The Granville High School girls volleyball team is hoping this is finally its year.

The Granville High School girls volleyball team is hoping this is finally its year.

Although they've won five district championships, the Blue Aces haven't made it to a regional tournament since 1999.

Each of the last two seasons, Granville has fallen to Hartley in Division II district finals. Last year, it lost to the Hawks 25-11, 25-18, 25-16 to finish 22-4.

With senior setter Brooklyn Holthaus leading the way, the Aces are hoping they again can be one of the top teams in the LCL and contend for a district title.

"We have our setter back who's in her fourth year as a starter, and we've got a lot of young talent that's going to help us," said coach Todd Parkison, who is in his fourth season.

"Their attitudes have been great. There's no selfishness with them. I think that type of atmosphere should help us jump over some hurdles."

Holthaus entered the season needing 12 serving aces to become the program's all-time leader in the category.

Granville opened Aug. 20 with a 29-27, 16-25, 25-23, 25-23 win over Warsaw River View.

The other seniors are Hailey Fuller (right-side hitter), Karissa Harris (defensive specialist) and Kayla Hong (outside hitter).

Juniors Courtney Brooks (outside hitter), Makinley Cramer (defensive special-ist/setter) and Christina Harrison (outside hitter/middle hitter) and sophomores Jennifer Rush (right-side hitter/middle hitter) and Erin Shoemaker (middle hitter) are other key players.

Shoemaker is 6-foot-1 and Rush is 5-11.

While Granville went 12-1 to win the LCL-Buckeye Division last season, Newark Catholic finished 25-2 overall, went 13-0 in the LCL-Cardinal and reached a regional final in Division III.

Newark Catholic lost the Player of the Year in the LCL and district to graduation in Taylor Daignault, who now is playing for Miami University.

What coach Jeri Helfer has back in her 17th season, however, is a strong senior class that features Madison Crumrine (outside hitter), Ashley Harkless (defensive specialist), Mary Brigid Keck (middle hitter) and Megan Stanton (setter).

Sophomore Samantha Basham is a 6-0 outside hitter and freshman Shannon Keck is a 6-2 middle hitter.

Also on the team are seniors Annie Haefs (setter/defensive specialist) and Kelsey Ruff (defensive specialist) and juniors Emily Amore (setter), Elizabeth Ohl (outside hitter/defensive specialist) and Lauren Riggleman (right-side hitter).

Newark Catholic opened Aug. 24 by beating Licking Heights 25-21, 25-17, 25-22.

"We're really going to miss (Daignault)," said Helfer, who entered the season with a 358-75 career record. "We're Division III, and the league is going to be really good again. Utica should be really good after we faced them in a district final last year. You just never know with a young team, but the kids are hard workers."

Local football teams prep for rematches

Heath senior Aaron Latiolais got his first chance to start at quarterback in a varsity game as a freshman.

Now in his fourth season as the starter, he and his teammates are hoping they can help the football program break through after going 5-5 each of the past two seasons.

The Bulldogs opened Aug. 26 against River View and play host to Sparta Highland on Friday, Sept. 2, as part of the exact slate of games they played a season ago.

Heath beat Highland 25-9 last season.

"It's a great feeling being out there as a senior," the 5-10, 172-pound Latiolais said. "We've got 12 or 13 guys back who played varsity last year. Being in my fourth year as a starter helps everything."

Several other county programs are preparing for rematches of week 2 games from a year ago.

Also on Sept. 2, Granville plays host to Eastmoor Academy in a rematch of a game it won 11-8 last season while Lakewood travels to Northridge in a rematch of a game the Vikings won 43-15.

Licking Valley plays host to Duncan Falls Philo after winning 27-13 on the road last season, and Newark travels to Mount Vernon for a rematch of a game the Yellow Jackets won 48-22 last season.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, Newark Catholic travels to Nelsonville-York for a rematch of a game the Green Wave won 27-26 in overtime last season.