The Whitehall-Yearling High School girls volleyball team finally got to play at home last week after playing its matches at Old Rosemore Middle School and on the road since the beginning of last season.
A renovation project at the high school forced the Rams to play away from home, and even though the school opened in early September, the team had to adjust its schedule until proper equipment arrived for the court.
"It was nice to be home," coach Danielle Smith said. "It was nice not to have to travel over to the middle school, get all the girls over there. Finally, the girls are getting to show off the new gym and the new school. They were super excited."
Whitehall had lost six consecutive matches and was 4-13 overall and 0-9 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing London on Oct. 1.
In their first match at the high school since 2011, the Rams lost to Columbus Academy 25-14, 25-17, 23-25, 25-19 on Sept. 24.
Whitehall also lost to Madison Plains 25-19, 25-20, 25-15 on Sept. 26.
Middle hitter and setter Mykela Hollinshead had 15 kills and outside hitter Kayla Williams 14 in the two matches.
Outside hitter Tierra Copley had 12 kills and 10 aces, and all-around players Andrea Seberig had 22 digs and Rebekah Young had 12 digs.
"We're so close, we're being so competitive in every game," Smith said. "We need a couple balls to fall our way to finally get that win so they know that they can do it."
With the Division II district tournament to begin Oct. 15, Smith hopes her team can gain some confidence in its four remaining regular-season matches heading into the postseason.
"I'm hoping to pick up a couple wins so we can take it in to tournament time," Smith said. "We want to improve and start building confidence for next year, especially some of the younger ones that I will have returning."
Smith is hoping for a bright future, pointing to successful middle school programs this season.
"This is huge turnaround to where we were last year," she said.
Football team to face Columbus Academy
The football team will play host to Columbus Academy on Friday, Oct. 4, looking to rebound from its second overtime loss of the season.
The Rams lost to visiting Bexley 35-34 in two overtimes Sept. 27.
Whitehall also lost to Bloom-Carroll 52-51 in three overtimes Sept. 6 at home.
The Rams are 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the MSL-Ohio.
"It was right in the grasp of our hands and we just let one slip away," quarterback Cody Koons said.
Academy improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio with a 38-7 win over Grandview on Sept. 27. Running back Bryce Bailey rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.
"They are a very fundamentally sound team," Koons said of Academy.
"They're going to do what they need to do. They're going to do what they're supposed to do in their assignments and we have to figure a way to outsmart them and just outplay them."
Against Bexley, the Rams pulled to within 35-34 on running back Shaquille Alexander's 11-yard touchdown run in the second overtime. However, Alexander was stopped short on the two-point conversion, helping the Lions improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio.
"It was a great game and we figured we might as well go for the win and it just didn't work out for us," Koons said.
Alexander rushed for 127 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries.
"We have a lot of heart this year and we never give up," Koons said. "It's really been the story of this team so far is how hard we play and, no matter what, we will not give up."
Boys soccer team suffers 'tough loss'
After losing to Central Crossing 3-0 on Sept. 16, the boys soccer team fell to Grove City Christian 1-0 on Sept. 24 in what was a "a really tough loss for us," coach Dan Ensign said.
"We played really well in terms of ball control and possession," he said.
"We really worked the ball around. The defense did a great job of keeping the number of shots on goal low. They got a lucky goal on a goalie error. On offense, we had a lot of great opportunities but couldn't capitalize. It was a tough loss for all of us."
Columbus Academy, the top-ranked team in the state in Division III last week, defeated Whitehall 6-0 on Sept. 26.
The Rams were 1-8-1 overall and 0-3-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing London on Oct. 1.
Ensign hopes the Rams can end the regular season on a positive note.
"My goal is to make sure the players stay healthy and to make sure we're all in game shape leading into the tournament," he said.
"I also want to make sure that we keep motivated and our morale high."
Hailu finishes 16th in London race
In the Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic on Sept. 28 at the London Country Club, senior Nahom Hailu of the boys cross country team was 16th of 103 runners in Division I in 17 minutes, 35.67 seconds.
Ana Abduljelil was 70th (18:56.25) for the Rams, who finished 15th (373) behind champion Olentangy (70) as 15 teams scored.