With no seniors and several first-year players in the program, Marysville High School girls tennis coach Stephanie Linder didn't know what to expect for her 15th season.
But she has been pleasantly surprised by her team's performance.
The Monarchs were 5-8 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Olentangy Liberty on Monday Sept. 17.
"We're very excited," Linder said. "We did lose to Thomas Worthington 4-1 (on Sept. 11), but we did take a court, which we think is excellent. On the whole, this is a good sign for the program. The girls are doing really well. We're coming into a tough part of our season. We're coming into some more league play, but the girls are really doing a good job."
Last season, Marysville was 2-13 overall and eighth (1 point, 0-7) in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion Dublin Jerome (77, 7-0). The Celtics went on to win their first OTCA state team tournament title and finished 22-0 in dual matches.
With OCC realignment, the Monarchs moved to the OCC-Central and Jerome no longer is on the schedule. However, league competition remains challenging, according to Linder, with the top teams being Dublin Coffman, Olentangy Liberty and UA.
Marysville lost to Coffman 5-0 on Aug. 28. Its match against Liberty on Sept. 4 was postponed because of bad weather and will be played Monday, Sept. 17.
Marysville began the season by winning four of its first six matches, including 4-1 victories over Kenton on Aug. 15 and Jonathan Alder on Aug. 23, and a 3-2 victory over London on Aug. 17.
The Monarchs earned their first league win in two seasons by defeating Westland 5-0 on Aug. 21.
"When we posted wins over Kenton and London that was a good stretch for us," Linder said. "We had a couple matches where we were really on top of things and the girls were really getting into a stride. That was a good week."
One of the first-year players who has been playing well, according to Linder, is sophomore Katie Martin. She has been playing third singles and first doubles with sophomore Amy Stammen.
"We've been really impressed with Katie Martin," Linder said. "She has been working very hard. She's been posting some wins and posting some losses like all the girls, but she's working really hard to work on everything about the game. She's fairly new to tennis. She's been very enthusiastic and she's really getting into it. She's putting in good practice time, so she seems to really being enjoying it. She's been doing a good job."
The second-doubles team of freshmen Sammi Hunt and Regan Yoakam had the team's top record (7-4) heading into the match against UA.
Hunt and Yoakam earned the team's point against Thomas, as they defeated Achinthya Sivalingam and Jingwen Zhang 7-6, 6-4.
Other players have been junior Haley Willoughby at first singles, sophomore Megan Marsh at second singles and sophomore Taylor Shirk at third singles and first doubles.
"As our competition gets tougher, the girls are really hanging in there," Linder said. "We're impressed by all the girls that they're working as hard as they can. A lot of them are just gaining match experience and learning how to get through their match."
Football team faces challenge at Coffman
The football team plays host to Dublin Coffman on Friday, Sept. 21, in an OCC-Central game. The Shamrocks were 3-0 before playing Hilliard Davidson on Sept. 14 in the league opener.
Coffman outscored its first three opponents 122-27.
"Coffman is very athletic," coach Morgan Cotter said. "They have a nice triggerman at quarterback (James Walsh). They have two or three receivers that run great routes. They're fast and they're big. They're everything you don't want the other team to be.
"We're just going to have to play a great game to keep ourselves in it in the fourth quarter and give ourselves a chance to win. That's the big thing. Let's keep it close early and give ourselves an opportunity because the pressure won't be on us, it will be on them."
Walsh has verbally committed to Ohio University.
Marysville was 0-3 before playing Westland on Sept. 14.
The Monarchs lost to Dublin Scioto 51-27 on Sept. 7. The Irish passed for 414 yards and finished with 510 total yards, while Marysville's offense had 368 total yards.
Quarterback Kyle Hites rushed for 123 yards and touchdowns of 66 and 40 yards on 16 carries. He also completed 11 of 17 passes for 77 yards with an interception.
Kody Davisson, who missed the game against Jonathan Alder on Aug. 31 with a concussion, rushed for 30 yards and a 2-yard touchdown on 19 carries.
"These kids are still working their tails off," Cotter said. "They want to get better. They know that we have some potential. We just have to put it all together."
Volleyball team falls short against UA
The girls volleyball team put up a fight against UA on Sept. 11 before losing 29-31, 27-25, 25-15, 27-25.
Veronica George led Marysville with 12 kills. Monica Miller had 11 kills, Hannah Stanley had 13 assists and Emily Euans had five blocks.
"We knew going into this match that we were a fairly evenly matched team, which is definitely evident in the scores of games one, three and four," coach Jennifer Burton said. "In game one our defense was excellent. We had several three-option passes, which gave us more opportunities to take aggressive swings on the balls. Our sets were not quite there in game one, but as they improved in games two through four, our passes decreased in accuracy. We are striving to get everything and as many people on at the same time."