Learning to jell hasn't been an issue for the Watterson High School girls volleyball team thus far.
Even with a new coach in Stephanie Grieshop as well as a pair of freshmen who are taking on key roles, the Eagles' expectations remain high after being a Division I district runner-up last season.
Watterson opened with a 25-10, 25-21, 25-10 loss to Cincinnati Ursuline Academy on Aug. 19 but beat Teays Valley 25-14, 25-8, 25-15 on Aug. 24 and began CCL action with a 25-11, 25-19, 25-20 victory over Ready on Aug. 29. The Eagles lost to Hartley 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-13 on Aug. 31 to fall to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the CCL before playing Columbus School for Girls on Sept. 5.
Last season, Watterson finished 14-12 overall and placed second in the CCL at 5-2 behind Hartley (6-1).
"We're excited about the chemistry of our team," said Grieshop, who was Olentangy Orange's coach during its first two seasons in 2008 and '09 and was an assistant at Westerville Central and Gahanna before taking over for Max Miller during the offseason.
"We definitely have some high goals. We did lose to Ursuline, but we definitely learned a lot about ourselves in that match. It's been an all-around good experience so far."
Callie Cloran (outside hitter), Karlyn Hannewald (outside hitter), Sarah Puthoff (middle hitter), Maggie Simone (defensive specialist) and Josie Vondran (setter) are senior returnees.
Other returnees are juniors Grace Jenkins (middle hitter) and Kari Mercer (defensive specialist).
Also on the team are senior Sam Goad (outside hitter), juniors Kate Griffin (setter/right-side hitter) and Veronica Merkle (setter/right-side hitter) and freshmen Sydney Taylor (outside hitter/defensive specialist) and Olyvia Kennedy (right-side hitter), the daughter of Watterson football coach Brian Kennedy.
Field hockey team
leaning on seniors
The field hockey team is coming off a season in which it went 15-2-1 and was a district runner-up.
Most of the Eagles' key players were lost to graduation, but seniors Caroline Golonka (goalkeeper), Emily Harbrecht (right midfielder) and Fran Passen (center midfielder) give 21st-year coach Janet Baird a trio of returning starters to lead the way.
"It's going to be a growing process because of the number of new players to varsity," Baird said. "A couple of them came out as sophomores, so we're a little behind, but we've got great seniors and great senior leadership. This is definitely one of the least experienced teams in a long time."
The other seniors are Avery Dixon (right winger), Lillie Fernandes (left winger) and Caroline Newcomb (defender).
Juniors Lexi Igoe (attacker) and Bella Pardi (defender) are other key returnees.
Others looking to contribute include juniors Julianna DiSabato (defender), Lindsey Hull (attacker), Savannah Hutchings (attacker), Jessica Joseph (midfielder), Makenzie Koah (midfielder), Erica Melaragno (defender), Maria Pardi (goalie) and Emily Quick (attacker) and sophomore Emily Dixon (attacker).
Watterson opened with a 3-0 win over Hartley on Aug. 21 as Emily Dixon, Fernandes and Harbrecht scored, and lost to Granville 2-0 on Aug. 31.
Runners looking for
growth during season
Both the boys and girls cross country teams have key competitors back from last season.
The boys team again is led by senior Nick Kuraly, who placed 63rd (17 minutes, 27.37 seconds) at the Division I regional last season.
Seniors Matthew Hartel, Shane Merklin and Patrick Monnin also are returnees, while senior Jim Ryan, junior Dylan Tucker and freshman Will Garey are other key runners.
On Aug. 26 in the Newark Catholic Invitational, the boys finished fifth (145) of 22 teams behind champion Heath (40) as Kuraly won the title in a course-record 16:43.2.
The boys are competing in Division II this fall.
"Our hope is always to improve as the season goes on and see who steps up," 29th-year coach Matt McGowan said. "We'd like to get some kids qualifying to the regional."
While the boys were CCL runners-up last season, the girls have won three consecutive league titles.
The Eagles were fourth (157) at the 18-team Newark Catholic Invitational behind champion Fairfield Union (35) as senior Emily Latshaw placed 18th (22:03.6) and senior Kelsi Connors was 26th (22:18.2).
