Jerome hopes to continue upward trend
Scioto's Satsuki Kubo tries to spike the ball past Jerome's Leah Staursky (left) and Emma Hallowell on Oct. 2. Kubo and Hallowell are expected to be key returnees for their respective teams next year, and Staursky is one of five seniors for the Celtics. Buy This Photo
Dublin Jerome High School girls volleyball coach Katherine Fogg is hoping her team can build on the improvement it made this season.
The Celtics finished 7-15 overall after going 4-15 last season.
"We almost doubled our win total compared to last year and it was nice for the girls to get the taste of winning more often back in their blood," Fogg said. "We're looking to continue building on what we accomplished this year and I'm hoping we'll do even better next year."
Jerome won four of its first five matches, including a 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 26-24 win over Hilliard Darby in an OCC-Cardinal Division match Aug. 30.
But the Celtics went 3-14 over the remainder of the season, including a 24-26, 25-14, 25-17, 26-28, 15-12 loss to 13th-seeded Thomas Worthington in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15. Jerome was seeded 21st.
"We had a great start and then we struggled to win," Fogg said. "But after we lost to Worthington Kilbourne (20-25, 19-25, 25-9, 25-13, 25-13 in a league match Sept. 11), we beat them the second time around (25-23, 25-18, 14-25, 18-25, 17-15 on Oct. 4) in a great match."
Jerome went 4-10 in the OCC-Cardinal to place seventh, behind Westerville Central (14-0), Hilliard Bradley (11-3), Kilbourne (9-5), Darby (6-8), Scioto (5-9) and Westerville North (5-9) and ahead of Westerville South (3-11).
The Celtics lose five senior starters in outside hitters Meghan Casey and Sydney Rapp, setter Kori Johnson, libero Shelby Russell and middle hitter Leah Staursky.
Johnson was named honorable mention all-district and all-league and Russell was second-team all-league.
Expected to return are juniors Emma Hallowell (opposite hitter) and Lexi Murphy (middle hitter), sophomore Gabby Garren (middle hitter) and freshmen Sophie Mercker (outside hitter) and Kyra Wisniewski (defensive specialist).
"Give credit to our seniors for their leadership," Fogg said. "Our freshmen and sophomores are strong. They all play club volleyball and they will add to the dynamics of our team."
Scioto shows marked improvement
Scioto finished 11-13 after going 3-20 in 2011.
"This year was all about becoming a team," coach Jackie Helm said. "We spent a lot of energy in learning what it means to be good teammates and supporting each other. Not surprisingly, as we became more team-oriented, our record improved."
Scioto was seeded 16th in the Division I district tournament and defeated 18th-seeded New Albany 25-16, 25-14, 25-12 in the first round Oct. 16.
Junior setter Casey Mandeville had 29 assists, sophomore outside hitter Satsuki Kubo had 10 kills and five aces and senior libero Alexa Pothoven had 21 digs.
The Irish then lost to 11th-seeded Grove City 25-17, 30-28, 25-15 in the second round Oct. 18.
"The biggest highlight of the season was our first round tournament win against New Albany," Helm said. "They were seeded just below us and could have taken an open slot in the tournament draw, but instead they elected to play us. We felt like we had something to prove and played our best volleyball of the season on that night."
The Irish lose three senior starters in Pothoven and defensive specialists Kelly Clark and Taylor Martin. Pothoven finished the season with 340 digs and was second-team all-district and all-league.
Expected to return are Kubo, Mandeville, juniors Kelsey Esterline (outside hitter) and McKenzie Schuster (middle hitter) and sophomores Ashton Pfieffer (outside hitter) and Maddie Wilcox (middle hitter).
Kubo had 214 kills and was second-team all-league, and Schuster had 49 blocks and was honorable mention all-league.
"I am really excited about the future of the entire program," Helm said. "We had a lot of younger kids get varsity experience this year and I think that can only help us in the long run. Our freshmen team only lost one match all season and our middle school program is solid. Most of our kids will spend the offseason playing club volleyball, which will only help them get better. Spending a year focusing on team has our program back on track and will allow us to focus on improving our fundamentals and skills heading into next season."