New Dublin Jerome High School girls volleyball coach Randy Cline is intent to play up his program's strengths.
Cline, who previously was an assistant coach at Eckerd College and Cal State University, coached Marysville to a 40-28 mark from 2014-16 and owns the Elite Volleyball Training Center in Plain City, takes over a team that went 10-14 in its only season under Steven Hinds.
"The big thing we've been talking about at Jerome is, what are we known for?" Cline said. "We're known for being very smart, so that's what we're going on, being smart and trying to cut down on the errors and just being a super consistent team. We've got a good base with what we have right now. The one thing we're looking for is one person that everybody kind of follows as a team leader."
Cline has five seniors and three other returnees to work with as he tries to revive a program that has had back-to-back losing records.
Jerome was 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before facing first-year Olentangy Berlin on Aug. 28. The Celtics opened league play by losing to defending champion Worthington Kilbourne 25-12, 25-16, 25-12 on Aug. 21 before beating Thomas Worthington 25-23, 26-24, 25-10 on Aug. 23.
Middle hitter Kendall Poach, who led the Celtics in kills (172), blocks (64) and serving aces (29) last season, and setter Shefali Srinivasan, who led the team in assists (273), lead the senior class.
The other seniors are Rylee Cutlip (setter), Ria Jotsinghani (defensive specialist/outside hitter) and Lauren Gilbert (defensive specialist/outside hitter).
Junior Tess Hollern (right-side hitter/outside hitter) and sophomores Jaci Carpenter (outside hitter/middle hitter) and Grace Schleter (outside hitter/right-side hitter) are other key returnees. Carpenter led the team in serves received (384) and tied for second in digs (110) last year.
Also looking to contribute are juniors Kylie Carpenter (defensive specialist), Olivia Chandler (defensive specialist), Jenn Lee (defensive specialist), Katie McKibben (outside hitter), Isabella Palmer (right-side hitter/outside hitter) and Claudia VanHuffel (middle hitter/outside hitter).
"The kids seem to be engaged and love the game of volleyball," Cline said.
Girls soccer team feeling motivated
Having had back-to-back Division I district championship runs has the girls soccer team thinking big again this fall.
There are 10 seniors in the program, including one of the district's top players from last fall in forward Emma Sears.
Jerome was the fourth seed for last year's district tournament and lost to Olentangy Liberty 2-0 in a regional final after losing in a regional semifinal in 2016.
The Celtics opened with a 3-1 victory over DeSales on Aug. 23, lost to Strongsville 5-1 on Aug. 25 and played Kilbourne on Aug. 28.
"It looks like it's going to be a good year," fourth-year coach Kelly Brother said. "We lost a lot of good players from our senior class last year, but we've also got some good (returnees). We're still going to try and maintain our style, but I think we're also trying some different things to see what fits our system the best.
"They're excited for the season. We want to get further than last year."
Sears scored 17 goals as a sophomore and had 13 goals and led the Celtics in assists last fall while earning OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year honors.
Her sister, Bronwen Sears (defender/midfielder), also is key returning senior, as are Sam Poptic (defender/forward) and Bailee Bowers (midfielder).
Senior Liz Forbes and junior Natalie Coontz are the goalkeepers.
The other seniors are Corinne Bryan (midfielder), Maeghynn Gereluk (defender), Claire Hollern (defender/midfielder), Mackenzie Malone (defender) and Maddie Swecker (midfielder).
Juniors Riley Mullady, Laine DeWalt, Sophie Magilligan and Megan Sullivan join Emma Sears at forward, while Poptic, Hollern and Malone lead a defense that also includes sophomore Sydney Browning and junior Macenzie Potts.
Also at midfielder are sophomores Kirsten Mitchell and Nicole Ogden.
Others looking to contribute are juniors Kristen Francis (midfielder/forward) and Elyse Muresan (midfielder).
Boys soccer program showing depth
After losing a nine-member senior class that played a key role in winning three consecutive Division I district titles, the boys soccer program remains in a healthy state from top to bottom, according to 15th-year coach Nate Maust.
Maust believes he has a bevy of underclassmen with which to work to help compensate for having just four seniors.
Jerome opened with a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati Sycamore on Aug. 17, tied Olentangy at 1 on Aug. 21 and opened OCC-Cardinal action Aug. 28 against Kilbourne.
"We have a lot of kids in our program, and that's a good thing for now and for the next couple years," Maust said. "We've got one of the smaller senior classes we've had, but we've got a large junior and sophomore population of players who have played pretty experienced soccer.
"I'd definitely say we're going to be a younger team this year, but young as in grade-wise, and I feel like we're kind of a veteran team with the level of play these younger players have competed in. ... We're going to take some lumps early on, but I definitely think we'll be a lot different of a team in October than we are now."
The Celtics are coming off a 14-2-5 mark that included a first-place finish in the OCC-Cardinal at 5-0-1. Their season ended with a 5-0 loss to Coffman in a regional final.
The senior class is comprised of Alex Chou (defender), Luke Fassett (midfielder), Nathan Obert (defender) and Matthew Stein (forward).
Junior Jacsen Luthy, who was special mention all-league last season, and junior Connor Moser, who was honorable mention all-league, lead the defense. Others in the back include sophomores Nicholas Campagni and Devin Howard.
Junior Evan Davis and sophomore Nitin Sanga are the goalies.
Juniors Young Mu Lee, Vishal Kumar and Erich Sunderhaus and sophomore Charlie Kane join Fassett in the midfield.
Joining Stein at forward should be juniors Tony Yang, Manual Morales and Tyler Dring and sophomores Arvin Alam and Simon Cole.
Aug. 17 -- vs. Cincinnati Sycamore
Aug. 21 -- vs. Olentangy
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Aug. 30 -- at Upper Arlington
*Sept. 4 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 6 -- at Westerville Central
Sept. 11 -- vs. Gahanna
*Sept. 13 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
Sept. 18 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 20 -- at Hilliard Darby
*Sept. 25 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 27 -- vs. New Albany
*Oct. 2 -- at Delaware
Oct. 4 -- at Coffman
*Oct. 9 -- vs. Scioto
Oct. 11 -- at Olentangy Orange
Aug. 23 -- vs. DeSales
Aug. 25 -- at Strongsville
*Aug. 28 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Aug. 30 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 6 -- vs. New Albany
Sept. 11 -- at Coffman
*Sept. 13 -- at Olentangy Berlin
Sept. 18 -- at Upper Arlington
*Sept. 20 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*Sept. 25 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Delaware
Oct. 4 -- vs. Granville
*Oct. 9 -- at Scioto
Oct. 11 -- at Pickerington North
Aug. 18 -- Spike-Off Invitational at Marysville
*Aug. 21 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Aug. 23 -- at Thomas Worthington
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
*Aug. 30 -- at Hilliard Darby
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 6 -- at Delaware
Sept. 11 -- at Westerville Central
*Sept. 13 -- vs. Scioto
Sept. 15 -- Kilbourne Invitational
*Sept. 20 -- at Kilbourne
*Sept. 25 -- vs. Thomas
*Sept. 27 -- at Berlin
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Darby
*Oct. 4 -- at Bradley
*Oct. 9 -- vs. Delaware
*Oct. 11 -- at Scioto
Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf and girls tennis teams:
Sept. 1 -- Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 1 -- Pinnacle Classic
Sept. 4 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Country Club
*Aug. 30 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 4 -- At Delaware