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Football team exceeding expectations

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In terms of postseason goals, Morgan Cotter had a three-year plan in mind when he took over the Marysville High School football program.

The Monarchs are ahead of schedule, having qualified for the Division I, Region 1 playoffs in Cotter's second season as coach.

The 13th-seeded Monarchs were 7-3 before playing at fourth-seeded Austintown-Fitch on Nov. 9. The winner plays fifth-seeded Westerville Central or 12th-seeded Solon in a second-round game Saturday, Nov. 16, at a site to be determined.

"We definitely had a plan in mind when we took over," Cotter said. "I would say we've exceeded expectations because when you come in you always don't know the kids, and this senior class did a great job of exceeding our expectations. We knew that the playoffs were something we wanted to do in the first three years."

The Monarchs finished 4-3 in the OCC-Central Division after losing 42-7 at Hilliard Davidson on Nov. 1. Marysville tied Olentangy Liberty and Upper Arlington for third in the league, behind Davidson (7-0) and Dublin Coffman (6-1) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (2-5), Central Crossing (1-6) and Westland (0-7).

Davidson and Coffman qualified for the Division I, Region 2 playoffs.

Marysville trailed Davidson 35-0 at halftime and was outgained 507-303. Senior quarterback Matt Mulholland completed 28 of 46 passes for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Through 10 games, Mulholland had completed 203 of 332 passes for 2,283 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and rushed for 352 yards and four touchdowns on 74 carries.

"This is the best part about it -- all getting to the playoffs as seniors, as one group, and remembering everything throughout the year together," Mulholland said.

Junior running back Aron Mowery rushed for 736 yards and eight touchdowns on 161 carries during the regular season, and senior wide receiver Logan Roston had 49 catches for 723 yards and seven touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Austin Pfarr led the team with 128 tackles.

"Coaching is a lot of fun no matter what you do, but when you get into the playoffs it's kind of special because not everybody gets to make that and that's what everybody is leaning for," Cotter said.

Westerville Central won the OCC-Cardinal title at 7-0 and was 9-1 overall before playing Solon, which was 6-4.

Central features a high-scoring spread offense led by senior quarterback Jared Drake. He completed 148 of 219 passes for 2,454 yards with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions and rushed for 640 yards and eight touchdowns on 112 carries during the regular season.

Senior running back Antwain Hamilton has led Solon's spread offense. He had rushed for 1,057 yards and 17 touchdowns on 191 carries through 10 games.

Girls volleyball coach resigns

Jennifer Burton announced during her team's awards banquet Nov. 5 that she was stepping down as girls volleyball coach.

Marysville finished 11-12 overall and 7-7 in the OCC-Central this fall.

Burton coached the team for three seasons, compiling an overall record of 20-45.

"It was a very difficult and emotional decision because the Marysville volleyball program has been such a huge part of my life for the past four years. However, it is the best decision for my family at this time," Burton said. "Although it is hard to step down, I really look forward to continuing to come to matches and watch the program continue to improve and also see the growth of the athletes who I have known for over three years now."

Burton coached the freshman team in 2010 before taking over the varsity.

Sophomore middle blocker Monica Miller had 123 blocks and 40 aces this season. She was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.

Sophomore outside hitter Veronica George was special mention all-league and junior middle blocker Emily Bucklin was honorable mention all-league.

Marysville finished fourth in the league behind Coffman (14-0), Davidson (12-2) and Liberty (10-4) and ahead of Thomas (6-8), Westland (5-9), Central Crossing (1-13) and UA (1-13).

In the Division I district tournament, the 19th-seeded Monarchs lost at home to 22nd-seeded Hilliard Darby 17-25, 25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 15-10 in the first round Oct. 14. The Monarchs had defeated Darby 25-19, 25-20 in the Marysville Spike-Off Invitational on Aug. 17.

Marysville loses four seniors in Abby Butler (defensive specialist), Kelsey Gugel (outside hitter), Katelyn Karcher (outside hitter) and Mollie Walters (defensive specialist).

"Our seniors provided strong leadership and a lot of talent in their positions, both of which will need to be filled by the possible nine returning players," Burton said.

Also eligible to return are juniors Madison Brandfass (defensive specialist), Meghan Failor (outside hitter), Jenna Lee (defensive specialist), Brittany Nichols (outside hitter and Morgan Thompson (setter) and sophomore Anna McNabb (setter).

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