Meghann Gogel's nerves were plentiful as the Marysville High School girls volleyball team gathered to begin preseason practice.

Meghann Gogel's nerves were plentiful as the Marysville High School girls volleyball team gathered to begin preseason practice.

Gogel, a senior, was handed the starting setter role that was left vacant with the graduation of four-year letterwinner Kristin Ratliff.

No pressure? No way.

"I was nervous at first," Gogel said. "But it's going well now. The girls helped a lot and eased me into it."

The support Gogel's teammates showed the first-year starter was not an anomaly. According to coach Lisa Boey, Marysville's team chemistry was "very good" entering the opener last Saturday against North Lewisburg Triad.

"We only had to replace three seniors and we have six returning letterwinners who have been in the varsity program a year and four of those letterwinners are seniors," Boey said. "They've grown up playing volleyball together and team chemistry is one of our stronger points this year."

Marysville finished 16-7 overall last season after losing to Gahanna 25-16, 25-3, 25-19 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

"Last year, I'd finally been there long enough to establish things," said Boey, who is in her fourth year as coach. "The girls got to know my system and the things I wanted them to do. We're not a big team as far as height so we focused on defense and built ourselves on being a scrappy team. That's what got us the 10th seed (in the district tournament). We never let the ball hit the ground. That propelled us to the season we had."

Despite losing three players to graduation, not much has changed for Marysville. The team continues to lack height with only one player nearing 5-foot-10.

"We've never been a tall program," senior outside hitter Hannah McShea said. "We've always had to work on defense and keeping the ball off the floor."

It's worked for the Monarchs, who finished tied for second in the OCC-Central Division last season with Westerville Central at 7-3 behind Pickerington North at 10-0 and ahead of Central Crossing and Thomas Worthington at 3-7 and Delaware at 0-10.

Marysville now is in the OCC-Cardinal with Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South.

"We're going up against teams like Olentangy whose front line is (taller than 6-0)," Boey said. "We'll rely strictly on scrappiness, defense, ball control and ball placement. It's very important to be a strong defensive team."

McShea leads the group of returning players as she has played the previous three seasons on varsity and was a co-captain as a junior.

"I've matured as a player and as a person over the four years," McShea said. "I learned how to be a leader and this year I get to do that. This year, we've all helped step up and be leaders on the court to take the place of Kristin. She was a huge leader."

When it comes to her skills as a volleyball player, McShea's versatility lends her to become the "go-to player," according to Boey.

"She plays all the way around from outside hitter to the back row," Boey said. "She's not very tall, but she can jump. She's very driven and has a solid all-around game both offensively and defensively. We'll rely a lot on her for big points on serves, hitting and digs. All that type of stuff."

Middle hitters Lauren Tullis and Lisa Rausch will provide Marysville more than one option on its attack.

"Lauren has really developed as a player these last couple of years," Boey said. "Lisa gives us a different look. She'll do a slide off of the setter, kind of a back set off the setter so she's not hitting everything out of the middle. She'll make the other middles move to try and block her."

Rounding out the roster are Shelby Allmon (libero), McKenzie Fordyce (outside hitter), Alyssa Iden (defensive specialist) and Jenny Jordan (outside hitter). Libero Logan Martindale will miss her senior season after suffering a knee injury playing softball this summer.

Marysville opens league play at Liberty on Tuesday followed by the home opener Thursday against Olentangy.

ĽThe boys golf team lost six graduates from last year's team. This season, Marysville has two seniors in Eli Demidovich and Tyler Wirtz with limited varsity experience.

"Last year, this team felt under pressure because they were seniors and it was a now-or-never type deal," coach Bob Ludwin said. "These new guys, when they make a mistake, they just keep playing."

Last season, Marysville finished eighth at the Division I sectional at Darby Creek with a 332 behind champion Watterson at 302. In the OCC-Central, the Monarchs were fourth at 7-13 behind champion Pickerington North at 17-3.

Joining Demidovich and Wirtz in the lineup are junior Danny Kerr and sophomores Ryan Hayes and Alex Miller.

"Right now, score-wise, Eli, Tyler and Ryan are our top three," Ludwin said. "That can change as I have young guys as well. They all realize they got some stuff to work on and are willing to get better. They know they're not finished products.

"Right now they're enjoying the experience."

Marysville opened Aug. 11 with a fourth-place finish at the Marysville Invitational with a 343 as Scioto (325) was first. Hayes shot an 82. On Aug. 13, the Monarchs competed in the first OCC-Cardinal round at Player's Club finishing second with a 330 behind Jerome (288). Demidovich and Hayes shot 82s. A day later, Marysville was second at the Bellefontaine Invitational with a 323 behind Buckeye Valley, and Aug. 15 the Monarchs finished 18th with a 336 at the Worthington Invitational won by Jerome (303).

Last Monday, Marysville finished seventh in the second OCC-Cardinal round at Darby Creek with a 345 as Jerome (282) was first. Marysville defeated Delaware 170-172 last Thursday and will play at Scioto Reserve on Monday against Olentangy Orange and Saturday at the Pine Hills Invitational.

At a glance

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Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Marysville boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls golf teams:

BOYS SOCCER

Last Monday --╩Defeated Bellefontaine 7-2 in opener

Last Thursday --╩Lost to Grove City 3-1. Riley Beeson-Kesler scored.

*Tuesday --╩At Olentangy Liberty

Thursday --╩Home vs. Delaware

GIRLS SOCCER

Last Monday --╩Def. Bellefontaine 6-1 in opener

Last Saturday --╩Played Hilliard Darby

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Liberty

Thursday --╩At Delaware

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 11 --╩Lost to Bellefontaine 4-1 in opener

Aug. 13 --╩Def. Grandview 3-2

*Aug. 14 --╩Lost to Liberty 5-0

Last Tuesday --╩Lost to Olentangy 5-0

Last Wednesday --╩Lost to Buckeye Valley 4-1

Last Thursday --╩Def. Whetstone 4-1. Winners were Samantha Cowgill and Carly Sampsel in singles and Ashley McDonald-Alex McNany and Shelby Lundstrom-Melena Starling in doubles.

*Tuesday --╩Home vs. Westerville Central

Wednesday -- Home vs. Kenton

*OCC-Cardinal contest

GIRLS GOLF

Last Monday --╩Finished third (351) in Top 14 at Bent Tree behind Watterson (323) and Pickerington North (346)

Last Tuesday --╩Finished first (181) at Royal American ahead of Pickerington Central (208) and Westerville North (249). Airaka Bernacchi was medalist with a 43.

Last Wednesday --╩Finished second (333) to Dublin Coffman (325) in OCC-Capital tournament at Mentel Memorial. Tess Fraser finished in a three-way tie for first with a 79.

Last Thursday --╩Played New Albany at Marysville Golf Club

Wednesday --╩At Oakhaven vs. Olentangy

Thursday --╩At The Lakes vs. Olentangy Orange