John Smith expects the Northridge High School girls volleyball team to be a factor in the MBC in his first season leading the program.

John Smith expects the Northridge High School girls volleyball team to be a factor in the MBC in his first season leading the program.

Smith, a math teacher at Northridge with previous coaching experience at the school, replaced Christine Demas, who resigned after 10 seasons coaching the Vikings.

"We have good talent spread across several individuals," said Smith, whose team lost its opener 25-19, 25-28, 18-25, 25-18 on Aug. 28 to MBC-opponent Danville. "With this broad base, along with consistent fundamental skills, we expect to be a contender within the Mid-Buckeye Conference."

Last year, Northridge finished 7-8 overall, losing to eighth-seeded Fredericktown 27-25, 25-19, 25-23 in an opening-round Division III district tournament match.

The Vikings tied East Knox for fifth (6-8) in the MBC, behind Centerburg (13-1), Fredericktown (11-3), Utica (10-4) and Loudonville (8-6) and ahead of Danville (2-12) and Johnstown (0-14).

The Vikings have five seniors in Faith Hiser (setter/hitter), Taylor Rose (hitter), Hannah Shank (setter), Kacie Tornes (hitter) and Caitlyn Tulloss (hitter). Shank, Tulloss and junior Sara Pribonic (hitter) were starters last season.

"Caitlin, Hannah and Sara bring valuable varsity experience to the team," said Smith, who most recently has been an assistant boys basketball coach at Northridge. "Hannah is recovering from knee surgery (that kept her out of track last spring) and we are hoping she may be released to play this season."

Rounding out the roster are juniors Addison Anderson (hitter) and Morgan McDaniel (back row) and sophomores Hunter Adkins (back row), Sarah George (hitter), Megan Hatfield (hitter) and Faith Miller (setter/hitter).

"We don't have a lot of returning varsity playing experience," Smith said. "This has created opportunities for other team members to step up and fill important roles on the team."

Northridge resumes MBC play with matches Tuesday, Sept. 4, at home against Centerburg and Thursday, Sept. 6, at Fredericktown.

Football team to face Lakers

The football team plays its final non-league game of the season Friday, Sept. 7, at home against Millersport.

Last season, the Vikings defeated Millersport 41-8.

The Lakers, who played Franklin Furnace Green on Aug. 31, lost to Fairfield Christian 55-17 in their opener Aug. 24. Alex Blake rushed for 123 yards and a 29-yard touchdown run on 13 carries.

Northridge played Lakewood on Aug. 31.

In the opener Aug. 24, Northridge defeated Dayton Jefferson Township 27-0 for its fifth consecutive non-league victory. The Vikings have lost 22 consecutive MBC games.

"We came out and played a physical game, and I believe that's a step in the right direction," coach Darby Riley said. "The offensive and defensive lines did a great job, and the best thing was we didn't have any turnovers and only three penalties."

The Vikings had 223 yards rushing led by Eric Dills with 86 on 22 carries. Thomas Williams had 69 yards on 12 carries and Chase Hess had 68 yards on seven attempts.

The Vikings limited Jefferson Township to 128 total yards, 52 rushing. Drew Mullen had two fumble recoveries and Tanner Williamson had an interception.

"The most exciting thing is we didn't play like little kids on defense," Riley said. "We filled holes and we did well tackling in space. They had some really nice athletes and we were able to stop them."