After going 2-3 in the first round of OCC-Capital Division play, the New Albany High School girls volleyball team knows it likely is out of contention for its second consecutive league championship.
Coach Karen Morlan and the Eagles were more concerned with becoming consistent and demonstrating progress as the second half of league play began Sept. 26 at Newark.
"We are working to gain consistency in our play," Morlan said. "We have had great moments in each match and need to see more of those. We are continuing to grow as a team and are expecting a lot out of our younger players, as well as our seniors."
New Albany was 7-8 overall before Sept. 26.
The Eagles lost five of six matches from Aug. 26-Sept. 6, including its first two matches in league play, 25-19, 25-21, 14-25, 22-25, 18-16 to Newark on Sept. 5 and 25-18, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17 to Big Walnut on Sept. 6.
New Albany began to right itself after that, with wins against Groveport (25-21, 25-19, 25-7 on Sept. 12), Franklin Heights (25-1, 25-4, 25-12 on Sept. 19) and Hilliard Bradley (25-19, 25-20, 27-25 on Sept. 21) sandwiched around a loss to Canal Winchester (25-18, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17 on Sept. 14).
Big Walnut was 5-0 in the OCC-Capital before Sept. 26, followed by Canal Winchester (4-1), Newark (3-2) and the Eagles.
"All of the players continue to improve and are trying to contribute to the team each and every night," Morlan said. "Our serve receive has improved throughout the past few weeks. Seniors Patty Rolwing and Micaylah Nash have given pretty consistent performances each night on both offense and defense. These two are leading us in kills and digs. ...
"We have confidence that we are going to better that record during the second round and are excited to get it started."
Nash led New Albany in kills with 148 before Sept. 26, ahead of Rolwing (108). Rolwing's 179 digs led the Eagles, just ahead of Nash (171) and Kacy Morlan (146).
Coach Morlan also noted the performance of freshman setter Gabi Tagaloa, who stepped into the lineup early this season alongside Jessie Wisniewski. Tagaloa had 93 digs and 50 kills through 15 matches.
"(Tagaloa) has been gaining confidence on the court and is going to be a great leader in our program over the next four years," coach Morlan said.
After not scoring a goal in its first four games, the field hockey team began to jell in mid-September and won back-to-back games last week, defeating Dublin Scioto 7-0 on Sept. 18 and Hartley 2-1 on Sept. 19.
New Albany was 3-6 overall and 1-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East before playing Lancaster on Sept. 25.
Amanda Boals scored three goals against Scioto and Brooke Mason added two. Mason scored both goals against Hartley and had a team-high six through nine games.
"The season so far has been a rebuilding year with many young players stepping up into key roles," coach Marissa Weldon said. "The team continues to work hard and has become more comfortable playing with each other. We also have focused in the past couple of weeks on being more offensive minded while maintaining our strong defense. All of these things combined have led to increased scoring opportunities."
The Eagles were outscored 12-0 in their first four games, all losses, before picking up their first win with a 5-1 victory over Dublin Coffman on Sept. 13.
Golf teams prepare
The postseason begins Tuesday, Oct. 3, for the boys and girls golf teams as they participate in Division I sectional tournaments.
The boys team will play in the Clover Valley sectional. The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to the district tournament Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.
The girls team is headed to a sectional at Westchester, seeking its second consecutive district berth after not having qualified since 2011. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.
Below are the coming schedules for the New Albany cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 30 -- Buck Creek Invitational at Buck Creek State Park
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Watterson
Sept. 30 -- Dublin Jerome Honorary Invitational at Tartan Fields
Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional tournament at Clover Valley
Sept. 28 -- Dublin Coffman at New Albany Country Club
Sept. 30 -- Canal Winchester Invitational at Westchester
Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional tournament at Westchester
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
*Oct. 3 -- At Canal Winchester
Sept. 28 -- At Westerville Central
Sept. 30 -- At DeSales
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
Sept. 28 -- At Columbus Academy
Oct. 3 -- At Pickerington North
*Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Big Walnut. The Eagles lost to the Golden Eagles 25-15, 25-15, 24-26, 25-10 on Sept. 6.
Sept. 30 -- Home vs. Licking Heights and Mount Vernon
*Oct. 3 -- At Groveport. The Eagles defeated the Cruisers 25-21, 25-19, 25-7 on Sept. 12.