Despite having new players in key roles, the Westerville Central High School girls volleyball team hasn't taken a step back offensively.

Despite having new players in key roles, the Westerville Central High School girls volleyball team hasn't taken a step back offensively.

Contributions from players such as junior outside hitter Adrienne Agee and junior middle hitters Haley Kindall and Jayla McCrary helped the Warhawks go undefeated during the first round of OCC-Cardinal Division play.

Central coach Shaun Servick knows, however, that his team would be significantly behind on its goals if not for the contributions of its defense.

Erin Cisneros starts at libero and is one of just two seniors on the team along with defensive specialist Hannah Hetterscheidt.

While Agee recently became the program's record-holder for kills before sustaining a concussion, Cisneros has led a defense that Servick believes has become his team's No. 1 strength.

"We consider ourselves a defensive team first," Servick said. "We're a ball-control team and the cornerstone of that is our blocking. We've been concentrating on defense and serve-receive. I've always considered myself a ball-control coach, and the main thing is gaining court experience. Our setters are brand new and we've got a new right-side hitter and a new outside hitter."

The Warhawks were 8-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Westerville North on Sept. 27. They travel Thursday, Sept. 29, to Marysville and play host to Dublin Scioto on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Central needed five games to beat North (18-25, 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 15-11) on Sept. 1. The Warhawks were hoping to get Agee back for the rematch with the Warriors.

Cisneros started at libero as a sophomore and junior as well and is on pace to have the most starts of any player Servick has coached since he took over in 2008.

"We're off to a great start," Cisneros said. "We conditioned three times a week and had an extra week of camp when we went (near Cleveland) over the summer and got to know each other. I definitely think everyone has come out with an attitude of wanting to improve."

Cisneros first picked up the sport while living in Kansas City, Mo., before moving to central Ohio when she was 13. She was born in San Antonio.

Being in a leadership role as one of the team's two seniors has been something Cisneros believes she's adapted well to.

"I love (Hetterscheidt) my co-captain because I kind of lose my temper sometimes and she keeps me calm," Cisneros said. "I love all of the juniors. It's different because I've always looked up to a million seniors, but I definitely try to do what I can to talk to the hitters.

"I love the sport and I love playing for (Servick). He's just amazing on and off the court and just wants us to do well. During practice, he'll never take it easy on us."

•North and South also are in the midst of preparing for the coming Division I district tournament, and the Warriors still were in the thick of the OCC-Cardinal race before playing Central on Sept. 27.

The Warriors and Wildcats meet in the second round of league play Oct. 6 at North.

Heading into their match against the Warhawks, the Warriors were 6-2 in the league.

According to first-year coach Maggie Stern, the transition to her taking over the program has been a smooth one.

"Things have been going well," Stern said. "We lost a lot of key players (from last year), so for these girls to step up, we're having a good season. They've all played hard for me."

The Warriors have nine seniors, with outside hitter Madeline Roseberry and right-side hitter Ellie Vosler leading the way.

Stern has been trying to figure out how to incorporate senior middle hitters Anneke Price and Amber Salsburey more into the offense.

Senior Sara Marzola has been a key contributor at setter, according to Stern.

"(Roseberry) has done an outstanding job hitting, putting balls away and with her serving," Stern said. "Ellie is my speaking captain on the court and is a very good leader. She's improved tremendously with her blocking. We're trying to do better overall on our blocking."