Talk of a team other than the Centennial High School girls volleyball team winning the City League championship hasn't been uttered for years - until now.

Talk of a team other than the Centennial High School girls volleyball team winning the City League championship hasn't been uttered for years - until now.

When Northland won 25-11, 25-13, 25-15 on the Stars' home court on Sept. 7, it put Centennial's nine-year hold on the City title in jeopardy. The Vikings can take another step toward finishing off the Stars when they play host to the rematch today in the second round of City-North Division action.

The last team other than Centennial to win the City title was Brookhaven in 2000, and Northland's only championship came in 1998.

The Vikings were 8-0 in the City-North before traveling last Tuesday to Brookhaven and have been winning with a mix of senior returnees and a group of maturing hitters led by juniors Kierra Simpson and Edderra Jenkins.

"We haven't beaten (Centennial) in probably about 10 years, so it was a tremendous step for us," senior outside hitter Asia Skipper said. "We've all been working hard. We have two tremendous (middle hitters) in Kierra and Edderra. They've been really improving and going to camps. We've finally put the pieces of the puzzle together."

Northland went 6-1 in the City-North last season to finish second behind the Stars (7-0). Teams in the City-North and City-South are playing each conference opponent twice this season.

In addition to the hitting abilities of the 6-foot-2 Jenkins and the 5-11 Simpson, 6-3 sophomore Jasmine Weatherspoon, Skipper and junior Jazmine Lee also have provided strong hitting.

Other key players include seniors Tayshawna Burrows, Roniesha Ennis, Ashia Ford and Midia Martin.

"I really love our captains, Roneisha and Asia (Skipper)," Simpson said. "This year we've been trying to keep everything really positive, and we have a lot of returnees so our teamwork is really good."

"We've got some great hitters in the middle to put blocks up," Ennis said. "The main difference from last year is that we're more confident, and having that enthusiasm helps us to win."

Before last Tuesday, Centennial was second in the City-North at 7-1 and Brookhaven and Whetstone both were 5-3. Last year, the Braves finished third (5-2) and the Bearcats were fourth (4-3).

Brookhaven beat Whetstone 25-18, 25-12, 17-25, 25-10 on Aug. 31 but lost the rematch 15-25, 12-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-12 on Sept. 23. The Bearcats fell to Centennial 25-23, 17-25, 19-25, 25-21, 15-13 on Sept. 14.

"I'm not too pleased about (the loss to Centennial)," Bearcats coach Tomeka Howell said. "That was one that we should have won. We just have to minimize our errors better."

According to Howell, senior Madison Morris and sophomore Renee Cheeks have been leading the way with their play at middle hitter. Junior Chelsea Matthews has been the top defender.

The Bearcats have been forced to adjust to playing without senior Tierra Smith, who is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

"We're learning how to play together," Howell said. "I'd probably say we've been a little better of a defensive team, and we're trying to work on different coverage. Defense is one of the things we've been stressing."

ĽNorthland boys cross country runner TaQuan Hale is on track for a successful postseason.

The City meet will be held Oct. 13 at Whetstone, and Braves senior Evan Schwartz is the favorite heading into the boys meet. Hale could be the second-best City runner.

At the Whetstone Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 22, Schwartz was first in 16 minutes, 22 seconds and Hale finished second (17:12) among a field that included 14 teams. A downpour during the race hindered times for most of the competitors.

Hale's best time this season is 16:38, which is 17 seconds off the program record. Senior Daniel Smith and junior Alejandro Nunez have been among the Vikings' other top runners.

"I didn't put as many miles in as I wanted this summer because of some back problems, but now that it's feeling better, I can run more," Hale said. "I was going to try to stay with (Schwartz) for the first mile (of the Arrowhead Invitational) but kind of realized that I had to let him go."

The Beechcroft boys and girls cross country coaches also are pleased with their teams' progress heading into the final weeks of the regular season.

The boys have been led by senior Eric Taylor, who also was the team's top runner for most of last season. Senior Ahmadou Bayo also has continued to improve, according to coach Scott Davis.

"Our kids are doing a good job," Davis said. "Each week they're improving, and this year they've been able to get the full cross country experience with all of the adverse weather we've had to face."

The girls team has been led by senior Chwoina Stewart and has about a dozen runners consistently in practice for coach Dan Zedeker.

"We picked up a girl even (last) week," Zedeker said. "They're all doing really well. I'm pretty satisfied with the work they've put in, and they've all got good attitudes."


