With six returning players and four seniors, Whitehall-Yearling High School girls volleyball coach Danielle Jackson calls this year's team one of the deepest in her nine seasons leading the Rams.
Looking to take the next step after last season's 11-14 finish that included two wins in the Division II district tournament, Whitehall opens Monday, Aug. 21, at Harvest Prep.
It's been a special year for Jackson and her husband, Zeb, as she gave birth to their first child, Zachariah, in April.
Now the Rams will try to create more memories for their coach.
"I like what I see so far," Jackson said. "It's going to be tough to replace my seniors from last year, but I have some talent coming up and some talent returning. We're really looking forward to this season. This is probably one of my better all-around talented teams. I have a lot of kids who can play multiple positions. I have a lot of talented kids."
One of the key returnees is senior setter/outside hitter Sarah Seberig, who finished with 322 assists and 83 kills last season and was named second-team all-MSL-Ohio Division.
"Our team is looking great," Seberig said. "We're going to have a great season this year. It's my senior year and we're actually coming together as one this year. Everyone has the same goal to win."
Junior middle hitter Makhia Hinton (139 kills, 41 blocks, 37 aces) was honorable mention all-league last fall.
Other key returnees are senior outside hitter Makencie Wilson (55 kills) and junior setter Makaylia Wright (86 assists).
Also back are seniors Iyana Johnson (outside hitter) and Trinity Johnson (outside hitter/middle hitter).
Juniors Riley Maxstead (defensive specialist), Kody Seberig (defensive specialist) and Alyson Shoemaker (outside hitter) and sophomore Kaila Daughtery (outside hitter/middle hitter) played junior varsity last season.
Whitehall, which went 4-8 in the MSL-Ohio a year ago to tie Columbus Academy for fifth behind champion London (12-0), begins league play Aug. 31 at home against Bexley.
Jackson said London remains the team to beat.
"It's always London, and Worthington Christian will probably be close behind," Jackson said. "I hope we finish close to the top because we have the talent to do it. The girls just have to have the mindset that they can beat tough teams and they have to get over that mental block."
Whitehall lost four players to graduation, including libero Tia Sanders, who had 563 digs and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Girls soccer team
to begin 2nd season
The girls soccer team begins its second season Saturday, Aug. 19, at home against Groveport.
The Rams finished 0-11 last year.
"I can't wait for the season," second-year coach Deanna Mascia said. "I feel a couple wins coming on this season. I expected (the team) to struggle last season. For most of our girls it was their first time playing soccer."
The Rams will compete in the MSL-Ohio for the first time and open league play Aug. 26 at Worthington Christian.
"We've been working hard all summer and conditioned in the winter," Mascia said. "We've been working really hard on getting to know the game more, watching soccer games. I'm super excited."
Senior midfielder/defender Patricia Paredes and sophomore midfielder/forward Selamawit Alebachew each scored two goals last season to lead the team.
Also back are seniors Zuri Gonzalez (midfielder), Millennium Manna (def-ender/midfielder), Medina Nurahmed (defender), Ruth Regassa (defender/midfielder), Maria Urquiza (midfielder) and Paula Wilson (def-ender/midfielder), juniors LeeAnne Evans (midfielder) and Roxana Paredes (def-ender/midfielder) and sophomore Bethelhem Tamene (defender/midfielder).
Junior Illeen Aguirre, a first-year player, will be in goal and "has pretty good form when it comes to certain things," Mascia said.
Senior forward/midfielder Heidi Fajardo is in her first season.
Mascia said more players could be added as the school year nears.
"I think we'll be more successful this season and we'll be able to get more girls," Mascia said.
Aug. 19 -- vs. Groveport
Aug. 23 -- vs. Teays Valley
*Aug. 26 -- at Worthington Christian
*Aug. 30 -- at Bexley
*Sept. 6 -- vs. Grandview
*Sept. 13 -- at Columbus Academy
Sept. 16 -- vs. Whetstone
Sept. 18 -- vs. Columbus International
Sept. 20 -- vs. Wellington
Sept. 26 -- at Briggs
Sept. 30 -- at Logan Elm
Oct. 4 -- vs. Zanesville Rosecrans
Oct. 5 -- at Franklin Heights
*Oct. 7 -- at London
Oct. 10 -- vs. Johnstown
Oct. 14 -- at Hamilton Township
Aug. 21 -- at Harvest Prep
Aug. 22 -- vs. Liberty Union
*Aug. 31 -- vs. Bexley
Sept. 2 -- at Heath
*Sept. 5 -- at Grandview
*Sept. 7 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Sept. 11 -- vs. Millersport
*Sept. 14 -- vs. Worthington Christian
Sept. 18 -- at Northland
Sept. 20 -- vs. Whetstone
*Sept. 21 -- vs. London
*Sept. 26 -- at Bexley
*Sept. 28 -- vs. Grandview
Oct. 2 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
*Oct. 3 -- at Columbus Academy
*Oct. 7 -- at Worthington Christian
Oct. 9 -- at Westland
*Oct. 12 -- at London
Below is the coming schedule for the Whitehall-Yearling girls tennis team:
*Aug. 17 -- Home vs. Bexley
Aug. 21 -- Home vs. Hartley
Aug. 22 -- At Watkins Memorial