The Westerville North High School girls volleyball team had a different attitude heading into the postseason this fall.
The Warriors were 7-15 overall entering the Division I district tournament. That's two more victories than last season, and they were competitive in several of their losses.
North avoided going winless in the OCC-Buckeye Division by defeating Westerville South 25-23, 25-20, 25-21 on Oct. 5.
"Last year we only had one (losing) match go five games and this year we have (had) three go five games and three more that went four games," said coach Dylan Johnson, whose team was 5-17 last season. "We're playing in the toughest division in the OCC, so that makes a big difference."
The Warriors lost five-game matches to Marion Harding 26-24, 17-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-12 on Aug. 26, Westerville Central 25-21, 22-25, 25-13, 15-25, 17-15 on Sept. 5 and South 25-23, 25-16, 16-25, 13-25, 15-8 on Sept. 14. They lost four-game matches to Upper Arlington 17-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17 on Aug. 29, Olentangy 25-13, 25-12, 21-25, 25-13 on Sept. 7 and Central 24-26, 25-16, 25-22, 25-18 on Sept. 26.
"I'm really proud of how far the team has come from last season," senior Claire Dawson said. "We have a young team and (Johnson) believes in us."
The Warriors went 1-9 in the OCC-Buckeye. They closed their league schedule Oct. 10 with a 25-17, 25-10, 25-5 loss to Olentangy Orange, which tied Olentangy Liberty for the championship at 9-1.
"The biggest improvement is that we're playing as a team," Johnson said. "We compete as much as we can in the (OCC-Buckeye). We compete more when we're not playing in our division."
North entered the postseason with a 6-6 record in non-league matches. It was seeded 30th for the district tournament and opened Oct. 17 at 20th-seeded Watkins Memorial, with the winner playing at 13th-seeded Delaware on Thursday, Oct. 19, in the second round.
The Warriors lost to Delaware 27-25, 25-15, 25-22 on Oct. 12.
The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal Oct. 26 at Whitehall against second-seeded Liberty, 36th-seeded Mount Vernon or 47th-seeded Westland.
"Last year, we only had 21 combined wins for the varsity, j.v. and freshman programs and this year we are approaching 30," Johnson said. "That's a big step in the right direction for us."
Cross country teams prep for district meet
The boys and girls cross country teams compete in the Division I district meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial.
The boys will run in district 1, with the top five teams and top 20 individuals advancing to regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North. The girls will be in district 2, with the top six teams and top 24 individuals advancing.
On Oct. 14 in the OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Darby, the girls finished fifth (134 points) behind Liberty (36), Orange (56), Olentangy (62) and Central (83) and ahead of South (174).
Erica Mobley (22nd, 21:22.28) led the Warriors, followed by Sam Dages (28th, 21:51.94), Audrey Smith (31st, 22:10.82), Grace Blanchong (32nd, 22:11.68), Eva Bernhardt (34th, 22:13.0), Emily Bueter (39th, 22:50.34) and Emma Fury (46th, 23:34.4).
The boys finished sixth (172) behind Liberty (31), Orange (46), South (84), Olentangy (103) and Central (115).
Isaiah Hutcherson (20th, 17:40.91), Will Steele (49th, 19:14.4), Carter Hudnell (51st, 19:23.19), Brice Wilson (52nd, 19:25.92), Dillon Lauer (53rd, 19:29.71), Seth Derstine (54th, 19:41.2) and Drew Mantenieks (56th, 20:02.71) competed for North.
Boys soccer team to open postseason
The 34th-seeded boys soccer team opens the Division I district tournament Saturday, Oct. 21, with a second-round game at 14th-seeded Grove City or 16th-seeded Hilliard Bradley.
The Warriors, who are 1-14-1 overall, opened the season Aug. 18 with a 4-1 loss to Grove City.
The second-round winner plays third-seeded Dublin Jerome, 30th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley or 43rd-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the home of the better seed.
The district semifinal is Oct. 28 at a site to be determined.
North closed its OCC-Buckeye schedule at 0-5, losing to Orange 2-1 on Oct. 10. Jacob Grant scored and goalkeeper Sam Olson had six saves.
Girls soccer team begins district play
The 18th-seeded girls soccer team opens the Division I district tournament Thursday, Oct. 19, with a second-round home game against 38th-seeded Mount Vernon.
The winner plays sixth-seeded Olentangy or 36th-seeded Logan in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the better seed.
North tied Olentangy at 1 on Sept. 19 in OCC-Buckeye play.
The district final is Oct. 28 at a site to be determined.
The Warriors improved to 7-7-2 overall by defeating Watkins Memorial 2-1 on Oct. 14 in their regular-season finale.
They won their league finale 2-1 over champion Orange on Oct. 10 as Brooke Shutler and Riley Welsheimer scored and goalie Bethany Worm had six saves.
North tied Liberty for third (2-2-1) in the OCC-Buckeye behind the Pioneers (4-1) and Central (2-0-3).