Central Crossing High School girls volleyball coach Julie Evans scouted potential future opponents before her team played its Division I district tournament second-round match last Saturday at Hamilton Township.

Central Crossing High School girls volleyball coach Julie Evans scouted potential future opponents before her team played its Division I district tournament second-round match last Saturday at Hamilton Township.

Evans watched some of Pickerington North's 25-7, 25-12, 25-20 win over Westerville South and came away impressed with the second-seeded Panthers, who will play the Comets at 6 p.m. today in a district semifinal at Licking Heights.

North has won 23 consecutive matches since losing its season opener Aug. 28 against Rocky River Magnificat.

"They're a very consistent team," Evans said. "They have a lot of big hitters at the net. ... We have to make sure we keep the ball alive."

Evans said her squad, which improved to 12-12 overall by defeating Lancaster 18-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13 last Saturday, can't match North player for player.

"They have more consistency at more positions. That's been a big struggle for us, staying consistent at all our positions," she said. "If we can really work at being consistent at all our positions when we play (today), we'll have a chance at staying with them."

Consistency, however, proved elusive against Lancaster, which pushed the Comets to five games.

"It was complete back and forth the entire time," Evans said. "One of us would go on a run and get a few points, then it would be the other team's turn. Even that fifth game we were up 10-2 and Lancaster slowly fought back."

It was the first time in three tries this season that the Comets won a five-game match. They lost the previous ones to Athens in the season opener Aug. 28 and to Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 7.

Evans singled out the play of outside hitter Miranda Mounts, middle hitter Olivia Davis, middle hitter Ally Boggs and libero Megan Hendershot as being key to last Saturday's win.

The main goal against Pickerington North will be "eliminating our errors," said Evans, whose team opened the district tournament by beating Mount Vernon 25-19, 25-13, 25-15 on Oct. 19.

"(Last Saturday) we just had too many of them back to back, and it allowed Lancaster to stay in the game," she said.

The winner advances to play fifth-seeded Thomas Worthington or seventh-seeded Westerville North in a district final at 3 p.m. Saturday at Licking Heights.

•Grove City got off to a rocky start in its 30-28, 25-18, 15-25, 25-16 second-round tournament win over 11th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne last Saturday at Columbus East.

The ninth-seeded Greyhounds were excited that they outlasted the Wolves in the first game, "but we knew if we wanted to take the match we had to play a lot better than we started out," coach Alan Pham said.

Except for 11 unforced errors in the third game, the Greyhounds responded.

"We can't give teams 11 points," Pham said. "They came out (in the fourth game) and were more focused."

The Greyhounds were 19-5 overall before last Wednesday's district semifinal against third-seeded Olentangy Liberty at Licking Heights. The winner plays fourth-seeded Upper Arlington or sixth-seeded Watterson in a district final at 1 p.m. Saturday at Licking Heights.

Grove City opened the tournament by defeating Hilliard Darby 25-13, 25-11, 30-28 on Oct. 19.

Pham said Grove City's success depends on senior outside hitter Ellen Conti and senior setter Amber Kennett. Conti leads the team with 57 aces, 168 digs and 351 kills, while Kennett has a team-high 664 assists.

"Those two have been key to our offense. Our whole season has revolved around them. They are the heart of our team. When Ellen or Amber has a bad game, we struggle," Pham said.