Even though his team beat Centennial in the first round of City League-North Division play, Whetstone High School girls volleyball coach Errole Rembert wants to see his players step up their games in the rematch with the Stars.
The Braves, who were 13-3 overall and 11-0 in the City-North before playing Beechcroft on Oct. 2, play host to Centennial on Thursday, Oct. 4, with the winner likely representing the City-North in the City championship match.
The Braves beat the host Stars 26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24 on Sept. 11.
"We've got to play better this time because it's basically a must-win (match)," Rembert said. "If they beat us and we end up tied in the North, they get to go to the City championship (match) based on the fact we went last year. We were in the same situation last year, but we were able to win the second meeting for the sweep and then we beat them in the (Division I district tournament).
"Centennial is playing very well right now, so this is two even teams. We were fortunate in the first match. They've played a tougher non-league schedule. Our problem is that we haven't been tested much. I wish we could be pushed more in the league. Unfortunately, that tends to be a problem in the district (tournament)."
Entering the week, the Braves had won 33 of 34 sets in league play. The lone set they lost was in their win over the Stars.
Whetstone has been led by senior Ellie Henkaline (outside hitter), junior Dahlia Kleen (setter) and sophomores Megan Harrison (setter/right-side hitter) and Macy Staggs (middle hitter).
"Macy has started to hit and block better and when she's on, she brings us to another level," Rembert said. "Dahlia and Megan are doing great at setting and hitting and Ellie has a great serve and is hitting well and playing great defense.
"We actually start one senior (Henkaline), one junior (Kleen), three sophomores (Harrison, Staggs and Sadie Hannah) and a freshman (Alivia Brello), so we're really young."
Football team remains upbeat
The football team is looking to stay positive after falling to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the City-North with a 40-16 loss to Northland on Sept. 28.
Whetstone continues league play Friday, Oct. 5, at home against Mifflin.
The Punchers defeated Linden-McKinley 33-6 on Sept. 28 to improve to 2-4 overall and 2-1 in the league.
"I think, after Northland, the rest of the league positions are up for grabs," coach Tom Jones said. "I'm looking at film and looking at scores around the league and it seems like everything else will be bottled up after Northland."
Mifflin lost to Northland 54-12 on Sept. 21. Both teams also have played Linden, with the Braves beating the Panthers 36-0 on Sept. 21.
"Well, we scored more points against Northland than any other team in the league so far and we beat Linden by a few more than (Mifflin) did," Jones said. "I know every game is different, but looking at things on paper, we're right there with Mifflin. Our goal going into the year was to finish in the top three in the league."
Against Northland, the Braves trailed 34-0 at halftime, which initiated a running clock in the second half.
"We were in position to make plays many times in the first half, but when it looked like we had them bottled up, they just hit another gear and ran past us," Jones said. "Their quickness was too much for us to overcome."
Northland running back John Branham ran for 97 yards and three touchdowns and quarterback Khalil Branham was 5-for-12 passing for 87 yards with one touchdown and also caught two touchdown passes from Isaiah Jackson.
The Braves got an 8-yard touchdown run from Dorian Jordan and a 12-yard touchdown run from Rashaun Broomfield. Broomfield finished with 56 yards rushing and Jordan rushed for 49 yards.
"Mifflin has some great athletes in Tavion Scales (RB/LB) and Aman Thornton (TE/DB), but they don't have the Branham brothers," Jones said. "Our kids never gave up against (Northland) and we fought hard. We'll be OK if we continue to bring that effort the rest of the way."
Postseason begins for girls tennis team
The girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at Hilliard Bradley.
In singles, junior Anita Tamang will face Athens' Sakura Sugiyama in a play-in match, while freshmen Alysia Swinehart and Stella Thompson will open with first-round matches. Swinehart will play Marysville's Eliza Martin and Thompson will face Bradley's Dhriti Sanyasi.
In doubles, junior Emma McAdams and sophomore Maizy Pratt are paired and have a first-round bye, while junior Melia Loar and sophomore Sally Brackville will play Grove City's Emma Olander and Josie Susi in the first round.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Oct. 11 and 13 at Reynoldsburg.
The Braves played West in the City League championship match Oct. 1 and were scheduled to conclude the City coaches tournament this week.
Boys golfers set for City tourney
The boys golf team competed in a Division I sectional Oct. 2, at Darby Creek, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the district tournament Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Apple Valley.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team advance to state Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The Braves also are set to compete in the City tournament Thursday, Oct. 4, at Airport. The tournament had been scheduled for Sept. 27 but was postponed.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 10 -- City meet at Walnut Ridge
Oct. 4 -- Home vs. South
Oct. 8 -- Home vs. Independence
Oct. 8 -- At Mount Vernon
Oct. 9 -- Home vs. Bloom Carroll
*Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Centennial. The Braves beat the Stars 26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24 on Sept. 11.
*Oct. 9 -- At Northland. The Braves beat the Vikings 25-8, 25-11, 25-21 on Sept. 13.
Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg