Clint Gentry has the Columbus School for Girls volleyball team believing in itself in his first season as coach.
The Unicorns won their first five matches before dropping their CCL opener to DeSales 25-20, 25-19, 25-15 on Aug. 29.
Lauren Carmon is one of six returning starters from a team that finished 13-9 overall and went 0-4 in the CCL last year in Andy Snouffer's only season as coach. She said there is excitement within the program.
"Coach Gentry is really working to turn things around and he really knows the game so well," said Carmon, a senior outside hitter/back-row player. "We're learning not just how to hit the ball, but where to hit it. We're already beating teams that we lost to last season."
Two of those teams are Grandview and Delaware Christian. The Unicorns defeated Delaware Christian 25-20, 25-23 and Columbus Academy 25-16, 25-8 on Aug. 26 after defeating Grandview 25-14, 25-9, 25-11 on Aug. 24.
CSG also defeated Worthington Christian 25-13, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23 on Aug. 22 to open the season and beat Bexley 25-20, 25-16, 25-22 on Aug. 28.
"This group works well together," Gentry said. "They came into the season with the attitude that they were willing to do the work needed to get better, and that has paid off."
Joining Carmon as returning starters are seniors Fiona McAlearney (setter) and Suchita Paladugu (right-side hitter), juniors Haley Kuproski (outside hitter/back row) and Hailey Kurth (libero) and sophomore Maryanne Boyle (middle hitter).
"We run a 5-1 with Fiona as our setter," said Gentry, who was an assistant at Hilliard Bradley last fall and also has coached at Centennial and at the club level. "We have sped up the offense and made things much quicker. Defensively, we play a 'read defense,' where we read where the ball is going and adjust."
Rounding out the roster are senior Fredaye Wilkes (outside hitter), sophomores Emily Donat (right-side hitter), Peyton Jackson (defensive specialist), Bella Lyons (defensive specialist), Frances Poth (middle hitter) and McKenzie Stringer (setter) and freshman Bella Sloan (middle hitter).
Coach excited about
potential of runners
First-year cross country coach Patrick Helgerman is on a mission to improve his team's confidence.
Senior Charlotte Falk and juniors Eleanor Richardson and Elizabeth Tierney lead the returnees for the Unicorns, who won a Division III district title in 2015 but finished ninth (278 points) at district last year behind champion Galion Northmor (77). The top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced to regional.
Richardson finished 44th (21 minutes, 42.63 seconds) at district to lead the Unicorns.
"They have a bunch of talent and they showed that by what they did two years ago," said Helgerman, who coached Johnstown from 2011-15 and replaced two-year coach Brian Botzman. "They had good (race) times and they have the potential to get to that level again."
The Unicorns opened by finishing sixth (138) of nine teams in the Galion Northmor Invitational on Aug. 21 behind champion Fredericktown (61).
Richardson (21st, 23:04.71) led CSG, followed by junior Sarah O'Dell (28th, 23:41.82), Falk (39th, 24:33.55), Tierney (44th, 24:50.44), freshman Amanda Barok (53rd, 25:39.8), sophomore Sabrina Morse (63rd, 26:20.95) and sophomore Asia Nguyen (107th, 30:18.24).
CSG finished 13th (321) in the Newark Catholic Invitational on Aug. 26 at Bryn Du Mansion behind champion Fairfield Union (35) as 18 teams scored. Richardson (37th, 23:08.2) led the Unicorns.
Also on the team are senior McKenzie Gillison, juniors Leah Dobres and Emma Rau and sophomore Katie Pawlik.
"We're getting them to talk about goals," Helgerman said. "In the past, they didn't condition over the summer and we did that this year. Those summer workouts give me confidence that we're better than we have run so far."
Field hockey roster
filled with youth
Fifth-year field hockey coach Jessica Schirner will be teaching the basics with several players new to the sport.
The Unicorns return six starters from last season, when they finished 6-11 overall and 1-6 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division.
Returning are seniors Lily Berger (midfielder/forward), Maura Hackett (midfielder) and Brinley Zieg (defender/midfielder) and juniors Amanda Johnson (goalkeeper), Hannah Lonser (forward) and Katie Wagenbrenner (forward).
Another key returnee is sophomore Amirah Lomax, who shared time in goal last year and has moved to forward.
"We're young, but we have some good kids back, especially the seniors who are the heart and soul of the team," said Schirner, whose team was 0-4-1 overall and 0-1-1 in the COFHL-East after tying Hartley at 1 on Aug. 31. "Brinley, Lily and Maura are very strong leaders and they have been playing together since the sixth grade. They are like having coaches on the field."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Sidney Flynn (forward), Katherine Gumina (defender) and Lillian Kuntz (defender), juniors Emma Bainbridge (defender), Margeaux Rocco (defender/forward) and Roya Shahinfar (defender), sophomore Maura Donnelly (forward) and freshmen Gabriella Anthony (defender), Kayla Badyna (forward), Olivia Barry-Wilson (goalie) and Jolien Kusi (defender).
"We have several players that are fresh and new to the game," Schirner said. "We don't have the numbers in a small school like CSG, and we don't have a j.v. team. That would have let them excel at that level before playing varsity."
Aug. 21 -- Galion Northmor Invitational
Aug. 26 -- Newark Catholic Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion
Sept. 5 -- Village Academy Invitational
Sept. 9 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 23 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 30 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North
Oct. 4 -- Backwoods Two-Mile Fest at Thornville Sheridan
Oct. 14 -- CCL meet at Otterbein
Aug. 21 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
*Aug. 24 -- at Granville
Aug. 26 -- at Cincinnati Summit Country Day and at Cincinnati St. Ursula
*Aug. 31 -- at Hartley
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Watterson
Sept. 7 -- Hilliard Club at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 9 -- vs. Kettering Fairmont
*Sept. 11 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 12 -- vs. Lancaster
*Sept. 19 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Sept. 27 -- at Dublin Scioto
*Oct. 3 -- vs. Bexley
Oct. 7 -- at Olentangy
*Oct. 9 -- vs. New Albany
Oct. 11 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
Aug. 22 -- at Worthington Christian
Aug. 24 -- vs. Grandview
Aug. 26 -- at Columbus Academy with Delaware Christian
Aug. 28 -- vs. Bexley
*Aug. 29 -- vs. DeSales
*Sept. 5 -- at Watterson
*Sept. 7 -- at Ready
*Sept. 12 -- vs. Hartley
Sept. 16 -- Fairbanks Panther Classic
*Sept. 18 -- at DeSales
Sept. 23 -- at Tree of Life with New Hope Christian
Sept. 25 -- vs. Granville Christian
*Sept. 26 -- vs. Ready
*Sept. 28 -- at Hartley
*Oct. 3 -- vs. Watterson
Oct. 5 -- at Madison Christian
Oct. 10 -- vs. Patriot Prep
Oct. 12 -- at Westerville South
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus School for Girls golf, soccer and tennis teams:
Sept. 7 -- DeSales at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 11 -- Centerburg at Wyandot
Sept. 12 -- MOGGL at Village View
*Sept. 7 -- At Hartley
Sept. 12 -- At Tree of Life
*Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Watterson
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Pickerington North