The DeSales girls volleyball team has reason to have high expectations, considering the Stallions are coming off earning a share of their sixth CCL championship in seven seasons and fell short of a district championship for the first time since 2010.
While third-year coach Brendan Pence is excited about what his team could accomplish, he has two philosophies when it comes to expectations.
"One (is) 'expectations are the thief of joy' and second, 'Expect nothing. Appreciate everything,' " Pence said. "We do not want to get caught up in expectations, but instead control our individual and collective effort, attitude and tenacity in our gym every single day."
Eight players who started at some point last season have returned, led by seniors Emma Brown (outside hitter) and Bella D'Amico (setter). They are committed to Robert Morris and Georgia Tech, respectively.
Also back are seniors Grace Barber (defensive specialist) and Maryanne Boyle (outside hitter/middle blocker), juniors Avery Boyd (middle blocker), Bridget Javitch (defensive specialist) and Allison Weiner (right-side hitter) and sophomore Morgan Tydings (middle blocker).
Last season, DeSales went 16-9 overall and 6-2 in the CCL, tying Hartley and Watterson for the title, and lost to Olentangy Liberty 25-11, 25-17, 25-18 in a Division I district final.
Brown had a team-high 239 kills last year and D'Amico added 158 kills.
DeSales is 3-1 entering a Saturday, Aug. 31, match at Olentangy.
The Stallions opened Aug. 20 with a 25-21, 20-25, 25-18, 25-12 home win over Sparta Highland and went 2-1 in the Best of Ohio tournament Aug. 24 at Toledo St. Ursula, losing to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 25-22, 25-15 and defeating Olentangy Liberty 25-18, 25-16 and Rocky River Magnificat 15-25, 25-23, 25-16.
"There is a really strong mix of skill and experience across our position groups," Pence said. "The team has really bought into the system we are trying to run. Our practices have been a mix of high energy and accountability and during our scrimmages. I have seen some very meaningful contributions from every single player on the roster. We have a very deep squad and the atmosphere so far has been on competition with each other, never against."
Rounding out the roster are senior Kennedy Scott (setter), juniors Alexis Johnson (outside hitter), Tara Mnich (outside hitter/defensive specialist), Brooke Stablein (defensive specialist) and Saje Washington (outside hitter) and sophomores Gabbi D'Amico (outside hitter/def-ensive specialist) and Ashleigh Zehala (setter).
The Stallions begin CCL play Tuesday, Sept. 3, at Watterson.
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 29 -- Buckeye Valley at Champions
Aug. 31 -- Bexley Invitational at Westchester
Sept. 3 -- Canal Winchester at Champions
Sept. 3 -- Lancaster at NorthStar
Aug. 29 -- At Grove City
Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Granville
Aug. 29 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 3 -- Hartley at Otterbein
Sept. 4 -- At Westerville North
Aug. 31 -- At Olentangy
*Sept. 3 -- At Watterson