Playing with confidence rarely was an issue for the Dublin Coffman girls volleyball team over the past decade-plus.

Continuing that mindset has been among the things Kim Atherton has stressed to her players since being named coach April 5.

In addition to adjusting to a new coach, the Shamrocks' lineup has limited experience.

Senior Sadie Brown, a 6-foot middle hitter and Jacksonville State commit who was named second-team all-OCC-Central Division last season, is the top returnee from a team that lost five key players to graduation.

Atherton replaced Mary Anne Souder, who stepped down following a 13-year tenure in which Coffman went 297-51 with five Division I state tournament appearances. Last season, the Shamrocks went 23-4 overall and 10-0 in the OCC-Central Division and reached a regional semifinal.

Coffman, which has won 12 consecutive district titles, 12 consecutive league titles and 145 consecutive league matches overall, was 1-1 before playing Olentangy Orange on Aug. 27. The Shamrocks begin league action Tuesday, Sept. 3, at Hilliard Davidson.

"We have a lot of work to do, but we're getting the kids to believe in themselves," Atherton said. "We want them to have the confidence that they're the girls that can get it done and that they've been waiting for all of high school to be in this position."

Brown had 200 kills last season and will lead the offense along with senior Mackenzie Curry, a 6-1 opposite hitter who had 140 kills a year ago.

The Shamrocks lost their top all-around player from the past two seasons in Riley Wagoner, who is now at Hawaii after being named district and league Player of the Year a year ago.

Senior Arianna Rowe is taking over at setter for 2019 graduate Jacy Sheldon, a four-year regular along with Wagoner who is playing women's basketball for Ohio State.

The other senior is outside hitter Angel Barrett.

Moving into key roles despite being freshmen are Ella Durham (6-1, middle hitter/outside hitter), Leah Shumate (libero/outside hitter) and Annabelle Straty (defensive specialist).

Junior Erin Peebles is an outside hitter who battled an injury during the preseason but is expected to be a key player.

Sophomore Ruby Moore also should be a key outside hitter.

Juniors Julie Donegan (middle hitter) and Anna Dorenkott (setter) and sophomores Maiha Ashida (defensive specialist) and Amarianah Russell (opposite hitter) are others looking to contribute.

Atherton's daughter, Hunter Atherton, was the starting setter for Coffman in 2015 when the Shamrocks were state runners-up.

Atherton guided Marion Pleasant to 11 Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference titles from 2002-13 and a Division III district title in 2013. She was named district Coach of the Year seven times and had more than 200 wins with the Spartans.

She also served as an assistant under Souder in 2014 and '15 and is the lead nurse for Dublin City Schools.

"I'm super excited about what the girls are doing in the gym right now," Atherton said. "I love their work ethic. It's hard when a senior class has a new coach, so I'm trying to be understanding of that when I bring in new ideas. People are not expecting huge things from us, but I think by the end of the season, we'll be playing super strong and be able to hang with a lot of teams that won't be expecting that."

Celtics look to mature quickly

With its setter among a strong freshman class, Jerome is excited about its long-term prospects.

Just how quickly the Celtics can replace a group of five players lost to graduation who filled most of the team's key roles last season will determine how the team fares this season.

Jerome finished 16-9 overall and 9-5 in the OCC-Cardinal last season and was 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the league before playing Olentangy Berlin on Aug. 27.

The Celtics defeated Dayton Stivers 25-20, 25-7 on Aug. 17.

"The outlook is just for us to get better and really mold as a team," second-year coach Randy Cline said. "Most of these kids that are coming back are on the court all the time. I have a chance to really build the team to what I want next year. I don't really lose any massive pieces from this team going into next year. We just want to get closer and closer as a team."

The top returnees are seniors Kylie Carpenter (libero) and Tess Hollern (right-side hitter) and junior Jaci Carpenter (outside hitter).

Last season, Jaci Carpenter had 276 kills and 185 digs and Kylie Carpenter had 142 digs.

The other seniors are Jenn Lee (defensive specialist), Katie McKibben (right-side hitter) and Bella Palmer (setter/defensive specialist).

Brooke Carpenter is starting at setter despite being a freshman.

