A season of transition continues for the Hilliard Bradley High School girls volleyball program.
The Jaguars have their fifth coach in four seasons in Shawn Parsell, and just as they are starting to pick up the new schemes, they lose their top hitter to injury.
Senior outside hitter/middle blocker Donna Brown, a 6-foot-2 DePaul University recruit and a four-year starter, is sidelined indefinitely with a foot injury, leaving Bradley with a major void in its lineup to fill.
Brown thought she had sprained her ankle during a 25-14, 25-13, 25-20 win over Thomas Worthington on Sept. 14, when the Jaguars avenged a 26-24, 25-19, 21-25, 20-25, 15-9 loss to the Cardinals on Aug. 22 in the first round of OCC-Cardinal Division play.
However, her doctor's diagnosis was different.
"They think it's a stress fracture (in my right foot) and we won't know until I get an MRI," said Brown, who was second-team all-district and first-team all-league last season. "We're treating it as a stress fracture right now, which is why I'm wearing a (walking) boot.
"You have to cherish the moments that you have and be grateful that you can play the sport that you love. Right now, I'm trying to cheer on the team, encourage them and try to keep them accountable. I'm trying to make sure I'm still being a leader."
Parsell said the reins of the team are now in the hands of the other seniors.
"Donna will be out as short as four weeks or as long as the rest of the season," said Parsell, whose team was 8-7 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 26. "Senior leadership will be the key, no doubt about it. I have been fortunate enough to have several good senior classes, and the story is never over on any senior class until the season's over.
"We have a really hard-working group of seniors, but they have to step up. You will only go as far as your seniors take you. They have definitely taken pride in the program and it's time to get it done."
Kimmy Gregory, a senior outside hitter/defensive specialist, said the Jaguars will have to adapt to sending out a smaller lineup.
"We're all like 5-5 and she's like 6-2, but we will find a way around it," she said. "We have to step up because Donna is one of our captains and she was our big hitter for us. But Megan (Fleshman) and I are captains and we're still playing. We all have to jump higher and make plays because we lost a big asset to our team."
Fleshman, a senior outside hitter who was honorable mention all-league last season, said the Jaguars have to pull together like a family.
"I feel like my role is being a part in the family," she said. "This is my family and we (seniors) need to take the freshmen and everyone under our wing. We're the people they look to to help cheer them up and just help the program grow and become a unified family."
Parsell said the team has shown continued improvement, but went 1-2 in its first three matches with Brown in the lineup.
The Jaguars lost to Dublin Scioto 17-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-18, 15-10 on Sept. 19 in league play and fell to New Albany 25-19, 25-20, 27-25 on Sept. 20 before defeating Davidson 27-25, 25-21, 25-13 on Sept. 23.
"I feel like even though it doesn't always show in the win column, the girls are getting much better and I really feel we were getting into what we needed to be into," Parsell said. "We avenged a five-game loss to Thomas and then the next day we're trying to replace our most dominant offensive player. Now we're trying to find ourselves again. It's not the same old thing, it's something that's brand new.
"The schedule is definitely challenging the girls. We have a tough schedule and we're in a tough league. Sometimes I feel like we're playing so badly and we're not getting things done, and I look at the scoreboard and it's 25-20. We're so close."
Girls soccer team
remains in title hunt
The girls soccer team was 8-2-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Jerome on Sept. 26.
Bradley had six shutouts through 11 games and had outscored its opponents 22-9.
The Jaguars reached the midway point of league play without surrendering a goal in three contests, as they defeated Thomas 2-0 on Aug. 24, Kilbourne 4-0 on Sept. 12 and Delaware 2-0 on Sept. 19.
The Jaguars' two losses came against Beavercreek (4-1 on Aug. 26) and Whitehouse Anthony Wayne (1-0 on Sept. 17). They tied Westerville Central at 2 on Sept. 7.
Through 11 games, Avery Jantonio had a team-high nine goals and Gabbi Viggiano had four. Macy Enneking (23 saves) and Emily Keck (29 saves) have rotated as goalkeepers.
Boys golfers getting
set for sectional
The boys golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Darby Creek, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.
Last season, the Jaguars finished third (309) in the 12-team sectional at Darby Creek, behind Jerome (293) and Olentangy Liberty (306), to advance to district. Tyler Mordarski, who shot an 88 at sectional and an 81 at district a year ago, is the lone returnee from last season's postseason lineup.
Bradley competes against Marysville on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Darby Creek.
Girls golfers to
The girls golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Royal American, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.
Last season, the Jaguars did not have a district qualifier after finishing sixth of 10 teams in a sectional at Mentel Memorial. Christy Hribar led Bradley with a 90.
The Jaguars compete against Darby and Davidson on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Hickory Hills.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 30 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at Darby
Sept. 28 -- At Olentangy
Sept. 30 -- Home vs. Beavercreek
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Marysville
Sept. 30 -- At Upper Arlington
*Oct. 3 -- At Dublin Scioto
Sept. 28 -- At Central Crossing
Oct. 3 -- At Grove City
*Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Delaware. The Jaguars lost to the Pacers 25-17, 28-26, 22-25, 14-25, 15-13 on Aug. 31.
Sept. 30 -- Home vs. Jonathan Alder
*Oct. 3 -- At Dublin Jerome. The Jaguars defeated the Celtics 25-15, 25-16, 25-21 on Sept. 5.