During the offseason, Central Crossing High School girls volleyball coach Julie Evans asked her players to diversify their skills so that they could play multiple positions.

During the offseason, Central Crossing High School girls volleyball coach Julie Evans asked her players to diversify their skills so that they could play multiple positions.

The Comets complied with the second-year coach's wishes while competing in summer leagues and returned as more well-rounded players.

As a result, Evans was able to juggle her lineup throughout the preseason in an effort to help offset the loss of two returning starters in senior middle hitter Olivia Davis and senior setter/outside hitter Kaeli Parcel, who will miss several matches while recovering from surgeries.

Davis isn't expected to return until at least mid-September after having her lower jaw reconstructed.

Parcel is expected to miss at least half the regular season after having surgery in June to repair torn knee ligaments.

The Comets, who finished 12-13 overall last year, opened Aug. 30 with an OCC-Central Division match against Dublin Coffman.

"The girls worked hard on learning to play different positions during the summer, and now most of them have a variety of talents and are comfortable playing multiple positions," Evans said. "That's helped a lot because I've been able to move girls around to replace the girls we have out injured at the moment. And the girls' versatility will be good for us in the long run because we're going to try out some different lineups to try to become a better team."

Seven letterwinners are back in seniors Kali Basenback (outside hitter), Ally Boggs (outside hitter), Davis, Jordan Huth (setter), Parcel and Kendal Witherup (middle hitter) and junior libero Megan Hendershot.

Hendershot was special mention all-league and second-team all-district last year.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Madi Brush (outside hitter/opposite hitter), Emilee Downing (middle hitter), Maddy Jordan (outside hitter) and Lacy Patrick (defense/opposite hitter) and juniors Emily Albaugh (defensive specialist), Brittany Conner (middle hitter/opposite hitter) and Hannah Miller (outside hitter/opposite hitter).

"The girls are working hard to quicken our offense to make everything faster," Evans said.

Last year, the Comets finished fifth (6-8) in the OCC-Central behind Coffman (14-0), Upper Arlington (12-2), Thomas Worthington (9-5) and Worthington Kilbourne (9-5) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (4-10), Hilliard Darby (2-12) and Westland (0-14).

Central Crossing won its first two Division I district tournament matches, defeating Mount Vernon 25-19, 25-13, 25-15 and Lancaster 18-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13 before falling to second-seeded Pickerington North 25-8, 25-9, 25-12 in a semifinal.

"Our goal is to finish in the top half of our league to put ourselves in a better position for the postseason," Evans said. "There's definitely a chance for us to move up considering how much our girls have improved this year."

Grove City finished 19-6 overall last year, losing to Olentangy Liberty 17-25, 25-17, 25-12, 25-21 in a Division I district semifinal.

The Greyhounds opened with an OCC-Ohio match against Reynoldsburg on Aug. 30 and will play Thursday, Sept. 1, at Groveport in another league match.

Three starters are back in senior outside hitters Kendra Parmenter and Sara Radich and junior middle hitter Keely Creamer.

Junior Anna Conti will start at setter and junior Madison McCarty will start at middle hitter.

Completing the roster are senior Genna Crump (setter) and juniors Katie Faught (outside hitter/opposite hitter), Ambyr George (libero), Haley McDonald (opposite hitter) and Alison Waddle (opposite hitter/middle hitter).

Radich was honorable mention all-league and all-district a year ago.

"We have some good players back and we're looking to pick up where we left off last season," fourth-year coach Alan Pham said.

Last year, Grove City went 11-3 in the OCC-Ohio, placing second behind Pickerington North (14-0) and ahead of Newark (10-4), Gahanna (8-6), Lancaster (7-7), Pickerington Central (4-10), Reynoldsburg (2-12) and Groveport (0-14).

The ninth-seeded Greyhounds won their first two district tournament matches, 25-13, 25-11, 30-28 over Darby and 30-28, 25-18, 15-25, 25-16 over Kilbourne before losing to third-seeded Liberty.

"Pickerington North's always one of the top teams in the state and Newark, Gahanna and Lancaster are usually good as well, so the OCC is going to be a good challenge," Pham said. "We're hoping to go a little further in the district tournament this year because we feel like we're making progress and building on what we accomplished last year."