A lot has changed for the New Albany High School girls volleyball team since last season.

A lot has changed for the New Albany High School girls volleyball team since last season.

The Eagles, who finished 17-5 overall after losing to Worthington Kilbourne 25-17, 10-25, 25-19, 26-24 in the first round of the Division I district tournament, lost five players to graduation and their coach, Josh Lee, resigned to coach volleyball at Delaware.

With so much change, senior Allison Largent was glad that assistant coach Karen Morlan was promoted to head coach.

This is Morlan's second stint coaching the Eagles. She compiled a 55-57 record from 2003-07.

"It's always a little bit different to go from one coach to another, but this has been a smooth transition," said Largent, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter. "We know how she coaches and she didn't change into a whole new system."

New Albany opened Aug. 30 at Hilliard Bradley in the first of four consecutive OCC-Capital Division matches to start the season. The Eagles play host to Watkins Memorial on Thursday, Sept. 1, visit Olentangy Orange on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and play host to Franklin Heights on Sept. 8.

The Eagles have only two seniors in Largent and Katerina Kostas (5-1 defensive specialist). Juniors Samantha Fitz (5-7 outside hitter) and Emily Rolwing (5-10 middle hitter) and sophomores Lauren Bressler (5-4 libero), Shira Katz (5-9 outside hitter) and Kayla Morlan (5-10 middle hitter) join Largent, who led the team in kills (216) last season, as returning letterwinners.

"Those six letterwinners gained some quality minutes last year," coach Morlan said. "They're used to the pace of the varsity game."

Juniors Ashley Anderson (5-11 middle hitter/outside hitter) and Abbey Norton (5-7 defensive specialist), sophomore Erica Wisniewski (5-7 setter) and freshman Lindsey Huber (5-7 outside hitter) also are expected to contribute.

That group must replace the five 2011 graduates, including Madi Miller, who led the team in serving aces (40) and digs (210), Elyse Naddaff, who led in blocks (51), and Kelsey Rowley, who was first in assists (327).

The Eagles finished second (12-2) in the OCC-Capital last season, behind Big Walnut (14-0) and ahead of Bradley (10-4), Orange (7-7), Mount Vernon (6-8), Delaware (5-9), Franklin Heights (1-13) and Watkins Memorial (1-13). New Albany lost to Big Walnut 25-17, 25-19, 25-9 and 25-19, 25-17, 25-22.

Big Walnut finished 23-6 overall and reached the Division II state final, where the Golden Eagles lost to Mentor Lake Catholic 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23.

"Big Walnut is a team we definitely want to go after this year," coach Morlan said. "Our girls are a very coachable group. They have been working hard since Aug. 1. We need to continue to grow like we have through August and continue to improve in all our skills."