First-year Pickerington High School Central girls volleyball coach Aubrie Perry is hoping that the second round of OCC-Ohio Division play goes better for her team than the first one.

First-year Pickerington High School Central girls volleyball coach Aubrie Perry is hoping that the second round of OCC-Ohio Division play goes better for her team than the first one.

The Tigers went 2-5 in the first round of league play. Even though they began the second round with a 23-25, 25-12, 25-18, 25-18 loss to Lancaster on Sept. 22, Perry believes the Tigers finally have gotten all the pieces in place for a strong finish.

"I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to playing teams a second time," Perry said. "All of the teams saw us at our lowest point of the season (in the first round). Now on this second swing through the league, we're stronger and better than we were before."

Perry believes the Tigers' biggest area of improvement has been their teamwork. The addition of freshman outside hitter Edwina Barnett has helped the team in that area.

"Our team came into the season as individuals, but I think we're playing as one now," Perry said. "We're playing with a new lineup and it's working a lot better. Edwina's been the last piece of the puzzle, actually. She gives 110 percent all the time. She is our biggest hustler."

•North assistant coach Mike Tackett recently told coach Kris Kern that the Panthers' domination of the OCC-Ohio can't last forever.

After a 25-23, 24-26, 25-27, 25-20, 15-11 victory over Grove City on Sept. 20, Kern isn't so sure. The Panthers were 8-0 in league play and had won 62 consecutive OCC matches before playing Central on Sept. 27.

North's last defeat in league play was a 25-22, 14-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-13 loss to Thomas Worthington in 2006 when the teams were in the OCC-Central. Entering play Sept. 27, the Panthers were first in the OCC-Ohio, ahead of Newark (7-1), Grove City (6-2), Gahanna (4-4), Lancaster (4-4), Central (2-6) Groveport (1-7) and Reynoldsburg (0-8).

"Coach Tackett said, 'You know it's going to happen sometime,'" Kern said. "I told him it doesn't have to. People in the coaching profession say you learn more from your losses than you do from your wins. Well, I don't want to learn any more."

The Panthers, ranked 10th in the Division I state poll last week, opened with a 25-21, 25-19, 25-23 loss to Rocky River Magnificat on Aug. 27 but rode an 11-match winning streak into their match against Central.

Last year, North opened with a 15-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-14 loss to Magnificat.

Then the Panthers won 25 consecutive matches before falling to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 25-16, 25-14, 25-18 in a regional semifinal.

Before this season, Kern listed Grove City and Newark as the teams to beat in the OCC-Ohio. Against the Greyhounds, Kern gambled by moving sophomore Jessie Watchman, a 6-foot outside hitter, to middle hitter.

"Grove City has most dominating middle in our league that is not on our team," Kern said. "I rolled the dice and put Jessie in. She controlled the game in the middle.

"(Going through a five-game match) probably cut two or three years off my life, but it probably did the girls some good. It gave them the feeling of possibly being the team that this streak ends with. They pretty much drew a line in the sand and didn't seem to panic."