As the second half of league play begins for the Grandview Heights High School girls volleyball team, coach Karla Fairbanks wants to see continued improvement from the Bobcats.
Grandview was 3-4 overall and in MSL-Cardinal Division matches before playing Fisher Catholic on Sept. 25. The Bobcats play a league match Thursday, Sept. 27, at home against Licking Heights.
"I think every match we are competing better and we get a little better each time," Fairbanks said. "We're going into the second half of the season and we want to finish in the top four in the league."
The Bobcats defeated Fisher Catholic 25-21, 25-15, 25-23 on Aug. 30 in the opener before losing to defending league champion Licking Heights 25-11, 25-10, 25-15 on Sept. 4. They then defeated Berne Union 17-25, 25-21, 25-9, 25-18 on Sept. 6.
Grandview plays at Berne Union on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
The Bobcats beat Millers-port 25-9, 25-15, 25-15 on Sept. 11 before losing to Liberty Union 25-13, 25-20, 25-11 on Sept. 13. They play at home against Liberty Union on Saturday, Sept. 29, and at Millersport on Oct. 4.
"When you go into the second round of (league) play, you know what to expect against teams that beat you," said Fairbanks, whose team also lost to West Jefferson 25-14, 25-18, 25-22 on Sept. 18 and Harvest Prep 25-18, 25-21, 25-15 on Sept. 20. "They are no longer different faces. You know who you are going against. You know their offense and their personnel. Losing to Liberty Union and West Jeff (and Harvest Prep) makes us hungry for wins in the second half."
Fairbanks said senior Maureen Flanagan (setter/outside hitter) led the team in both setting and hitting, and junior Grace VanFossen (back row) was the leader in digs.
"I think it helps that this group of seniors has been with me for the four years I have been here," Fairbanks said. "Spending that time with the program, they know what I expect and what they need to do to win."
The Bobcats have their first non-league match Oct. 8 at home against Columbus Academy. The match will be the program's annual Volley for the Cure fundraiser to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Football team to face Hornets
The football team improved to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Cardinal by defeating Millersport 57-0 on Sept. 21.
The Bobcats now go from a winless opponent to playing Friday, Sept. 28, at unbeaten Licking Heights, which also is the largest school on their schedule.
The Division II Hornets improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the league by defeating Liberty Union 28-0 on Sept. 21. They also defeated Watkins Memorial (13-12 on Aug. 24), Gallipolis Gallia Academy (21-7 on Aug. 31), Teays Valley (42-21 on Sept. 9) and Harvest Prep (35-13 on Sept. 14).
"They are big and fast. And big and fast," coach Jason Peters said. "We have to be very disciplined when we play them. Everyone has to understand what their job is and they need to do that job."
The Bobcats won 46-14 last season.
Licking Heights hasn't won a league title since 1992 and has its best start since 2007. That season, the Hornets won their first nine games before losing to West Jefferson 28-14 and finished 10-2 after losing to St. Clairsville 33-17 in a Division IV, Region 15 semifinal.
"(The Hornets) are like an electric football game where you put everyone in tight and they try to power you," Peters said of the Hornets' stack-I offense. "They will pound, pound, pound you, so you have to be disciplined. You have to be disciplined, but you also have to be awake or that's when they hit you with the pass."
Against Liberty Union, the Hornets had 249 yards rushing on 45 carries and 26 yards passing. Ron Carruthers-Kimball led the way with 17 carries for 122 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown. John Neary rushed for 97 yards on 16 carries with touchdowns of 37 and 2 yards.
"We have the effort, but we are making too many mental mistakes and we can't do that against Licking Heights," said senior Payton Jones, a running back and defensive back. "(The Hornets) are really good ... fast and powerful. We have to play hard, physical football and wrap up. Against a fast team, you have to be fast on defense."
Against Millersport, the Bobcats had 13 rushers carry the ball and seven players scored.
"We had six kids who rushed for between 25 and 30 yards and we threw the ball 19 times, which was about 25 percent of what we threw all of last year," Peters said.
Quarterback Nick Schopis scored on a 1-yard run and was 9-for-19 passing for 131 yards with a 13-yard touchdown to Leo Readey and a 20-yarder to Jones.
Jones had three receptions for 45 yards and also added a 16-yard touchdown run. Readey kicked a 23-yard field goal and four extra points. Benton Bair kicked two extra points.
Grandview also had 3-yard touchdown runs by Nick Durham, Ben Kinder and Tyler Mosier and a 5-yarder from Glenn Cheney.