It hasn't been easy, but the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls volleyball team continues to navigate its way through the OCC-Cardinal Division schedule.
The Wolves were 13-3 overall and 8-0 in the league entering a Sept. 26 match with Hilliard Bradley. If Kilbourne beat the Jaguars, it could clinch the league championship Thursday, Sept. 28, at Dublin Scioto.
"After losing eight seniors last year, our whole goal this year was to just compete to the best of our ability in each game," junior libero Amber Beals said. "We reached the (Division I) district finals last year, but we didn't think about that or winning a conference title or anything like that."
At least not until the Wolves beat defending league champion Hilliard Darby 25-22, 25-18, 19-25, 23-25, 15-9 on Sept. 19 at home. That outcome dropped the Panthers to 5-3 in the league, where they shared second place with Delaware at the start of the week.
"We knew that match was impactful," Beals said. "But after we won, I looked up at the wall and saw our banner and said to myself, 'I can't wait to see our year be added up there.' We're so close now. We just need to finish it off."
Kilbourne went 8-4 in the league last season to place second behind Darby (12-0).
"We'll probably sit down and talk about what we want to do, set postseason goals and how to go about accomplishing them, as the season winds down," said Beals, a University of Michigan commit. "Personally, I would like to see us get at least one step further by winning a district championship and reaching the regional semifinals or finals."
The win over Darby was Kilbourne's fifth league victory that has gone to five games. The Wolves haven't been extended to five games in any non-league match this season.
"It is both aggravating and fun," coach Meladee Hopkins said. "It's aggravating when we win the first two sets and then let down so then we have to turn it on in the fifth. We are excited to be winning, though. They are so even keel when we are in these situations. They do not seem to get rattled.
"(Against Darby), I said in the huddle, 'OK, we are in set (No.) 5, which is what you girls seem to prefer, so it's time to turn up the intensity and take care of business.' And so far, they have done just that. It seems that they just go to another level of determination and get the job done."
The Wolves defeated Hilliard Davidson 25-19, 22-25, 25-18, 25-17 on Sept. 21.
"The girls honestly just treat every night as an opportunity to go out and have fun with their friends," Hopkins said. "We have taken on the role of spoiler because no one expected anything from us since we lost eight seniors last year and only have three players that were on varsity full-time last year.
"After the first (match of the season), I told them that this could be a really long, tough season if they did not come together and play as a team and not six individual players. Fortunately, they took that to heart."
Beals has been the team's catalyst, according to Hopkins.
"Amber is a consistent rock on our defense and stepped up her leadership on the court," said Hopkins, whose team will play host to Central Crossing on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in a 'Volley for the Cure' event. "She is not the type of player that gets upset with her teammates if they mess up. However, she can be pretty hard on herself."
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 a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.
The Wolves competed at Darby Creek in the third round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 30, shooting a 343 for their highest score in the four-round event. John Catanzarite shot a 78 and Carson Daugherty carded an 81.
Kilbourne finished sixth in the sectional at Darby Creek last season as Catanzarite shot a 78 to qualify for district as an individual. At district, he carded an 83.
Girls golfers to
The girls golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Westchester, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.
The Wolves competed at Westchester in the first round in the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 9, shooting their best score (414) in the four-round event, as Madalyn Hopkins (89) and Trixie Abbott (91) led the way.
Kilbourne placed fourth in the sectional at Mentel Memorial last season. Ashley Flynn, a 2017 graduate, shot a 71 to advance to district at The Links at Groveport, where she carded an 80 to finish one stroke shy of competing in a playoff for the third and final individual state-qualifying spot.
Boys soccer team
turning the corner
After opening the season with four consecutive losses, the boys soccer team went unbeaten in its next five games and was 3-4-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Delaware on Sept. 26.
The Wolves beat Dublin Scioto 4-0 on Sept. 19, as Chris Guerra, Dean Elliott, Logan Evans and Lucas LaFleur scored and goalkeeper Christian Hernandez made five saves.
Girls soccer team
earns first victory
Maggie Crozier and Kayla Morris both scored as the girls soccer team defeated Westerville Central 2-1 on Sept. 14 to earn its first win of the season.
The Wolves then played Scioto to a scoreless tie on Sept. 19.
Goalie Jill Baumgardner made six saves for the Wolves, who were 1-7-1 overall and 0-3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Delaware on Sept. 26.
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis, girls volleyball and water polo teams:
Oct. 2 -- At Olentangy Orange
*Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Watterson
Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional at Darby Creek
Sept. 28 -- Gahanna at Worthington Hills
Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional at West-chester
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 30 -- At Chillicothe
Oct. 3 -- At Upper Arlington
Sept. 28 -- At Westerville South
Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
Oct. 2 -- At Ready
Oct. 3 -- Home vs. DeSales
*Sept. 28 -- At Dublin Scioto. The Wolves beat the Irish 25-12, 25-21, 24-26, 20-25, 15-9 on Aug. 31.
*Oct. 3 -- At Delaware. The Wolves beat the Pacers 23-25, 14-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-9 on Sept. 5.
Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Central Crossing
BOYS WATER POLO
Sept. 30 -- Upper Arlington Invitational