After losing its coach during preseason tryouts, the Westerville Central High School boys volleyball program turned to two assistants to supply a smooth transition.
Coaches Jimmy Yu and Derek Endres expected a more motivated and more mature team this season to handle a more complex offensive attack. The effort has put the Warhawks in contention for an OCC-Cardinal Division championship.
Central was 6-5 overall and 5-1 in the league before playing Dublin Jerome last Tuesday.
Tuesday's match against Westerville North, which was 6-7 overall and 4-2 in the league before last Tuesday's contest with Olentangy Liberty, could decide whether the Warhawks will have to share the division title.
"We want to hold on to the top spot," Yu said. "The last time we played North we won in three straight games, but it's certainly the game we're most concerned about right now."
Central won 25-20, 25-20, 27-25 on April 15.
"It would be nice to grab a share of the title, but it really relies on these last four league games," North coach Vicki Phillips said. "Everyone is this division has been having their ups and downs. It's really going to come down to which team shows up."
The Warriors traveled to Cincinnati Oak Hills last Saturday where they fell to Oak Hills 15-25, 19-25 and to Purcell Marian 23-25, 19-25, but defeated Whetstone 25-16, 25-16.
Outside hitters Evan McCoy and Christian Bruce have driven North's success.
"We've been relying on them a lot," said Phillips, whose team a year ago shared the division title with Olentangy Liberty at 9-1. "We've been struggling with our serving. We've really been trying to get rid of the rainbow serves. For us, we just need to be more consistent and we haven't done that throughout a whole game or match."
The Warhawks dropped two matches at Pickerington North last Saturday in losing to the Panthers 25-18, 25-15, 25-13 and Worthington Kilbourne 25-21, 24-26, 25-13, 25-16.
Prior to the 16-25, 18-25, 25-21, 25-15, 15-12 loss to DeSales on April 21, Central had won five of their first seven matches.
"We've been trying to pick ourselves up in those situations where teams get on a run," middle blocker Tyler Warden said. "When we play as a team, I think we can be pretty tough to beat. We just really haven't been able to put our hitting and passing together."
With a number of first-year players, Westerville South has produced few victories at 2-9 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday's match against Dublin Scioto.
The 10-25, 20-25, 17-25 loss to North on April 20 marked the third straight for the Wildcats, who play Central today.
Only twice have matches gone more than three games.
At a glance
Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Central, North and South boys volleyball teams:
*April 20 - Defeated Dublin Scioto 25-14, 25-20, 23-25, 25-14
April 21 - Lost to DeSales 25-16, 25-18, 21-25, 15-25, 12-15
*April 22 - Def. Olentangy Liberty 25-13, 25-10, 25-23
Last Saturday - Lost to Worthington Kilbourne (21-25, 26-24, 13-25, 16-25) and Pickerington North (18-25, 15-25, 13-25)
*Last Tuesday - Played Dublin Jerome
Last Wednesday - Played Licking Heights
*Today - At Westerville South. Central won 25-16, 25-12, 25-12 on April 13.
Monday - At Dublin Coffman
*Tuesday - Home vs. Westerville North. Central won 25-20, 25-20, 27-25 on April 15.
Of note: The Warhawks were 6-5 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before last Tuesday.
*April 20 - Lost to Dublin Jerome 17-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-19, 11-15
*April 22 - Defeated Westerville South 25-10, 25-20, 25-17
Last Saturday - Lost to Cincinnati Oak Hills (15-25, 19-25) and Purcell Marian (23-25, 19-25) and def. Whetstone (25-17, 25-20).
*Last Tuesday - Played Olentangy Liberty
*Today - At Dublin Scioto. North won 25-19, 24-26, 25-19, 25-15 on April 13.
*Tuesday - At Westerville Central. Central won 25-20, 25-20, 27-25 on April 15.
Of note: The Warriors were 6-7 overall and 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before last Tuesday.
*April 20 - Lost to Olentangy Liberty 24-26, 21-25, 14-25
*April 22 - Lost to Westerville North 10-12, 20-25, 17-25
*Last Tuesday - Played Dublin Scioto
*Today - Home vs. Westerville Central. Central won 25-16, 25-12, 25-12 on April 13.
Saturday - At Brecksville Tournament
*Monday - Home vs. Dublin Jerome. Jerome won 25-23, 25-18, 25-12 on April 15.
Of note: The Wildcats were 2-9 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before last Tuesday.