When Michelle Mimna stepped down as coach of the Olentangy High School girls volleyball team in 2010 to focus on raising her newborn daughter, Ava, she hoped she would receive an opportunity to coach again in the future.

When Michelle Mimna stepped down as coach of the Olentangy High School girls volleyball team in 2010 to focus on raising her newborn daughter, Ava, she hoped she would receive an opportunity to coach again in the future.

That opportunity arrived much sooner than Mimna anticipated. When Kari Lennon resigned for personal reasons after one season as coach, athletics director Jay Wolfe offered Mimna the job.

Mimna, who led the Braves to a 58-41 overall record in four seasons, was hired for her second stint as Olentangy's coach over the winter.

"I had no plans on coaching again so soon, but when they asked me if I was interested in coming back, I gladly accepted," Mimna said. "This team doesn't have the size or talent that we had in 2008, but it's a much better and more experienced team than we had in 2009. I think we're capable of winning a lot more matches than they did last year."

The Braves, who finished 9-14 overall last season, opened Aug. 27 with a 25-20, 25-8 victory over Marion Harding and a 25-22, 25-18 win over Buckeye Valley.

Olentangy defeated Centennial 25-10, 25-12, 25-11 on Aug. 29 and opened its OCC-Cardinal Division schedule on Aug. 30 against Dublin Scioto.

In 2008, Mimna led Olentangy to one of its best seasons. The Braves finished 24-3 overall, went 13-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to win their first league title in eight years and captured their first Division I district title in 10 seasons. Olentangy lost to eventual state runner-up Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 25-18, 25-13, 26-24 in its first regional final appearance since 1979.

Competing this season for the Braves are seniors Angela Arango (opposite hitter), Allie Brown (outside hitter), Alexis Elmurr (defensive specialist/libero), Marta Kosmyna (middle hitter), Callan Molle (defensive specialist) and Kory Swabb (defensive specialist), juniors Courtney Kerin (setter), Morgan Reed (opposite hitter), Jamie Riley (defensive specialist), Kelsey Rose (setter) and Kasia Walczay (outside hitter) and sophomores Ganiru Anunike (middle hitter) and Sarah Arango (outside hitter).

"We have a pretty solid offense with a lot of weapons," Mimna said. "If we can receive serves and pass the ball, we can be a very good team. Ganiru Anunike will start as a sophomore and we're excited about her potential. Kasia Walczay has improved tremendously and Allie Brown has looked good on the outside."

Olentangy finished fourth in the OCC-Cardinal last year at 7-7, behind Olentangy Liberty (13-1), Westerville Central (12-2) and Westerville North (11-3) and ahead of Dublin Scioto (5-9), Dublin Jerome (3-11), Marysville (3-11) and Westerville South (2-12).

The 12th-seeded Braves opened the Division II district tournament with a 24-26, 25-15, 25-15, 25-15 loss to ninth-seeded Buckeye Valley.

"Westerville Central has everyone back but their setter and Liberty is loaded, so it will take every ounce of energy to beat either of those teams," Mimna said. "But we have some very nice players and I think we'll contend to win most of our matches."

Liberty opened its OCC-Cardinal schedule against Marysville on Aug. 30.

The Patriots finished 21-4 overall last year, losing to Watterson 25-19, 25-22, 26-24 in a Division I district final.

Five letterwinners have returned in seniors Katy Schnulo (opposite hitter), Morgan Tyree (outside hitter), Cassandra Zahran (setter) and Marina Zahran (middle hitter) and junior Stephanie Ruffing (outside hitter).

Tyree had 220 kills and was second-team all-district and all-league last year.

Completing the lineup are senior Sydney Garverick (defensive specialist), juniors Kenna Koehler (defensive specialist), Kayla Pfaff (middle hitter), Ros Ransaw (opposite hitter), Kelsi Robinson (setter) and Alex Silvestri (setter/defensive specialist) and sophomore Brooke Knollman (middle hitter).

Last year, Liberty won its second consecutive OCC-Cardinal title with a 13-1 league mark.

The third-seeded Patriots opened the Division I district tournament with a 25-20, 25-7, 25-11 victory over Dublin Jerome, before beating ninth-seeded Grove City 17-25, 25-17, 25-12, 25-21 in a semifinal and losing to sixth-seeded Watterson.

"I'm guessing Westerville Central's going to be our best competition in the OCC because they have most of their team back and have the same coaches," said ninth-year coach Jen Chapman, whose team opened Aug. 29 against Hartley. "We have pretty decent athleticism and a lot of experienced players. How well we do will come down to our chemistry."

Orange opened with an OCC-Capital match against Mount Vernon on Aug. 30.

The Pioneers finished 10-13 overall last year after they opened the Division I district tournament with a 26-24, 25-19, 25-13 loss to Chillicothe.

Five players who started multiple matches last season are back in senior outside hitter Mary Ervin, senior middle hitter Haley Mucha, senior libero Hailie Francis, senior setter Kayli Lucius and sophomore middle hitter Mackenzie Gossard.

Mucha was second-team all-league and Ervin was honorable mention all-league last season.

Completing the roster are juniors Tyler Folds (defensive specialist) and Madison Linek (defensive specialist) and sophomores Abby Fordham (outside hitter) and Alli Hauger (opposite hitter).

"We have very scrappy kids who fight for every point and don't let the ball fall," first-year coach Jessica Timmons said. "We're an efficient passing team."

The Pioneers finished fourth in the OCC-Capital last year with an 8-6 league mark, behind Big Walnut (14-0), New Albany (11-3) and Hilliard Bradley (10-4) and ahead of Mount Vernon (6-8), Delaware (5-9), Franklin Heights (1-13) and Watkins Memorial (1-13).

"We're looking at every team as a contender in the OCC, but Big Walnut definitely has a strong team and Hilliard Bradley is a tough team as well," Timmons said.