New Albany High School girls volleyball coach Karen Morlan believes balance has been the key to the Eagles having racked up 34 wins the past two seasons.

New Albany High School girls volleyball coach Karen Morlan believes balance has been the key to the Eagles having racked up 34 wins the past two seasons.

Morlan makes no mistake about that needing to be the case again if the Eagles are to continue their progression up the OCC-Capital Division standings and further into the Division I district tournament.

"We haven't had just one star player here. We have always won with a lot of solid contributions from a lot of different girls," said Morlan, whose sixth season began Aug. 22 in the Marysville Spike-Off Invitational. "I think we will have -- and need to have -- good balance.

"We've had successful years recently, and the girls have learned what it takes to win consistently. They know the expectations and they want to keep it up. I think we have the tools to be good again."

The Eagles went 1-2 at Marysville, defeating Dublin Jerome (25-22, 25-13) and losing to Marysville (25-18, 25-20) and Pickerington North (25-12, 25-23).

Senior outside hitter Maddy Largent, a four-year letterwinner who had 280 kills and 41 blocks last year and was named honorable mention all-district, is one of seven returning Eagles who figured prominently in their rotation last year. New Albany went 16-7 overall and 10-4 in the OCC-Capital for the second consecutive season, losing to Dublin Coffman 25-16, 25-14, 25-22 in a district final.

The Eagles reached a district semifinal in 2013, losing to Grove City in three games to finish 18-7.

Seniors Kayla Brosnan (opposite-side hitter), Caitlyn Coss (defensive specialist/setter), Natalie Koenig (middle blocker) and Largent lead a group of returning letterwinners that also consists of juniors Amy Booth (setter), Emily Booth (libero) and Alexis Rudy (middle blocker/opposite-side hitter).

Rudy had 62 kills, 103 blocks and 38 digs as a sophomore.

Amy Booth and sophomore Jessie Wisniewski, who also plays opposite-site hitter, will be setters in the same 6-2 offense Morlan implemented last year. Booth spent some of the preseason recovering from a sprained ankle, which moved Coss to setter.

"They're a coachable group of girls that has worked hard and works well together," Morlan said.

"Right now, blocking is probably our biggest strength and we're working hard on passing and hitting. If those improve, we can get off to a strong start. We are gradually getting better."

The rest of the roster consists of juniors Katie Fee (middle blocker/opposite-side hitter), Carolyn Gurd (opposite-side hitter) and Emily Leatherman (outside hitter) and sophomores Micaylah Nash (outside hitter) and Patty Rolwing (middle blocker/opposite-side hitter).

New Albany, which finished third in the OCC-Capital last year behind champion Big Walnut (13-1), begins its home and league schedules Thursday, Aug. 27, against Olentangy Orange.

Field hockey team returns 'good mix'

While second-year field hockey coach Nikki Wimsatt is working with plenty of familiar players, she also has welcomed a handful of new players to the roster while seeking to replace some of last year's most prominent contributors.

New Albany lost its top four scorers from last year's team, which went 9-7-2 overall and 5-2-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East, third behind champion and eventual state runner-up Columbus Academy (8-0).

The Eagles, who lost to Thomas Worthington 3-0 in a district semifinal, began this season Aug. 24 at home against Dublin Jerome. Their league opener is Thursday, Aug. 27, at home against Worthington Kilbourne.

"It's a pretty good group and a good mix of experience," Wimsatt said. "These girls tasted some success last year and they have a good mentality coming in. They know it's six days of practice a week and it takes some dedication, and if they have that, they can achieve a lot. I think that attitude is ingrained in them now, and that will be a positive."

Seniors Chaney Clapham (defender), Hannah Karzmer (defender) and Mackenzie Litterst (goalkeeper) are expected to pace New Albany, along with fellow returnees Maddi Laird, a senior defender, and Emma Fireman, a junior forward.

"Emma is very smart and provides a lot of energy," said Wimsatt, adding that Fireman will be among the players counted on to replace the 17 goals lost to graduation between midfielders Jamie Sevenish (5) and Meagan O'Rourke (3) and forwards Ellie Fireman (3) and Mariah White (3). "Mackenzie might be the most vocal player out of all of them. She brings an old-school attitude. She plays hard and holds her teammates accountable."

The rest of the roster consists of seniors Chinenye Bosah (forward), Abby Lowe (utility), Jessie Meldrum (defender) and Payton Siebenaler (defender), juniors Ellie Henze (for-ward/midfielder), Julianne Kalec (defender), Marissa Linder (midfielder), Cameron Metsker (forward), Deryn Murphy (midfielder), Jessica Pirro (for-ward/midfielder), Amanda Shockman (midfielder) and Sydney Standley (goalie), sophomores Victoria Boals (forward), Caitlyn Conley (forward), Emily Cook (forward/midfielder) and Mia Lacommare (defender/midfielder) and freshmen Sunnie Fireman (forward) and Christina Machado (midfielder).