Other key runners are senior Sarah O'Brien, juniors Grace Elliott and Elizabeth Rabold, sophomores Bridget Dougherty and Sarah Heink and freshman Emily Vais.
Football team getting
set to face Warriors
Over the past six seasons, the football team has gone 3-3 against Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.
The Eagles will get a chance to break the stalemate Friday, Sept. 8, when they play at Walsh Jesuit. Last season, the Warriors lost to Watterson 27-14 on their way to a 1-9 finish.
Walsh Jesuit opened with a 10-0 loss to Mayfield on Aug. 25 and lost to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 28-8 on Sept. 1. Watterson opened with a 41-6 win over Whitehall on Aug. 25 and lost to Olentangy Orange 22-0 on Sept. 1.
Top players for the Warriors include quarterback Zack Weitman, a 6-foot-2, 150-pound senior who gained starting experience last season, as well as senior running back Dominic Frisone and junior running backs Joe Kyner and Nick Vaccaro.
Golf teams searching
The boys and girls golf teams have hit midseason.
Through the season's first month, senior Bobby Reis was leading the boys team in average with an 80, including scoring a 75 in two tournaments. Sophomore Fred Gilbert was averaging 82 and sophomores Ryan Newcomb and Patrick Sellers also have been key players.
"Over the next few weeks, I would hope for a little more consistency in scores from player to player," coach Olin Melaragno said.
"We need to do a better job of recognizing our individual weaknesses and to playing to our strengths."
Junior Lizzy Steffensmeier was averaging 80 and senior Erin Korn was averaging 87 to lead the girls team.
"So far we've been inconsistent," coach Debbie Weis said. "Our 18-hole score has fluctuated by 20 strokes. We took second (Aug. 14) in (the) Hudson (Invitational at Lake Forest). In the coming weeks, we need to make better decisions on the course."
Aug. 26 -- Newark Catholic Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion
Sept. 2 -- Circleville Kiwanis Invitational
Sept. 9 -- Northland Invitational
Sept. 20 -- Arrowhead Invitational at Whetstone
Sept. 23 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 30 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North
Oct. 14 -- CCL meet at Otterbein
*Aug. 21 -- at Hartley
*Aug. 31 -- vs. Granville
*Sept. 5 -- at Columbus School for Girls
*Sept. 11 -- at Bexley
Sept. 16 -- at Shaker Heights
Sept. 18 -- at Upper Arlington
Sept. 20 -- at Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 23 -- at Cincinnati Ursuline Academy and at Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame
*Sept. 26 -- at Columbus Academy
*Sept. 27 -- vs. Lancaster
Sept. 29 -- vs. Hudson
*Oct. 2 -- at New Albany
*Oct. 4 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Oct. 9 -- at Thomas Worthington
Aug. 19 -- vs. Cincinnati Ursuline Academy
Aug. 24 -- vs. Teays Valley
*Aug. 29 -- vs. Ready
*Aug. 31 -- at Hartley
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
Sept. 7 -- at Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 8-9 -- Louisville (Ky.) Assumption Invitational
*Sept. 12 -- at DeSales
*Sept. 14 -- at Ready
*Sept. 19 -- vs. Hartley
Sept. 25 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
*Sept. 28 -- vs. DeSales
Sept. 30 -- vs. Cincinnati Seton and Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit
*Oct. 3 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Oct. 4 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
Oct. 7 -- vs. Toledo St. Ursula
Oct. 11 -- vs. Westerville South
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:
Sept. 9 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 12 -- Bexley at Westchester
Sept. 7 -- Coffman at Marysville Golf Club
Sept. 9 -- Eagle/Panther Invitational at Cooks Creek
Sept. 11 -- Liberty, Olentangy and Pickerington North at Airport
Sept. 13 -- Gahanna at Champions
Sept. 9 -- At Dayton Carroll
Sept. 12 -- At Worthington Christian
*Sept. 7 -- Home vs. DeSales
Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Perrysburg
*Sept. 7 -- At Columbus School for Girls
*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. DeSales
Sept. 13 -- At Pickerington North