Sophomore Paige Wleklinski, the team's tallest player at 6-1, is at middle hitter along with freshman Cali Judge, while sophomore Caroline Zimovan is an outside hitter and middle hitter and junior Grace Schleter is an outside hitter and right-side hitter.

Also on the team are sophomore Adaline Racan (defensive specialist) and freshman Surabhi Srinivasan (outside hitter/middle hitter).

In Cline's first season, the Celtics improved significantly after going 10-14 overall and 3-9 in the OCC-Cardinal in 2017.

"(Last season was) good and we've got a good group of girls again," Cline said. "Our leadership is really strong this year and we're definitely looking forward to (the season). We've got a freshman setter, (but) we've got the hitters, got a good passing team and a good passing defensive team."

-- Jarrod Ulrey

Irish aiming for league championship

After finishing second in the OCC-Cardinal last season, Scioto has its sights set on the top spot.

The Irish are seeking their first league title since 2007 when they won their fourth consecutive championship.

Scioto also is seeking its first Division I district title since 2007.

"We've been second place (in the league) a lot," said 10th-year coach Jackie Wilson, whose team went 18-7 overall and 12-2 in the OCC-Cardinal last season. "It feels good to be as successful as we have been, but it also leaves a little sour taste in your mouth to be that close. A lot of programs would love to trade places with us to be competing at the top of their (league) every single season, which we really have. ... We believe this is the year. We have an incredibly athletic team.

"We feel we're a top team in our conference and a top team in the district."

Scioto opened Aug. 22 with a 25-21, 25-23, 25-17 league win over Delaware and was 1-0 before playing Hilliard Darby in a league match Aug. 27. The Irish's league match Aug. 20 at Berlin was postponed because of a power outage.

Scioto visits defending league champion Worthington Kilbourne on Thursday, Aug. 29, and plays host to the Wolves on Sept. 24.

Among the returnees for the Irish are junior outside hitter Karleigh Rothe (first-team all-league, honorable mention all-district), senior outside hitter Lauren Erickson (second-team all-league) and sophomore libero Ayva Leon (honorable mention all-league).

Also back are seniors Lucia Adams (middle blocker), Lena Beasley (middle blocker) and Marlae Davis (outside hitter) and juniors Abby Leonard (setter) and Ashleigh Rothe (setter/opposite hitter).

Rounding out the team are seniors Alex Birko (defensive specialist) and Kloe Kuhn (defensive specialist).

"We have a lot of versatility within those 10 kids to play different positions and fill multiple roles," Wilson said.

-- Frank DiRenna

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman, Jerome and Scioto:

COFFMAN

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 31 -- Duel at the DeWine's in Cedarville

FIELD HOCKEY

Sept. 4 -- At Bexley

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 31 -- Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 3 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Country Club

Sept. 4 -- OCC-Central at Blacklick Woods

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 31 -- At Massillon Jackson

Sept. 3 -- At Westerville North

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 29 -- Home vs. Pickerington North

Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Westerville North

GIRLS TENNIS

*Aug. 29 -- At Marysville

*Sept. 3 -- At Central Crossing

Sept. 4 -- Home vs. Jerome

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 29 -- At Westerville North

*Sept. 3 -- At Hilliard Davidson

JEROME

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 31 -- Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson

FIELD HOCKEY

*Aug. 29 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington

Aug. 31 -- Home vs. Dayton Oakwood

Sept. 4 -- Home vs. Granville

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 31 -- Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 3 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Country Club

Sept. 4 -- OCC-Cardinal at New Albany Links

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Thomas

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 3 -- At Thomas

GIRLS TENNIS

*Aug. 29 -- At Hilliard Bradley

*Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Delaware

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Aug. 29 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby

*Sept. 3 -- At Bradley

SCIOTO

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 31 -- Westerville North Classic

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 3 -- Bradley at Darby Creek

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 4 -- OCC-Cardinal at New Albany Links

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 29 -- At Lancaster

*Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Delaware

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 29 -- Home vs. Westerville Central

*Sept. 3 -- At Delaware

GIRLS TENNIS

*Aug. 29 -- Home vs. Thomas

*Sept. 3 -- At Bradley

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Aug. 29 -- At Worthington Kilbourne

*Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Thomas

*League contest