The Westerville North and Central high school girls volleyball teams used different formulas during the first round of OCC-Cardinal Division play to create a three-team race for the conference title that also includes defending champion Olentangy Liberty.

The Westerville North and Central high school girls volleyball teams used different formulas during the first round of OCC-Cardinal Division play to create a three-team race for the conference title that also includes defending champion Olentangy Liberty.

After finishing second in the league at 12-2 last year, the Warhawks have compensated for having an inexperienced roster by taking advantage of a group of quick athletes.

North finished fourth in the league last year at 8-6 behind Liberty (13-1), Central (12-2) and Dublin Scioto (11-3) but has improved significantly on defense.

Before last Tuesday, Central, North and Liberty all were 7-1 in the league with six matches remaining.

"After the first round of conference play, we wanted to be sitting in first place and we're in first place, but we're also in third place," North coach Aaron Hastings said. "We feel like Liberty probably is playing the best out of the three of us."

Last Tuesday, Central played North in a rematch of a contest the Warhawks won 12-25, 25-19, 25-18, 24-26, 15-12 on Sept. 2. Central lost to Liberty 25-18, 31-29, 25-16 on Sept. 16 in the first round of league play, but the Patriots fell to North 21-25, 25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 15-13 on Sept. 9 to give each team one loss.

Liberty, which played Dublin Jerome last Tuesday, plays host to North on Tuesday and travels to Central on Oct. 12.

"I had a good feeling that we'd be competitive this year, but I didn't think the three of us would separate themselves as a pack as quickly as we have," Central coach Shaun Servick said.

"It's a three-horse race. Liberty and North are loaded with seniors, and we're loaded with what we've got, which is a lot of fight."

Senior setter Kelley Plas has led Central, which lost six key players from last season.

Seniors D.J. Chadwick and Tricia Clark, juniors Lindsey Bruce and Erin Cisneros and sophomore Adrienne Agee have been other standouts, according to Servick.

"Kelly Plas, our setter, has been awesome," Servick said. "She already has every record for setting in school history. Erin Cisneros has stepped up, and Adrienne Agee is my highest-rated attacker with the best kill percentage."

According to Hastings, senior outside hitters Bri Clegg and Jordan Fenner and senior right-side hitter Kayla Lutz have played consistently well. The Warriors also have benefited from the addition of 6-foot senior middle hitter Caitlin Kusan, who played for Worthington Christian last fall before transferring last winter.

Kusan and senior Natalie Longardner have been the team's service leaders, with senior Lindsey Martindale serving as the setter.

"This is probably the best defensive group we've had in a long time," Hastings said. "They're still being aggressive, but at times our serving hurts us."

•After finishing 2-20 overall a year ago, South won two of its first 10 matches, including capturing its first OCC-Cardinal win since 2007 when it beat Marysville 25-17, 25-27, 17-25, 25-18, 15-13 on Sept. 9.

The Wildcats' other victory was a 25-19, 25-16 win over Reynoldsburg on Sept. 18 in a tri-match at Licking Heights.

"I feel like we're improving," first-year coach Heather Kearnes said.

"We've been setting goals every week, and the girls are working hard at it."

The Wildcats lost 25-14, 25-20, 25-21 to Central on Sept. 23, as both teams wore pink T-shirts to help raise money for breast cancer research. South will raise money for the same cause from the proceeds of its home match against DeSales on Saturday.

Kearnes has been pleased with the play of senior right-side hitter Bre Colley and senior middle hitter Stasia Levakis through the first half of the season.

"Them having a positive attitude has been a huge help," Kearnes said. "We need to keep working on being aggressive and being more consistent. We also have to play with more confidence. A lot of times (the players) will sit back and just play defense, so we need them to be more aggressive."


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Central, North and South girls volleyball teams:

CENTRAL

*Aug. 31 - Defeated Westerville South 25-18, 25-11, 25-7

*Sept. 2 - Def. Westerville North 12-25, 25-19, 25-18, 24-26, 15-12

*Sept. 7 - Def. Marysville 25-22, 25-14, 25-13

*Sept. 9 - Def. Dublin Scioto 25-16, 25-15, 25-15

Sept. 11 - Lost to Watterson 25-21, 25-21; lost to Central Crossing 25-17, 21-25, 25-21

*Sept. 14 - Def. Olentangy 25-22, 25-22, 25-15

*Sept. 16 - Lost to Olentangy Liberty 25-18, 31-29, 25-16

Sept. 18 - Lost to Liberty 25-22, 21-25, 25-20; lost to Frankfort Adena 22-25, 25-22, 25-13; def. Grove City 25-23, 25-21

Sept. 20 - Def. Olentangy Orange 25-19, 25-20, 25-18

*Sept. 21 - Def. Dublin Jerome 25-21, 25-15, 25-13

*Sept. 23 - Def. Westerville South 25-14, 25-20, 25-21

Last Monday - Lost to Pickerington North 25-18, 25-23, 25-17

*Last Tuesday - Played Westerville North

*Today - At Marysville

Saturday - Home vs. Lebanon

*Tuesday - At Scioto

Of note: The Warhawks were 9-6 overall and 7-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before last Tuesday.

NORTH

Aug. 30 - Lost to Hartley 25-20, 25-14, 25-21

*Aug. 31 - Def. Jerome 25-23, 25-16, 25-22

*Sept. 2 - Lost to Westerville Central 12-25, 25-19, 25-18, 24-26, 15-12

*Sept. 7 - Def. Scioto 25-13, 25-17, 16-25, 25-20

*Sept. 9 - Def. Liberty 21-25, 25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 15-13

Sept. 11 - Def. Chillicothe 25-14, 25-19; def. Miami Trace 25-9, 25-6

*Sept. 13 - Def. Westerville South 25-17, 25-14, 25-14

*Sept. 16 - Def. Marysville 25-21, 25-18, 25-22

Sept. 18 - Lost to Newark 26-24, 22-25, 25-17; def. Warsaw River View 25-15, 24-26, 25-23; def. Fisher Catholic 25-19, 25-22

*Sept. 21 - Def. Olentangy 25-17, 25-13, 25-19

*Sept. 23 - Def. Jerome 25-18, 25-20, 25-21

Last Saturday - Def. Central Crossing 25-18, 25-18, 25-11

*Last Tuesday - Played Westerville Central

*Today - At Scioto

*Tuesday - At Liberty

Of note: The Warriors were 12-3 overall and 7-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

SOUTH

*Aug. 31 - Lost to Westerville Central 25-18, 25-11, 25-7

*Sept. 2 - Lost to Scioto 25-20, 25-12, 27-29, 27-25

*Sept. 7 - Lost to Jerome 26-24, 25-12, 25-19

*Sept. 9 - Def. Marysville 25-17, 25-27, 17-25, 25-18, 15-13

Sept. 11 - Lost to Thomas Worthington 25-9, 25-15

*Sept. 13 - Lost to Westerville North 25-17, 25-14, 25-14

Sept. 18 - Lost to Licking Heights 25-23, 25-21; def. Reynoldsburg 25-19, 25-16

*Sept. 21 - Lost to Liberty 25-15, 25-9, 25-11

*Sept. 23 - Lost to Westerville Central 25-14, 25-20, 25-21

Last Saturday - Lost to Hilliard Bradley 25-20, 25-19; lost to Upper Arlington 25-13, 25-9

*Last Monday - Lost to Olentangy 25-13, 27-25, 25-13

*Last Tuesday - Played Scioto

Saturday - Home vs. DeSales

Of note: The Wildcats were 2-12 overall and 1-7 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Cardinal match