A banner season for the Grove City High School girls volleyball team included earning a share of the OCC-Ohio Division title and junior outside hitter Molly Michalak being named league Player of the Year.
The Greyhounds' season came to an end Oct. 25 when they lost to 13th-seeded Watkins Memorial 25-23, 25-23, 25-19 in a Division I district semifinal at Whitehall to finish 16-5 overall.
"We didn't end the way we wanted to end and it's disappointing for sure," coach Alan Pham said. "It's going to sting a little bit, but we want to celebrate the great things that they've done, especially the seniors."
Seventh-seeded Grove City defeated 42nd-seeded Columbus West 25-7, 25-3, 25-5 in the first round Oct. 16 and 20th-seeded Westerville Central 25-20, 25-21, 25-15 in the second round Oct. 18, both at home.
The Greyhounds shared the OCC-Ohio title with Pickerington Central at 8-2. The teams split their matches, with Grove City winning 25-16, 25-19, 25-27, 27-25 on Sept. 20 and Central winning 12-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 on Oct. 9.
Along with being named the league's top player, Michalak was first-team all-district.
"I'm ecstatic," she said. "If it wasn't for my teammates I wouldn't have been able to get those awards. I'm super excited for my senior year. Next year hopefully we can win our conference again and get further in the (postseason)."
Senior setter Kylie Chaney was second-team all-district and all-league, sophomore right-side hitter/outside hitter Lauren Lucas was second-team all-league and senior libero Emily Scholl was honorable mention all-league.
"The (five) seniors worked well together," said Pham, who was named league Coach of the Year. "It's rare that you get a team that doesn't fight each other. They get along really well and that's going to be missed."
Other players eligible to return include juniors Lexi Bapst (outside hitter) and Lauren Clark (defensive specialist) and sophomores Emily Parrett (middle hitter) and Jaedyn Stonerock (right-side hitter/outside hitter).
"We wanted to go further, but just that experience is going to go a long way for the program in the future," Pham said.
Boys soccer team exceeds expectations
The boys soccer team exceeded expectations in the postseason, according to coach Bryan Mulvany, leaving him optimistic heading into next season.
The 19th-seeded Greyhounds lost at second-seeded Pickerington North 5-0 in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 24 to finish 8-5-6 overall. Grove City lost to North 4-0 in an OCC-Ohio contest Oct. 9.
The Greyhounds defeated 14th-seeded Canal Winchester 2-1 in the first round Oct. 17 and 31st-seeded Westerville North 4-1 in the second round Oct. 20.
"We weren't supposed to make it this far," Mulvany said. "As a (No.) 19 seed in the tournament, we weren't supposed to be playing three rounds in. We didn't lose to any scrubs this year. We're learning how to play at a high level consistently."
Grove City went 2-1-2 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Gahanna for second behind North (5-0).
The Greyhounds played most of the season without senior midfielder Will Isaac, who suffered a left ACL injury during the spring club season. Isaac, who was one of six seniors, finished with five goals in limited time late in the season.
Last season, he led the team with 26 goals.
"Will ended up playing in five matches and scored five goals," Mulvany said. "If we had him healthy all year, who knows? It would have been even better of a season than they had. He got himself back ready to play."
Junior goalkeeper Casey Thompson finished with 116 saves and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Senior defender Jared Lepard was first-team all-league and third-team all-district, senior midfielder Logan McCrary, senior defender Randy Ith and sophomore forward Nick Isaac were second-team all-league, junior forward Colby Ross was special mention all-league and senior defender Justin Swavely was honorable mention all-league.
Nick Isaac led the Greyhounds with 14 goals.
Other players eligible to return include juniors Alec Bollinger (midfielder), Aaron Falcon (midfielder), Jordan Gray (forward), Tilden LaBarge (midfielder), Elvin Martinez (goalie), Colin Mountain (forward), Nathan Steinhauser (defender) and Connor Williams (midfielder), sophomores Tyler Lantzy (midfielder), Alec Ray (midfielder) and Luke Taylor (midfielder) and freshmen David Haack (forward) and Brayden Harvey (forward).
"We'll take the direction we're going," Mulvany said. "We lose some great seniors, but we bring back a lot of talent, too."