With four freshmen and just one senior among its key players, the Ready High School girls volleyball team expected a bumpy ride this fall.
There have been positive moments along the way, as the Silver Knights had duplicated their win total from a year ago with four matches still remaining in the regular season.
"We're very young and we're experienced," senior outside hitter Lauren Whitt said. "I feel like it's been a roller-coaster."
Whitt, who is in her third season as a key player, has served as a leadership source for a team that is hoping to play a sleeper role in the Division III district tournament.
Ready was 9-9 overall after losing to Marion Pleasant 25-17, 25-16, 25-15 on Sept. 27 and finished 2-6 in the CCL.
The Knights beat Columbus School for Girls 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 25-14 on Sept. 25 to earn a season sweep of the Unicorns.
"The roster is full of underclassmen," coach Mike Kusan said. "We're starting three talented freshmen. Our record is deceiving with eight losses to bigger schools. We will be the underdog and hope to pull a few upsets in the tournament."
Through the team's first 40 sets, Whitt and sophomore outside hitter Bella Illig were leading in kills with 67 while freshman Megan Chesser (right-side hitter/middle hitter) and junior Bre Hejduk (setter) also have been among the leaders in kills.
Illig and sophomore defensive specialist Katie Gallagher have led in digs. Junior Kiley Gallagher has split setting duties with Hejduk.
Other key contributors have included junior Lauren Schlosser (defensive specialist), sophomore Lilli Beickman (utility) and freshmen Simone Daniel (middle hitter/right-side hitter) and Kaitlyn Lancia (middle hitter/right-side hitter).
"Our volleyball season has been full of highs and lows," Kusan said. "We have won three matches that have gone to a fifth set, which is awesome. Our league is really strong."
Girls soccer team breaking through
Before losing to Watterson 8-0 on Sept. 27, the girls soccer team was on a three-game winning streak in which it outscored opponents 25-2.
The Knights, who close the CCL schedule Thursday, Oct. 4, at home against CSG, are 5-4-2 overall and 0-3 in the league.
"Things have been progressing decently for our team," coach Chris Byrum said. "We will definitely be a stronger team going forward. We have dealt with some self-confidence issues, which have hindered us in games that I firmly believe that we are capable of contending in."
Ready followed a scoreless tie against Hamilton Township on Sept. 15 by beating Tree of Life 5-2 on Sept. 17, Briggs 11-0 on Sept. 18 and Cristo Rey 9-0 on Sept. 25.
Freshman forward Abigail Grundei has been a standout, according to Byrum.
"She is continually getting better each game and is coming into her own, scoring some amazing goals with her non-dominant foot, which has been a pleasant surprise," Byrum said.
Football team set to battle Vikings
Although he's listed at just 5-foot-5 and 145 pounds, junior running back Jack Foley is on pace to surpass the 1,483 yards he rushed for last season.
Foley put together a 263-yard, four-touchdown performance in a 35-7 victory over Liberty Union on Sept. 21. He had 746 yards and 10 touchdowns on 120 carries through five games.
"He's one tough little cookie," coach Brian Cross said.
Ready dropped to 2-4 with a 17-14 loss to Amanda-Clearcreek on Sept. 28 and plays host to Columbus Academy on Friday, Oct. 5, at Fortress Obetz.
The Vikings, who were 3-3 after losing to London 42-27 on Sept. 28, opened last season by beating Ready 31-0 on their way to making the Division V, Region 19 playoffs.
Academy has been efficient on offense, with quarterback Brady Hess completing 65 of 99 passes for 789 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception through five games. Dorrian Moultrie (WR/DB) had 25 receptions for 375 yards and four touchdowns and also was among the team's leading tacklers with 22.
Sam Huyghe (WR/DB) and Hayden Compton (WR/LB) each had two interceptions, with Compton also having 43.5 tackles and seven tackles through loss.
Grace advances from girls golf sectional
Senior Eva Grace represented the girls golf program in the Division II district tournament Oct. 1 at Darby Creek.
The team champion and the top individual not on that team advanced to the state tournament Oct. 12 and 13 on Ohio State's Gray Course.
On Sept. 24 in a sectional at Blacklick Woods, Grace tied Licking Valley's Ashton Debevoise and Marion Elgin's Ashley Watkins for seventh with a 101. Watkins and Grace earned the final two individual district-qualifying berths and Licking Valley advanced as a team.
Ready placed seventh (521) of nine teams behind champion Bloom-Carroll (394) as the top three advanced.
Sophomore Fionnuala Criswell-Carder had a 120, sophomore Clarissa Bachelder shot 121 and sophomore Gabrielle Phillips and freshman Lema Ahmed also competed.
On Saturday, Oct. 6, the Knights compete in the CCL postseason tournament at NorthStar.
Girls tennis team preps for sectional
The girls tennis team will compete in a Division II sectional Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at Academy.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Oct. 11 at CSG and Oct. 13 at Reynoldsburg.
At sectional, junior Emily Mathew opens against Bexley's Maxine Giller, senior Eva Freeman opens against Grandview's Kayla Ward and junior Lindsay Dickerson opens against Africentric's Laremy Woods in singles. Competing in doubles are the teams of sophomores Iveth Saucedo and Jenna Ruth and senior Lucia Beickman and sophomore Claire Nagy.
Boys golf season ends at sectional
The boys golf team closed its season with a seventh-place finish (502) in a Division III sectional Sept. 25 at Darby Creek behind champion Fairbanks (324).
All five of the Knights' participants are eligible to return. Freshman Adam Bennett led at sectional with a 110 while sophomore Mitchell Clark shot 120. Sophomores Kyle Gramlich, Keenan Johnston and Dario Scott also competed.
Ready, which did not have a team last fall, was coached by Bob Wilson.
Below are the coming schedules for the Ready boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 4 -- At Fairbanks
Oct. 8 -- At Walnut Ridge
*Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Columbus School for Girls
Oct. 4, 6 -- Division II sectional at Columbus Academy. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Oct. 11 at CSG and Oct. 13 at Reynoldsburg.
Oct. 8 -- At Bexley