Naturally a middle hitter, DeSales girls volleyball player Maryanne Boyle occasionally tries to convince coach Brenden Pence to move her back there from outside hitter.
Nonetheless, Boyle, a senior and Providence commit, appreciates expanding her skills and comfort zone as the Stallions continue another successful season. She had 69 kills through 14 matches, second only to Emma Brown's 81, and the Stallions were 15-2 overall before playing Pickerington Central on Sept. 30.
"It's always good to step out of your comfort zone. That's one of the things I am learning this season: how to play outside the best I can," Boyle said. "Sometimes I try to ask (Pence) to switch up the offense and put me back in the middle, but he likes having me on the outside. At first, I struggled with finding my shot and places I could hit, but during the season, I've learned to swing big and create shots for myself."
Boyle and junior Saje Washington have proven to be a force on opposite sides, having combined for 120 kills despite their unfamiliar circumstances. Boyle made an impact last year despite playing only half the season after transferring from former CCL rival Columbus School for Girls -- where she started for two years -- and Washington is in her first season on varsity after starting for two years on junior varsity.
Boyle does not start, but rotates in so that she can play left, middle and right in the front row.
"Maryanne did well last year, but she only had half the season. We knew she was capable, but Saje has stepped up a lot," Pence said. "They've done everything I've asked. Maryanne has improved a lot, but she's a good enough athlete that she will do well on the outside. She has a lot of natural talent."
Washington moved into a starting role upon the graduation of Lexi Hall, who now plays at Muskingum.
"I typically hit deep corners. That can be hard for other teams to pick up," Washington said. "I see the court pretty well. I can choose different shots, whether its offspeed or different corners."
Bridget Javitch had a team-best 104 digs through 14 matches, ahead of Georgia Tech commit Bella D'Amico (72). D'Amico led the Stallions in assists with 234.
Javitch, a libero, credited some of the team's success to an ability to combine different styles rooted in club experience.
"We've meshed well together," Javitch said. "We play a little different depending on the club we've played for, whether it's the way we serve, the way we pass. It's difficult to find common ground, but we've done a good adjusting. We trust each other on and off the court."
DeSales was ranked second behind Olentangy Orange in last week's Division I area coaches poll. The Braves will play host to the Pioneers on Saturday, Oct. 5, one day before the district tournament draw.
"We always have two seasons: the CCL season and then the time to get ready for a deep tournament run," Pence said. "It's a good chance to refocus and cut our teeth against some really good teams. We've played good teams already, too. The CCL is always strong and we've seen some good OCC teams. We'll work on any gaps in our game and go from there."
Husslein seeded at tennis sectional
For the second consecutive season, Megan Husslein of the girls tennis team is seeded in the Division I sectional being held Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Pickerington Central.
Husslein, who is seeded fourth after being third last year, was 18-2 at first singles before a Sept. 30 match against Westerville Central, and the Stallions were 15-2 overall.
"I feel like her (6-4, 2-6, 1-0) win over Ahn Thi Thai of Hilliard Bradley (on Sept. 11), the No. 1 seed at the Bradley sectional, solidified her resume," coach Tom Snyder said. "I was happy for her that she got that recognition. Now we have to go earn it all over again. It's not an easy road to get to a Division I district (tournament), but I'm looking forward to seeing her compete for it. And as a fourth seed, other teams come after you. It's a great challenge."
Molly Ballard and Evelyn Brainard also will play singles at sectional. Kat Jolley and Lilly Metzger will make up one doubles team, and Catharina Le and Abigail Waldren will comprise the other.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 10 and 12 at Reynoldsburg.
The Stallions concluded their regular season Oct. 1 at Worthington Christian after going 2-1 last week, defeating Grove City on Sept. 24 and Reynoldsburg on Sept. 26 by 4-1 scores and losing to Watkins Memorial 5-0 on Sept. 25.
"Megan and Molly have been extremely consistent at the top of our lineup, but we don't win (15) matches -- the most since the 2008 season -- without the whole team," Snyder said. "Abigail and Catharina have been outstanding for us as seniors. Kat Jolley and Lilly Metzger are playing some real good tennis as of late, and Evelyn Brainard and Amelia Zaremba have been huge as well."
Boys soccer team continues to win
The boys soccer team's five-game winning streak came to an end Sept. 28 with a 6-1 loss to visiting Bay Village Bay, last week's top-ranked team in Division II.
DeSales was 9-3 overall and 2-1 in the CCL before finishing league play Oct. 1 at Ready. The Stallions routed host Watterson 7-1 on Sept. 24 as Will Shaffer scored three goals and Andrew Shaffer scored two.
DeSales was eliminated from CCL championship contention the same night, however, when St. Charles defeated Hartley 5-0 to finish 4-0 in the league and win its fourth title in five years.
The Stallions lost to the Cardinals 3-1 on Sept. 10.
Jack Francisco and Will Shaffer each had 11 goals through 12 games to share the team lead.
Drew Hanley scored against Bay.
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 1 -- Competed in Division I sectional at Darby Creek. The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Oct. 1 -- Competed in Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial. The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.
Oct. 5 -- CCL postseason at NorthStar
Oct. 5 -- At Richfield Revere
Oct. 5 -- At Worthington Christian
Oct. 7 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy
Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Oct. 7 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Oct. 8 -- At Olentangy Liberty