The Hilliard Bradley High School girls volleyball team is coming off a breakthrough season in which it finished 17-7 overall and reached a Division II district final, where the Jaguars lost to Hartley 25-13, 25-16, 25-22.

The Hilliard Bradley High School girls volleyball team is coming off a breakthrough season in which it finished 17-7 overall and reached a Division II district final, where the Jaguars lost to Hartley 25-13, 25-16, 25-22.

Second-year coach RyAnne Ufferman said if the players want to take the next step, they must learn to focus.

"Our weakness is we get really down on ourselves when we are not playing well," said Ufferman, whose team opened with a 22-25, 25-19, 25-20, 26-24 loss to Jonathan Alder on Aug. 27. "We are pushing for the 'next ball' mentality instead of dwelling on a mistake we made four balls ago."

After playing at New Albany in its OCC-Capital Division opener Aug. 30, Bradley travels to Franklin Heights for a league match Thursday, Sept. 1, plays in the Lancaster Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 3, and visits Big Walnut for a league match Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The Jaguars return six letterwinners in sophomore captains Jennifer Espenschied (5-foot-6 libero) and Christy Tieman (5-6 setter) and seniors Molly Blue (5-9 outside hitter/setter), Courtney Braun (6-1 middle blocker), Chloe Long (5-9 outside hitter) and Amanda McEvoy (5-3 defensive specialist).

Blue was second-team all-OCC-Capital and second-team all-district last season.

Juniors Christina Hammonds (5-5 defensive specialist), Karlee Hehemann (6-1 middle blocker) and Mariah Sayre (5-7 defensive specialist), sophomores Lexi Jacobs (5-8 outside hitter) and Delaney Mandel (5-2 defensive specialist) and freshmen Raimey Benson (6-0 outside hitter) and Darby Connors (6-0 middle blocker) are expected to contribute.

"We have kids who are very good in their positions," Ufferman said. "We just need everyone to perform consistently at that level. We can't have (only) two standout athletes in a match."

Bradley went 10-4 in the OCC-Capital last season to finish third behind Big Walnut (14-0) and New Albany (11-3) and ahead of Olentangy Orange (8-8), Mount Vernon (6-8), Dela-ware (5-9), Franklin Heights (1-13) and Watkins Memorial (1-13).

Big Walnut won lost the Division II state final to Mentor Lake Catholic 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23.

Davidson coach Betty Cameron, in her 13th year leading the program, believes the Wildcats must cut down on the lapses and unforced errors that hurt in last season's 8-15 finish.

Davidson lost to Chillicothe 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

"Last season, we were just young and inexperienced. We made a lot of youthful mistakes," Cameron said. "(Eliminating) those unforced errors are going to be the key for us. We improved on that from last year, but we still have are learning to control the ball on our side."

The Wildcats opened with a 25-17, 25-12, 25-19 loss to Mansfield Madison on Aug. 27.

After traveling to Teays Valley on Aug. 29 and Westland in its OCC-Central opener Aug. 30, Davidson will play host to Thomas Worthington on Thursday, Sept. 1, the Sharon Huesman Memorial on Saturday, Sept. 3, and Central Crossing on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The Wildcats return two seniors in defensive specialist/setters Jordan Hampel and Jenna Griffin, as well as juniors Katie Campbell (middle hitter), Molly Murphy (setter) and Alex Netto (defensive specialist).

Hampel was selected second-team all-district and all-OCC-Central and Campbell was honorable mention all-league last season.

Cameron also is expecting contributions from juniors Bri Ekanem (middle hitter), Gretchen Farrenkopf (opposite side hitter), Jordyn Schultz (defensive specialist), Haleigh Stevens (defensive specialist) and Hayleigh Tomek (outside hitter), sophomore Lindsey Cassell (middle hitter) and freshmen Olivia Canestraro (outside hitter) and Meghan Murphy (outside hitter).

Davidson (4-10) finished sixth in the OCC-Central last season behind Dublin Coffman (14-0), Upper Arlington (12-2), Thomas Worthington (9-5), Worthington Kilbourne (9-5) and Central Crossing (6-8) and ahead of Darby (2-12) and Westland (0-14).

"Probably Coffman is going to be the team to beat in our league," Cameron said. "Hopefully, we can compete in the OCC this year. We need to be more consistent with our offensive plays and keep focused. We can't make those mistakes."

Darby hasn't had a winning season since it went 13-10 in 2007, so teaching the Panthers how to win is the first thing on second-year coach Liz Rundio's list of priorities.

"We need to get that feeling of winning," said Rundio, whose team finished 3-17 overall last year after losing to Grove City 25-13, 25-11, 30-28 in the first round of the Division I district tournament. "They don't know how it feels to win two or three matches in a row or have a good season. We need that desire."

After opening the season at Kilbourne on Aug. 30, the Panthers will play host to Central Crossing on Thursday, Sept. 1, and visit Upper Arlington on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The team lost only two 2011 graduates, leaving Darby with 11 players who saw varsity time last year.

Senior Rachel Ross (5-10 middle hitter), junior Emily Krumpe (5-11 outside/right-side) and sophomore Ellie Mathews (5-5 defensive specialist/libero) are expected to lead the Panthers.

Rundio also is expecting contributions from seniors Nettie Benjamin (5-9 setter), Marissa Everson (5-10 middle hitter), Sam Schroeder (5-3 defensive specialist/libero) and Lauren Snyder (5-9 right-side/outside hitter), juniors Jordan Alexander (5-9 right-side hitter), Kristen Chance (6-1 outside hitter/right-side hitter), Briana Moorman (5-8 outside hitter) and Sydney Palsgrove (5-7 setter) and freshman Maddie Platfoot (5-8 outside hitter).

"The returning players have a better understanding of how a varsity team plays and what it takes to play at that level," Rundio said. "They've done a good job in showing the younger players the ropes."