Westerville South High School girls volleyball coach Veronica Brownlee always has had a deep devotion for athletics.
In her second season, she's hoping to spread her love for sports and competition to her team.
The Wildcats were 3-16 overall and 0-8 in the OCC-Buckeye Division -- and on a nine-match losing streak -- before playing Westerville North on Oct. 9.
"This isn't what I expected," Brownlee said. "No one expected this. ... It's very frustrating. The girls don't have a lot of fight in them. It's been more mental challenges than physical. I'm running up and down the sidelines. I'm almost playing the ball for them trying to give them my passion, my energy. I'm trying to transfer it onto the court."
Brownlee said Peyton Guice, Maria Hays and Anyssa Jones have been bright spots during what has been a disappointing season.
South played Columbus School for Girls on Oct. 10 and closes the regular season Thursday, Oct. 11, at Westerville Central before preparing for the Division I district tournament. The Wildcats lost to the Warhawks 29-27, 25-14, 25-20 on Sept. 25.
South is seeded 39th of 49 teams and visits eighth-seeded Watterson in the first round Monday, Oct. 15. The winner plays 16th-seeded Gahanna in the second round Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the home of the better seed.
The Wildcats were expected to be without Jones, a junior outside hitter, for the rest of the season after she sprained her left ankle in a 25-19, 25-7, 25-11 loss at Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 2. Jones, who has committed to play basketball at Ohio State, now will prepare for her winter sport.
"It's a minor sprain, but this is her side sport," Brownlee said. "Her dad said she has to get ready for basketball."
Through 19 matches, Jones had 119 kills to trail only Hays' 120. Guice led in assists (251) and digs (126), and Josephine Appiah led in blocks (35).
Girls golf team competes at sectional
The girls golf team closed its season by competing in a Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Royal American.
The Wildcats finished ninth (486) behind champion Olentangy Orange (306) as the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
Sophomore McKhala Eckert led South with a 107, followed by sophomore Katherine Blais (113), junior Amelia Kidder (132) and sophomores Nia Cosby (134) and Layla Goebeler (137).
"We actually played really well," first-year coach Matt Yingling said. "They were playing some of their best golf at the end of the year. The girls who were new really improved throughout the year, so as their scores kept coming down. We kept getting better as a team."
South went 0-20 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish sixth behind champion Orange (20-0).
Girls tennis team wraps up season
The girls tennis team concluded its season by playing in a Division I sectional Oct. 5 at Upper Arlington.
In singles, seniors Caroline Stoll and Kathryn Shaffer each went 1-1 and senior Diana Appiagyei went 0-1. In doubles, the teams of seniors Emma Hite and Tuyen Quan and junior Dani Koehler and sophomore Megan Shoemaker each went 1-1.
"It was a good day," coach Ryan French said. "When we do the draw, I'm trying to get each kid to win at least one match; that's the goal. We like to be in the middle of the pack here."
Freshman Mary Pedrozo also is eligible to return.
South finished 6-8 overall and went 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye to place fifth behind champion Orange (5-0).
The Wildcats defeated North 3-2 on Sept. 4 for their league win.
"Last year we only won one match (1-13) and this year we won six, so it's a much-improved year," French said. "The seniors got a lot better. I'm very happy with the way things turned out."
Below are the coming schedules for the South cross country, boys soccer and girls soccer teams:
Oct. 13 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Davidson
Oct. 11 -- At Pickerington North
Oct. 20 -- At seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or home vs. 36th-seeded Mifflin in second round of Division I district tournament. The Wildcats are seeded 15th of 48 teams.
Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Newark
Oct. 15 -- Home vs. 29th-seeded Chillicothe in first round of Division I district tournament. The Wildcats are seeded 23rd of 44 teams.