Dublin Jerome High School girls volleyball coach Katherine Fogg is 5-foot-4, but she didn't have to tilt her head far back to look many of her players in the eyes during Jerome's first four seasons.

Dublin Jerome High School girls volleyball coach Katherine Fogg is 5-foot-4, but she didn't have to tilt her head far back to look many of her players in the eyes during Jerome's first four seasons.

With three middle hitters who are 5-11 this season, Fogg is pleased her team finally has some height.

"We still don't have any 6-footers, but it's nice to have some height to work with," said Fogg, whose opened last Monday by beathing Teays Valley 25-14, 25-19, 24-26, 25-20 and played last Tuesday against Westerville North. Jerome will play host today to Olentangy Liberty and Tuesday to Westerville South.

"It definitely helps to have a couple of girls who are 5-11 at the net instead of trying to block 6-footers with girls who are 5-5 or 5-6. We always pride ourselves on playing good defense, and this should help."

Last year, Jerome finished 14-9 after losing to Newark 24-26, 25-12, 25-15, 25-22 in the second round of the Division I district tournament

Returning to lead Jerome is senior middle hitter Karey Carr, who had 123 kills in 10 OCC-Cardinal Division matches and was first-team all-league a year ago.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Andrea Fitzgerald (outside hitter), Melissa Kander (setter), Nicole Parentae (defensive specialist), Karrie Williams (defensive specialist) and Sarah Young (outside hitter) and juniors Megan Hilton (middle hitter), Ashley Hudock (middle hitter), Jackie Kovatch (opposite hitter) and Layne Schoener (opposite hitter).

"Almost everyone on our team has at least one season of varsity experience and that should make a big difference," Fogg said.

The Celtics finished fourth at 5-5 in the OCC-Cardinal a year ago behind Westerville South (8-2), Worthington Kilbourne (8-2) and Olentangy (7-3) and ahead of Mount Vernon (2-8) and Pickerington Central (0-10).

Jerome will compete in the OCC-Cardinal this season with Marysville, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Scioto, Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South.

"Our new OCC should create a lot of crosstown rivalries and get more fans to the games," Fogg said. "Olentangy has a good team and Marysville is tough, too. Of course, Scioto is always good, so we'll have great competition. Playing those kind of teams twice a season should push us to be at our best for the (postseason) tournaments."

Scioto finished 21-6 overall last year after losing to Cincinnati Mother of Mercy 25-18, 25-21, 25-13 in a Division I regional semifinal.

The Irish opened last Tuesday against Olentangy and will play host today to Westerville South before playing Tuesday at Westerville North.

Returning to lead Scioto are senior middle hitter Ally Nagle, sophomore outside hitter Julia Mindlina and junior opposite hitter Jaimee O'Connell.

Last year, Nagle finished with 226 kills, 22 aces and 30 solo blocks and was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-OCC-Capital. Mindlina had 214 digs and was honorable mention all-OCC-Capital, and O'Connell finished with 16 solo blocks and 25 assisted blocks.

Rounding out the lineup are seniors Sarah Crum (middle hitter) and Caitlin Rabold (opposite hitter), juniors Sarah Enright (middle hitter), Sam Melchor (setter), Lauren Trego (opposite hitter) and Nina Zalenski (opposite hitter) and sophomores Maria Destadio (defensive specialist), Kenzie Dyson (setter) and Kim Trask (outside hitter).

However, two former starters didn't return, as senior outside hitter Casey Johanns transferred to Coffman and senior setter Nikki Destadio decided not to play volleyball.

"We're rebuilding at the setter position so practices have been a little slower than they were last year," coach Amber Brown said. "But the girls have a lot of energy and they're always ready to practice and play."

Last year, the Irish beat Olentangy Liberty 26-24, 15-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-10 on their way to tying Liberty for first in the OCC-Capital at 9-1.Scioto has won four consecutive league titles.

"Olentangy is going to be a big contender in the OCC, for sure," Brown said. "Olentangy has some very good players and they killed us in a summer tournament, but we ran into them again the very next weekend and lost by only two points so we're expecting to contend, too. Jerome's another great team, and I'm looking forward to playing Westerville North because that's my alma mater.

"As for the district tournament, we have high expectations coming off a district title. We have five letterwinners back, so we have experienced players to lead us through the tournament."

Coffman, which will open today at Westland, finished 24-3 overall last year after losing to Watterson 25-18, 25-23, 25-16 in a Division I regional semifinal.

The Shamrocks lost only one starter in graduate Ashleigh Slemmer. The Oakland University recruit had up a single-season program-record 361 kills and was the district and OCC-Buckeye Player of the Year.

Coffman has experience and height, including two fourth-year players in opposite hitter Lauren Bell (6-0) and Johanns (5-8).

Bell, who was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district last year, has made a verbal commitment to High Point University in North Carolina.

Johanns had 132 kills, a .890 serve-receive percentage, 60 aces and 340 digs and was second-team all-league playing for Scioto last season.

Coffman features three third-year players -- senior libero Kelli Axner (5-8), junior outside hitter Andrea Baylin (6-1) and senior defensive specialist Megan Albers (5-8). Baylin was second-team all-league last year.

The Shamrocks also have five second-year players -- senior middle hitter Carly Weisenbach (6-3), junior middle hitter Bailey Farthing (6-1), junior outside hitter Alex Blair (6-2), sophomore opposite hitter Meredith Stranges (6-1) and sophomore setter Lindsey Zitzke (5-10).

Last year, Zitzke was first-team all-league and second-team all-district, and Weisenbach was honorable mention all-league.

Filling out the roster are sophomore setter Stacy Axner (5-7) and sophomore defensive specialist Linda Cardozo (5-6).

"We have so many weapons," coach Mary Anne Souder said. "We have so much height and experience, and our bench is strong. The kids push each other hard in practice but they're good friends off the court."

A year ago, the Shamrocks defeated Hilliard Davidson 25-8, 17-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-8 on their way to winning the OCC-Buckeye title at 9-1 ahead of Davidson (8-2).

Coffman will compete in the OCC-Central this season along with Central Crossing, Hilliard Darby, Davidson, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington, Westland and Worthington Kilbourne.

"It will be fun to get to play both Hilliard Davidson and Hilliard Darby in our league because they're our big rivals," Souder said.

Jerome coach Katherine Fogg talks with her team last Saturday before a match against Gahanna.

Kelli Axner, a senior libero, is one of three third-year players for the Shamrocks.

At a glance

COFFMAN

Coach: Mary Anne Souder, third season

Next match: Today at Westland

Key players: Andrea Baylin, Lauren Bell, Alex Blair, Carly Weisenbach and Lindsey Zitzke

JEROME

Coach: Katherine Fogg, fifth season

Next match: Today vs. Olentangy Liberty

Key players: Karey Carr and Sarah Young

SCIOTO

Coach: Amber Brown, first season

Next match: Today vs. Westerville South

Key players: Julia Mindlina, Ally Nagle, Jaimee O'Connell and Caitlin Rabold