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Northland cross country, football, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

NORTHLAND

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 22 - Boys: Finished sixth (200) at 14-team Arrowhead Invitational, behind champion Kilbourne (39); Girls: Finished fourth (89) at six-team Arrowhead Invitational, behind champion Watterson (31)

Last Saturday - Boys: Finished 15th (453) at 16-team Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster, behind champion Westerville North (64); Girls: Finished last (332) at 12-team Reall Invitational, behind champion Upper Arlington (48)

Saturday - Boys, girls: Panther Invitational at Pickerington North

FOOTBALL

*Last Friday - Def. East 35-0

*Friday - At Centennial

Of note: The Vikings are 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the City-North.

GOLF

*Sept. 21 - Finished first (219) ahead of Briggs (245) and Columbus South (281) and Walnut Hills

*Sept. 23 - Finished first (221) ahead of Eastmoor (234) at Mentel Memorial

*Last Tuesday - Played West and Whetstone

*Today - Brookhaven, Mifflin and Walnut Ridge at Raymond Memorial

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 21 - Def. Brookhaven 1-0

*Sept. 23 - Def. Beechcroft 4-1

*Last Tuesday - Played West

Today - Home vs. Westland

*Tuesday - Home vs. Mifflin

Of note: The Vikings were 5-2-2 overall and 4-1-2 in the City before last Tuesday.

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 21 - Lost to Whetstone 7-0

Sept. 23 - Lost to Grove City 11-0

Last Tuesday - Played Beechcroft

Today - At Madison Christian

Monday - At Franklin Heights

Of note: The Vikings were 0-6 before last Tuesday.

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 23 - Def. Beechcroft 3-2

*Last Tuesday - Played Whetstone

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 21 - Def. Linden 25-5, 25-10, 25-21

*Sept. 23 - Def. East 25-6, 25-7, 25-8

*Last Tuesday - Played Brookhaven

Last Wednesday - Played New Albany

*Today - Home vs. Centennial

*Tuesday - At Mifflin

Of note: The Vikings were 8-0 in the City-North before last Tuesday.

*City contest

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Beechcroft and Brookhaven cross country, football, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

BEECHCROFT

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 22 - Boys: Tied for 12th (370) at 14-team Arrowhead Invitational at Whetstone, behind champion Worthington Kilbourne (39)

Saturday - Boys, girls: Erin L. Nance Fall Classic at London Country Club

FOOTBALL

*Last Friday - Defeated Linden 63-0

*Friday - Home vs. Mifflin

Of note: The Cougars are 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the City-North.

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 21 - Lost to Walnut Ridge 1-0

*Sept. 23 - Lost to Northland 4-1

Last Saturday - Lost to Westerville South 4-0

*Last Tuesday - Played Marion-Franklin

*Today - Home vs. Independence

Of note: The Cougars were 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the City League before last Tuesday.

GIRLS SOCCER

Last Tuesday - Played Northland

Saturday - At Franklin Heights

Tuesday - Home vs. Madison Christian

Wednesday - At Northland

Of note: The Cougars were 0-5 before last Tuesday.

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 21 - Lost to Centennial 3-2

*Sept. 23 - Lost to Northland 3-2

*Last Tuesday - Played Mifflin

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 23 - Lost to Centennial 25-16, 25-10, 25-27, 25-11

*Last Tuesday - Played Mifflin

*Today - At Linden

*Tuesday - At Whetstone

Of note: The Cougars were 2-10 overall and 2-6 in the City-North before last Tuesday.

BROOKHAVEN

FOOTBALL

*Last Friday - Def. Whetstone 37-32

*Friday - At Linden

Of note: The Bearcats are 2-3 overall and 2-0 in the City-North.

GOLF

*Sept. 21 - Finished second (266) behind Eastmoor (204) and ahead of Columbus East (275) at Airport

*Sept. 23 - Finished third (274) behind Briggs (228) and Columbus West (254) at Raymond Memorial

*Last Tuesday - Competed against Centennial and Independence at Airport

*Today - Mifflin, Northland and Walnut Ridge at Raymond Memorial

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 21 - Lost to Northland 1-0

*Sept. 23 - Def. Marion-Franklin 20-1

*Last Tuesday - Played Independence

Monday - At Grove City Christian

Of note: The Bearcats were 5-4-1 overall and 3-2-1 in the City before last Tuesday.

GIRLS TENNIS

*Last Tuesday - Played Briggs

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Sept. 22 - Lost to Marion-Franklin 25-9, 25-19, 25-22

*Sept. 23 - Lost to Whetstone 15-25, 12-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-12

*Last Tuesday - Played Northland

*Today - Home vs. East

*Tuesday - At Linden

Of note: The Bearcats were 5-6 overall and 4-3 in the City-North before last Tuesday.

*City contest