Sept. 17 and fell to DeSales 25-4, 25-4, 25-5 on Sept. 3.
"The CCL is a really tough league and we're a very young team this year, with mostly sophomores and freshmen in our starting lineup," Simons said.
"But we're learning and I'm confident we'll do better in the future."
Cross country team enjoying season
First-year cross country coach Taylor Candella wasn't sure what to expect after his top returning runner, senior Emma Harris, injured her foot in August.
Candella, who was an assistant the previous two seasons, has been pleasantly surprised to see the Unicorns overcome that setback to put together a successful regular season.
CSG scored 60 points to win the 11-team small-school division of the Central Ohio Invitational on Sept. 14 at Three Creeks Metro Park ahead of runner-up Newark Catholic (87). Competing for CSG were sophomore Eleanor Smith (sixth, 19 minutes, 48.74 seconds), freshman Grace Tierney (seventh, 19:48.9), freshman Anna Tierney (10th, 20:35.67), freshman Meg Murakami (16th, 21:08.64), senior Erin Balasky (21st, 21:39), sophomore Maya Allen (30th, 22:16.75) and senior Cecilia Pesavento (38th, 22:55.04).
"To be honest, I wasn't sure what kind of season we were going to have because six of our top eight runners are running high school cross country for the first time, and our No. 1 runner went down with a foot injury early on," Candella said.
"I knew we had a couple of good seniors coming back, with Erin and Emma being our captains, but I didn't know the rest of them were going to do so well, especially without having Emma at full strength."
CSG concludes its regular season by competing in the CCL meet Oct. 12 at Westerville Recreation Center. Last year, the Unicorns finished third (75) behind Watterson (49) and DeSales (53) and ahead of Ready (76) and Hartley (90).
CSG then placed third (77) in the Division III, district 1 meet behind Mount Gilead (44) and Fredericktown (51) before finishing 10th (242) in the 15-team regional behind champion Mount Gilead (92).
"One of our goals is to win our first CCL title in our team's history, and the other is to qualify our entire team to the state championship meet for the first time," Candella said.
"Emma's foot is healed and she's getting stronger every week, and she's only going to make us stronger when she's back all the way, so I think we've got a shot at reaching both those goals."
Golf squad takes second at sectional
The golf team placed second (420) in the six-team Division II sectional tournament Sept. 23 at Blacklick Woods behind Licking Valley (373) and advanced to district Oct. 1 at Blacklick Woods.
Competing for the Unicorns at sectional were Megan Wong (89), Caroline Korterud (103), Camryn Pickworth (107), Saba Mehra (121) and Karrington Hanks (128).
At district, the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Oct. 11 and 12 at Ohio State's Gray Course.