Defense has been a key ingredient for the Grandview Heights High School girls volleyball team, which was hoping it also would provide a recipe for success in the postseason.
The 18th-seeded Bobcats opened the Division III district tournament Oct. 16 at 16th-seeded Africentric.
"Our strength, all season, has been defense," coach Ed Hine said. "And as the season has progressed, our defense has improved significantly. Because we are a bit weak in terms of blocking and hitting, our defense is key to the success we experience."
The Bobcats were 6-13 overall before playing Africentric. They finished sixth in the MSL-Ohio Division at 5-9, behind West Jefferson (14-0), London (11-3), Worthington Christian (9-5), Columbus Academy (8-6) and Bexley (6-8) and ahead of Madison Plains (3-11) and Whitehall (0-14).
The Grandview-Africentric winner plays at second-seeded Fairbanks on Saturday, Oct. 19, in the second round, with the winner advancing to a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Olentangy against third-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek, 17th-seeded Cardington or 21st-seeded Columbus School for Girls. The district final is Oct. 26 at Olentangy.
The Bobcats have not played any of these teams this season.
"We have found that defending tall, hard-hitting opponents to be difficult," Hine said. "Those types of hitters are difficult for us to block, and that also makes defending the rest of the court a challenge."
Grandview won its regular-season finale, defeating Whitehall 25-12, 25-22, 25-16 on Oct. 10 in league play.
"Our two seniors, outside hitters Grace VanFossen and Maddie Bills, really played well for us," Hine said.
Boys soccer team falls short in MSL
The boys soccer team lost to Bexley 1-0 on Oct. 10, ending the Bobcats' consecutive league championship streak at 13.
Grandview finished fourth (5-2) in the tightly contested MSL-Ohio, behind Bexley (5-0-2), Academy (5-1-1) and Worthington Christian (5-1-1) and ahead of Grove City Christian (2-5), London (2-5), West Jefferson (1-5-1) and Whitehall (0-6-1).
Senior goalkeeper Josh Keller had three saves against Bexley.
"We have been having trouble settling down with the ball," coach Brian Neidenthal said. "We're getting too excited trying to make a play. We need to slow down and be confident that we can make that play."
The second-seeded Bobcats have a first-round bye in the Division III district tournament and play at home Saturday, Oct. 19, against 19th-seeded Grove City Christian or 20th-seeded Northside Christian in the second round. Grandview defeated Grove City Christian 8-0 on Sept. 26 and has not played Northside Christian.
The winner plays 11th-seeded Madison Christian, 13th-seeded West Jefferson or 14th-seeded Northridge on Wednesday, Oct. 23, in a district semifinal at the home of the higher seed. The Bobcats defeated West Jefferson 10-1 on Sept. 12 and have not played Madison Christian or Northridge.
The district final is Oct. 26 at Canal Winchester.
Last year, Grandview lost to Academy 2-1 in a district final.
On Oct. 8, junior midfielder Ike Dunaway scored twice in a 6-0 league win over Whitehall. Keller came out of goal to score once and senior midfielder Sam Claypool, junior forward Ryan McHugh and sophomore midfielder Callum McNamara all scored one goal. Sophomore goalie Jannick Hiltrop had four saves.
Girls soccer team wins district opener
The third-seeded girls soccer team was 13-1-3 overall after opening the Division III district tournament with a 10-0 win over 12th-seeded Madison Plains on Oct. 14.
Freshman midfielder Maria Claypool scored four goals and junior forward Jessica Umbarger scored three.
Grandview plays host to seventh-seeded Ready on Thursday, Oct. 17, in the second round. The Bobcats have not played Ready this season, but they lost to the Silver Knights 1-0 in a district final last season.
The winner plays Tuesday, Oct. 22, in a district semifinal against second-seeded Fairbanks or ninth-seeded Tree of Life at the home of the higher seed. Grandview played Fairbanks to a scoreless tie Sept. 24 and defeated Tree of Life 5-0 on Sept. 26.
The district final is Oct. 26 at Canal Winchester.
The Bobcats won their regular-season finale, defeating Bexley 2-0 on Oct. 10 in an MSL-Ohio game. Sophomore midfielder Maria Murphy and freshman defender Lizzy Van Deusen scored and sophomore goalie Izzy Esber had nine saves.
Grandview finished second (4-1-1) in the MSL-Ohio behind Worthington Christian (6-0) and ahead of Bexley (4-2), Academy (3-2-1), West Jefferson (2-4), London (1-5) and Madison Plains (0-6).
Evans leads all boys runners in MSL-Ohio
Senior Luke Evans ran 16 minutes, 30 seconds to win the MSL-Ohio boys cross country meet Oct. 12 at London Country Club.
The boys team was third (66) behind Bexley (38) and Academy (58) and ahead of Whitehall (102), Worthington Christian (117) and London (140).
Bexley's Ian Kellogg was second (17:07) and Grandview junior Eli Reed was third (17:21).
Junior Peter Mathes (19th, 19:31) was next for the Bobcats, followed by junior Josh Clark (21st, 20:10), freshman Ben Rehbeck (22nd, 20:13), freshman Zach Martin (25th, 20:26) and junior Owen McCormick (28th, 20:45).
Evans and Reed were first-team all-league and Mathes was honorable mention.
The girls team finished third (57) behind Academy (45) and Bexley (48) and ahead of London (85) and Worthington Christian (136).
Junior Ali Lachey finished fourth (19:52) behind champion Sarra Taylor (19:26) of London.
Junior Madison Osborne (eighth, 21:26) was next for Grandview, followed by senior Halli Bair (12th, 21:43), junior Emma Hecker (13th, 21:46), sophomore Emma Wheeler (20th, 23:01) and junior Emma Mihocik (21st, 23:38).
Lachey was first-team all-league, Osborne and Bair were on the second team and Hecker was honorable mention.
The Bobcats compete Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Division III district meet at Watkins Memorial.
The top four teams and top 16 runners from both the boys and girls meets advance to the regional meet Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Last year, both teams qualified for regional, as the girls won a district title and the boys placed second.
Football team getting set for West Jefferson
The football team fell to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the MSL-Ohio after losing to Whitehall 36-0 on Oct. 11.
The Bobcats have another league game at home Friday, Oct. 18, against West Jefferson.
The Roughriders improved to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the MSL-Ohio by defeating Academy 38-17 on Oct. 11.
Last season, Grandview lost to West Jefferson 35-17 in MSL-Cardinal competition. Senior quarterback Nick Schopis completed 14 of 26 passes for 237 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and junior place-kicker Leo Readey added a 25-yard field goal.