Volleyball team set to defend state title
The celebration for its first state championship continued well into the offseason for the Hartley High School girls volleyball team.
"We had a nice, long postseason," said coach Max Miller, who is in his 13th season leading the program. "We got to go to a (Greater) Columbus Sports Commission breakfast in February where we got to hear (former Ohio State women's basketball player) Katie Smith speak. They brought us up front and introduced us. We also went down to the Ohio House of Representatives and got introduced as being the state champions there."
The Hawks, Miller believes, are ready for the task of defending the Division II title they captured last November when they beat Kettering Alter 25-20, 18-25, 25-18, 25-21 in the state final at Wright State University.
Brooke Betts, a 6-foot-1 senior outside hitter who has verbally committed to the University of Louisville, is the top returnee. She was named first-team all-state and district Player of the Year last season.
Also back are seniors Molly Shonk (right-side hitter) and Kayla Smith (outside hitter).
Sophomore Emily Rahe, who saw limited action during a 22-25, 29-27, 25-22, 25-22 win over Cleveland Heights Beaumont in a state semifinal last year, is expected to be the Hawks' setter.
Other key players include junior Erin Chatman (utility player) and sophomore Madeline Brandewie (middle hitter/right-side hitter).
Also looking to contribute are seniors Rachel Erlinger (right-side hitter), Kaitlin Muetzel (setter) and Maddie Musselman (serving specialist) and juniors Becca Groner (defensive specialist/libero), Mackenzie Sample (defensive specialist/libero) and Jamie Thivener (defensive specialist/libero).
Hartley, which opened Aug. 25 by beating host Big Walnut 18-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-9 and played Dublin Coffman on Aug. 29, went 24-5 last season on the way to becoming the first central Ohio team to win a state title in Division II since DeSales won Class AA in 1982.
The Hawks also won the CCL championship last year, going 7-1 in league play to finish ahead of DeSales (6-2), Watterson (4-4), Ready (3-5) and Columbus School for Girls (0-8).
Hartley beat Columbus East (25-3, 25-3, 25-8), Amanda-Clearcreek (25-18, 25-15, 10-25, 25-13) and Sparta Highland (25-17, 25-21, 25-9) to win their seventh consecutive district title.
The Hawks then beat Dover 25-21, 25-15, 25-18 and East Liverpool 26-24, 25-15, 25-13 to advance to state.
Lauren Hurley (libero) and Natalie Briggs (setter) led an eight-member senior class last season and are playing for Northern Kentucky and Capital, respectively. Hurley was honorable mention all-state last year.
"We've got some kids that are going to be versatile and are going to give us a lot of different looks," Miller said. "We graduated both of our senior middles last year, but I think we've got more athleticism."
Football team set for Academy
The football team earned its fourth win in three seasons over Amanda-Clearcreek when it beat the visiting Aces 42-0 in its opener Aug. 24.
The Hawks will be looking for their sixth consecutive win over Columbus Academy when they travel to face the Vikings on Friday, Aug. 31.
Academy opened with a 22-19 loss to Zanesville Maysville on Aug. 24. The Vikings led 13-10 heading into the final period. Brice Bailey rushed for touchdowns of 10 and 2 yards for Academy.
Hartley got touchdown runs of 80 yards by Dominique Scott, 88 yards by Marcellus Calhoun and 64 yards by Sam Mackowiak while building a 20-0, first-quarter lead against Amanda-Clearcreek. Quarterback Jared Brandewie hit Jacob Matuska for an 18-yard score in the second quarter and Ja'Wuan Woodley added touchdown runs of 8 and 4 yards during the second half to complete the scoring.
Calhoun had 168 yards and one touchdown on 18 rushes, Woodley rushed for 121 yards and two scores on 17 attempts and Brandewie was 7-for-12 passing for 107 yards.
Dempsey earns milestone win
Scott Dempsey earned his 300th career coaching victory when the girls soccer team beat Centennial 9-0 in its opener Aug. 21.
Dempsey is in his second season as Hawks coach and had a career record of 301-90-40 before his team defeated Columbus Academy 8-1 on Aug. 25.
"I was getting text messages all night after the game," Dempsey said. "It was pretty cool."
Dempsey coached the Hilliard Davidson boys team from 1991-97. He led the Wildcats to a Division I state semifinal in 1996.
In 13 seasons at Bexley, his teams went 224-36-24 and won 10 league, 11 district and eight regional titles. In 2009, Bexley lost 2-1 to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in the Division II state final but later was awarded the title after it was determined that Hathaway Brown had used an ineligible player.
Field hockey team has young look
After losing 12 players from last season to graduation, the field hockey team will be counting on young players for depth this fall.
The Hawks opened with a 5-1 loss to Coffman on Aug. 22.
"We graduated 12 seniors and we don't have very high numbers," second-year coach Molly Gilbert said. "We're young but we're growing. There's a lot of enthusiasm."
The top returnees are seniors Cathleen Quinn (forward), Emily Searles (midfielder) and Olivia Slate (goalkeeper) and junior Sarah Smith (midfielder).
Also looking to contribute are senior Amanda Stickel, junior Sarah Krivicich and sophomore Rebecca Selid.
Last season, the Hawks went 6-5 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League to tie Olentangy and Olentangy Liberty for eighth, behind co-champions Columbus Academy (10-0-1) and Thomas Worthington (10-0-1) as well as Bexley (7-4), Dublin Jerome (7-4), Granville (7-4), Upper Arlington (7-4) and Watterson (6-4-1).
Rounding out the standings were Coffman (5-6), Columbus School for Girls (4-6-1), Olentangy Orange (2-9), Worthington Kilbourne (2-9), Dublin Scioto (1-10) and Lancaster (0-11).
Seeded eighth, Hartley lost to fourth-seeded Bexley 1-0 in the second round of the Dublin 1 district tournament last year to finish 7-8-1 overall.