Heather Ashbrook believes the Johnstown-Monroe High School girls volleyball team will make strides in her fourth season as coach.

Heather Ashbrook believes the Johnstown-Monroe High School girls volleyball team will make strides in her fourth season as coach.

The Johnnies lost their opener to MBC-rival Utica 25-9, 25-11, 25-18 on Aug. 28.

They're trying to improve on last season's 1-19 overall record. They lost to North Union 25-8, 21-25, 25-8, 25-20 in the second round of the Division III district tournament after having a first-round bye.

In the MBC, the Johnnies finished 0-14, behind Centerburg (13-1), Fredericktown (11-3), Utica (10-4), Loudonville (8-6), East Knox and Northridge (both 6-8) and Danville (2-12).

"The seniors this year were here in my first year as a head coach," Ashbrook said. "They know my philosophies and expectations and I know them. They know what I want and now there will just be fine-tuning."

The Johnnies return four starters in senior Korrie Wetmore (middle hitter) and juniors Arika Sayer (outside hitter/right-side hitter), Rachel Shadwick (defender) and Harley Thomson (setter). Other letterwinners include senior Krista Ohl (outside hitter) and Meghan Gall (defender).

Sophomores on varsity include Amanda Payne (outside hitter/right-side hitter) and Emily Watson (outside hitter/right-side hitter) as well as Claire Slader (middle hitter), who came to the program from Hartley.

"They are very motivated and work well together," Ashbrook said. "They are very coachable, but they need to work on their communication and their transition play."

The Johnnies play league matches this week against East Knox on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at home and Thursday, Sept. 6, at Centerburg.

Lakewood up next for football team

The football team, which faced Heath on Aug. 31, matches up against a third consecutive future Licking County League opponent when it plays host to Lakewood on Friday, Sept. 7.

The Johnnies defeated Lakewood 56-13 last season and have won the last three meetings by a combined 140-32. Johnstown won 42-13 in 2010 and 42-6 in 2009.

The Lancers lost their opener 53-0 to Thornville Sheridan for their ninth consecutive defeat and 18th loss in 19 games.

Johnstown lost its opener 39-20 to Granville on Aug. 24, leaving coach Mike Carter looking for ways to improve his team.

"There are a lot of things we need to improve on," he said. "Our kids have a great attitude, but when we play good teams, we can't make mistakes or they will capitalize on them. We need to make sure we continue to work to get better on defense, offense and special teams."

Against the Blue Aces, Alex Workman had 97 yards rushing on 12 carries and Nick Sadinsky had 42 yards on eight carries with touchdowns of 10 and 3 yards. Adam Carter rushed nine times for 68 yards, including a 28-yard score.

"I thought our kids played hard and gave a good effort," coach Carter said. "They fought to the very end and there is no doubt that they were doing the best they could and left it all on the field."