As the regular season winds down, Whitehall-Yearling High School girls volleyball coach Danielle Smith hopes her team can gain some momentum heading into the Division II district tournament.
The Rams were 3-12 overall and 2-7 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Licking Valley on Oct. 2.
"It is frustrating losing, but our girls know where they want to go," Smith said. "They know what we need to do to be good."
The Rams play host to Heath on Thursday, Oct. 4. Heath defeated Whitehall 25-8, 25-14, 25-14 on Sept. 11.
"We're trying to get it going back on the right track," said Smith, whose team had lost three consecutive matches before playing Licking Valley.
Whitehall lost to Newark Catholic 25-10, 25-10, 25-11 on Sept. 27. Newark Catholic was third in the Division IV state poll last week.
"The match against Newark Catholic was a tough one," Smith said. "Newark Catholic is undefeated and they're ranked in the state. We knew going in that they were going to be a really tough team. They just keep the game moving really quickly and that's an adjustment that our girls are going to have to make. We'll work on that in practice, speeding up drills we do to make the game go a little faster."
Through 15 matches, Melanie Gilmer led the team in kills with 82.
"We are stronger this year," said Gilmer, whose team finished 5-18 last season. "Our defense last year wasn't as strong as it is this year."
Amber Lucas had 54 kills and 25 blocks, and Marissa Ware had 49 blocks and 42 kills.
Tierra Copley led the team in assists with 117, followed by Kayla Williams with 52. Copley had 21 aces, Delina Farnlacher had 17 and Danielle Farnlacher had 14.
Andrea Seberig had 127 digs.
"I just hope that we can come out with a couple more wins in our league and just be more competitive," Delina Farnlacher said. "This season has made us closer and it's made us stronger, because with every loss it just drives us more to get better and to win more games."
Football team to face Lakewood
The Whitehall and Lakewood football teams enter their game Friday, Oct. 5, at Bexley with each looking for their second win.
Both teams are 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the MSL-Ohio.
Whitehall lost to Granville 49-7 on Sept. 28 for its fifth consecutive loss.
Lakewood lost to Licking Valley 54-0 on Sept. 28 for its fourth consecutive loss.
"We have Lakewood this week," coach Jake Kuhner said. "It's definitely a team we're looking forward to playing. We just have to execute. Against Granville, we didn't execute things we should have executed. We practiced and planned for it and we just have to execute and go through with our assignments."
Whitehall defeated Lakewood 31-7 last season and has won three consecutive games in the series. Lakewood's last win came in 2008, 34-27 in overtime.
Against Granville, the Rams pulled to within 15-7 in the second quarter on Barry Upchurch's 20-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Granville, however, scored two touchdowns late in the second quarter for a 29-7 lead at halftime and outscored Whitehall 20-0 in the second half.
"Once again, we had about five minutes left in the second quarter and we were in the game just like the last couple of weeks," Kuhner said. "We have to finish up our second quarter and play for the rest of the game. We usually have about five minutes of chaos for a little bit. Our team plays with a lot of emotion, but also they play with some doubt here and there if the score does start getting away from them. We're trying to get that out of them and have them play four quarters 100 percent."
Granville had a 440-93 advantage in total yards.
Sophomore Tristen Ritchie has replaced junior Cody Koons at quarterback, with Koons moving to wide receiver.