Optimism grows around Bradley program
Hilliard Bradley High School girls volleyball coach RyAnne Ufferman is excited about her team's prospects for next season.
With only two seniors on their roster, the Jaguars finished 21-5 overall, placed second in the OCC-Cardinal Division and reached a Division I district final before losing to top-seeded Dublin Coffman 23-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-21 on Oct. 27 at Big Walnut.
Seeded fifth, Bradley opened the district tournament with a 25-10, 25-14, 25-17 win over Zanesville on Oct. 15. It then defeated Walnut Ridge 25-7, 25-7, 25-7 in the second round Oct. 17 and beat seventh-seeded Olentangy 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-18 in a district semifinal Oct. 24 before falling to Coffman.
"We have set expectations for what we believe Bradley volleyball should be," said Ufferman, who completed her fourth season leading the program.
"We have a lot of respect for the Dublin Coffman program, and to play a team of that level and play well with a team that has only two seniors ... that's something to be excited about."
Bradley loses seniors Karlee Hehemann (middle hitter) and Mariah Sayre (outside hitter).
"Karlee and Mariah are good, solid kids," Ufferman said.
"They came in and worked hard every day to make us better."
Bradley went 11-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish behind Westerville Central (14-0) and ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (9-5), Darby (5-9), Dublin Scioto (5-9), Westerville North (5-9), Dublin Jerome (4-10) and Westerville South (3-11).
Junior libero Jennifer Espenschied was named first-team all-district and all-league and junior setter Christy Tieman was second-team all-district and first-team all-league.
"Jen and Christy were our captains and I have never coached two kids who compete like they do," Ufferman said. "They are good leaders, but they need to become vocal and I think that will come next year."
Sophomore outside hitter Raimey Benson was second-team all-league, sophomore middle hitter Darby Connors was special mention all-league and junior setter/defensive specialist Aly Cecutti was honorable mention all-league.
Also expected back are junior Lexi Jacobs (outside hitter), sophomores Alexa Dixon (outside hitter), Kaylee Ewen (outside hitter) and Meredith Miller (outside hitter) and freshman Haylie Phillips (outside hitter).
Wildcats look to build on season
Davidson finished 16-8 overall and went 10-4 in the OCC-Central to finish third, behind Coffman (14-0) and Olentangy Liberty (12-2) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (8-6), Upper Arlington (6-8), Marysville (3-11), Westland (2-12) and Central Crossing (1-13).
Seeded ninth in the Division I district tournament, the Wildcats defeated Marion-Franklin 25-7, 25-8, 25-11 in the first round Oct. 16 before losing to 14th-seeded Chillicothe 22-25, 18-25, 25-21, 26-24, 15-12 in the second round Oct. 18.
"This was the best season we've had in three years," said coach Betty Cameron, who completed her 14th season leading the program. "We're looking forward to improve not only on our record (next season), but where we finished in the league and in the Central District tournament."
Davidson loses four seniors, including middle hitter Katie Campbell and outside hitter Molly Murphy.
Murphy was first-team all-district and all-league and Campbell was second-team all-district and all-league.
"Each of the seniors brought something different to the program," Cameron said.
"All of them had good leadership qualities and led the whole program in a positive direction."
Among those expected to return are sophomore setter Meghan Munson (second-team all-league) and sophomore outside hitter Olivia Canestraro (honorable mention all-league).
Also expected back are juniors Angel Garbrandt (middle hitter) and Kaitlyn Hocutt (defensive specialist), sophomores Katie Fugitt (outside hitter), Maddie Griffin (setter), Ally Litzinger (defensive specialist), Kendall Lombard (outside hitter) and Anne Schroeder (middle hitter) and freshman Ryann Potter (middle hitter).
Another expected returnee is sophomore outside hitter Meghan Murphy, who missed the season because of a back injury after starting as a freshman.
"We have girls coming back who are young with experience on varsity and have the willingness to get better," Cameron said.
"We will have to work on our quickness, communication on the court, blocking and overall consistency."