The Canal Winchester High School girls volleyball team has some work to do after losing five graduates from last season, when it was within four points of upsetting eventual Division II state semifinalist Hartley in a district final.

The Canal Winchester High School girls volleyball team has some work to do after losing five graduates from last season, when it was within four points of upsetting eventual Division II state semifinalist Hartley in a district final.

The Indians finished 18-6 overall and won the MSL-Buckeye Division at 12-2.

But coach Colleen Ross doesn't believe there will much of a dropoff.

"We lost five good seniors, but actually, I think we're going to be OK," Ross said. "I think a lot of our younger kids are going to step up. They're young, but there's a lot of potential there. So I've been pretty pleased with what I've seen from the kids who were reserves last year."

This team will rely heavily on senior Crystal Elliott (setter) and juniors Abbey Stumbo (setter/outside hitter), Emily Hall (middle hitter), Katie Nelson (outside hitter) and Megan Miller (defensive specialist). All but Nelson have considerable experience to ease the transition. Nelson missed all of last season after breaking a leg in a preseason practice.

Other players include senior Erika Lounsbury (defensive specialist), Hannah Toler (libero) and Jen Rohrig (defensive specialist) and sophomores Allison Hutchinson (outside hitter), Chelsey Miller (outside hitter/middle hitter), Andrea Peer (setter), Mallory Haack (setter/defensive specialist) and Rachel Miles (middle hitter).

Ross plans on running most, if not all, of the plays through Elliott for Stumbo, Hall and Nelson.

"I think one of the biggest strengths we have is Crystal," Ross said. "She's played since her freshman year and she's played a pretty competitive level of club volleyball too. I think she's a huge plus for our team and hopefully she'll handle every second ball for us."

Ross believes the Indians can challenge for a second consecutive MSL-Buckeye title but expects to face competition for the top spot from Logan Elm, Teays Valley, Amanda-Clearcreek and Circleville. Ross is hoping that the team has grown enough in the offseason and preseason as the Indians open their schedule today with a league contest at Teays Valley.

"I hope we don't have a long adjustment period. You hope that in the practices and scrimmages that you've prepared them," Ross said.

"We played in a summer league and went to a varsity camp so they have been some of those situations where they need to come through. But it's tough to tell. I just hope I prepared them for it as best as I can."

The football team will play host Friday to Lakewood, which is 0-1 after losing its opener to Zanesville West Muskingum 18-7 last Friday.

The Indians defeated Lakewood last year 42-0.

Coached by Scott Elwer, Lakewood will feature the wing-T offense led by quarterback Jordan Gray and running backs Cody Menter and Zyon Mirise. Menter and Mirise provide a nice power-and-speed combination that Canal Winchester coach Phil Mauro said could create problems.

"You've got to very disciplined because there's a lot of misdirection," said Mauro, whose team beat Bexley 28-7 in its opener last Friday.

"You've got to follow your keys. And there's always the play-action and bootleg so there's a lot of areas we need to make sure we're disciplined in."

The one point where Lakewood could attack is the young Canal Winchester offensive line but it doesn't appear that will be the case. Lakewood runs a 4-3 scheme and does not blitz a lot. If Canal Winchester is able to control the line of the scrimmage, the game could get out of hand similar to last year.

It will be important for the Indians to get off to a good start.The Indians have had a tendency to be a second-half team andif they want to win they cannot allow Lakewood to stay in the game in the third and fourth quarters.

"Against Bexley, we did some good things in the first half but we kind of shot ourselves in the foot late in drives," Mauro said. "We want to be sound and we want to be balanced. And we want to continue to get better and finish off drives."

At a glance

Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Canal Winchester boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:


*Aug. 12 -- Finished second (305) behind Logan Elm (302) and ahead of Teays Valley (309) in MSL-Buckeye preseason tournament at Deer Creek

Aug. 14 -- Finished first (311) ahead of Logan Elm (321) and St. Charles (324) in Teays Valley Invitational at the Players Club

Aug. 15 -- Finished third (313) behind Granville (301) and Logan Elm (306) in Bloom-Carroll Invitational at Pine Hill

*Aug. 21 -- Defeated Teays Valley 164-165 at Foxfire

*Last Tuesday -- Played Fairfield Union

*Today -- At Circleville

Saturday -- At Pickerington North

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Hamilton Township


Aug. 12 -- Finished eighth (499) behind champion Logan Elm (416) in MSL preseason tournament at the Links at Echo Springs

Aug. 18 -- Played Heath

Aug. 21 -- Played Bexley

Last Monday -- Played Logan Elm

Today -- At Lakewood


Aug. 19 -- Def. Groveport 3-0 in opener

Aug. 21 -- Tied Pickerington Centralat 1

*Last Tuesday -- Played Teays Valley

Today -- Home vs. Centennial

Tuesday -- Home vs. London


Aug. 19 -- Def. Lakewood 4-0 in opener

Aug. 21 -- Def. Westland 3-1

*Last Tuesday -- Played Teays Valley

Today -- At Groveport


Aug. 20 -- Played Grove City

Last Monday -- Played Fisher Catholic

Last Wednesday -- Played Newark

*Today -- At Hamilton Township

Wednesday -- At Independence


*Today -- At Teays Valley

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Fairfield Union