With five returnees, including four who had significant playing time last season, second-year Marysville High School girls volleyball coach Jenny Burton expects a turnaround this season.
Last year, the Monarchs finished 5-17 overall and 4-10 in the OCC-Cardinal Division and lost to Olentangy Orange 25-16, 15-25, 27-25, 30-28 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Marysville, which opened by playing host to the Marysville Spike-Off Invitational on Aug. 25, returns seniors Emily Euans (middle blocker), Mikaela Schaeffer (right-side hitter), Maddy Mason (setter), Hannah Stanley (setter) and Riley Tangeman (outside hitter).
Stanley, who is sharing captain duties with Euans, was honorable mention all-league last season. Mason split time between the junior varsity and varsity last year.
"We do have really strong hitters, so if we get that defense up there, then we're really going to see a competitive team," Burton said.
Also on the team are senior Josalynn Weikle (defensive specialist), juniors Abby Butler (defensive specialist/libero), Kelsey Gugel (right-side hitter), Katelyn Karcher (defensive specialist) and Mollie Walters (defensive specialist/libero) and freshmen Veronica George (outside hitter) and Monica Miller (middle blocker).
Marysville lost eight players from a year ago to graduation, including middle hitter Janelle Yunker, who was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district last season.
"Our biggest strength right now is our team chemistry," Burton said. "The girls work really well together. They have really good attitudes toward each other and toward me, so that should be a really positive thing. They're able to pick each other up on the court if we're not playing very well. They look to each other a lot for that."
Marysville begins OCC-Central play on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Westland.
As part of OCC realignment this summer, Marysville and Olentangy Liberty moved to the OCC-Central and Hilliard Darby and Worthington Kilbourne shifted to the OCC-Cardinal.
Also in the OCC-Central are Central Crossing, Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Davidson, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington and Westland.
Last season in the OCC-Cardinal, Marysville tied Dublin Jerome for fifth, behind Westerville Central (14-0), Liberty (12-2), Olentangy (9-5) and Westerville North (9-5), and ahead of Westerville South (3-11) and Dublin Scioto (1-13).
Cross country teams looking to improve
The cross country teams opened in the OHSAA Preseason Invitational on Aug. 18 at National Trail Raceway, site of the state meet.
The boys team finished 16th (410) in the 25-team section A race behind champion Davidson (59).
Sophomore Michael Coffey led the Monarchs, finishing 65th of 229 in 17 minutes, 28.83 seconds.
Coach Tom Borawski, who is in his 10th season leading the program, expects Coffey, seniors Josh Brady, Aaron Cingle and Nathan Wasik and freshman Alec Sandusky to be the top runners this season.
Borawski also expects contributions from seniors Clay Cochran, Ryan Fitzgerald and Blake Janssens, junior T.J. Borawski and sophomore Zach Magers.
"Our goals are to work hard, improve each week and to get to the (Division I) regional meet as a team," coach Borawski said.
The girls team finished 21st (619) in the 25-team section A race behind champion Mason (64).
Junior Maddy Hoy had the Monarchs' top time, finishing 106th of 232 in 22:15.4.
Coach Borawski said Hoy and senior Ashley Zani have the potential to advance to regional individually.
Others expected to contributor include senior Nicole Lindsey, sophomore Riley Nelson and freshmen Beth Miller and Samantha Weingates.
Last season, the boys team finished 10th (243) in the 15-team Division I, district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial behind champion New Albany (64) as the top five teams advanced to the regional at Pickerington North. Brady was the Monarchs' top finisher, placing 33rd (17:49.4), as the top 20 individuals advanced to regional.
Marysville scored 215 points in the OCC-Cardinal meet last year to place seventh, behind Liberty (42), Westerville Central (63), host Westerville North (68), Jerome (70), Olentangy (137) and Scioto (167) and ahead of Westerville South (237). Brady led the Monarchs, placing 32nd (18:08.3).
The girls team finished ninth (229) in the 17-team district 3 meet last year at Watkins Memorial behind champion Davidson (43) as the top six teams advanced to regional. Zani led the Monarchs, finishing 28th (21:22.8), as the top 24 individuals advanced to regional.
The Monarchs placed sixth (127) in the league meet last year, behind Scioto (34), Liberty (78), North (99), Jerome (100) and Central (125) and ahead of Olentangy (160) and South (218).
Brooke Brown, a 2012 graduate, led the Monarchs, placing fifth (20:04.8).
Marysville is in the OCC-Central this season as part of OCC realignment.
Football team prepares for Jonathan Alder
The football team, which opened against Hilliard Bradley on Aug. 24, will play host to Jonathan Alder on Friday, Aug. 31.
The Monarchs have lost to Jonathan Alder the past two seasons, falling 30-21 in 2010 and 21-0 last season.
"It's a huge rivalry for Marysville," coach Morgan Cotter said.
"It's an in-county rivalry and they have been one of the top Division III schools in the state of Ohio for a number of years. This is year three of the rivalry and right now Jonathan Alder is up 2-0, so it's really something our kids have to buckle down for. We have to get ready to go."
Last season, Jonathan Alder finished 12-1, losing to Springfield Shawnee 21-10 in the Division III, Region 12 final. Marysville finished 6-4.
"We're doing some really good things," Cotter said as the Monarchs prepared to play Bradley.
"Our kids are real coachable. We're getting better every day. Our kids have really bought into that and are playing at a tempo that we like. It's been a real high tempo in practices, so things are going real well."