The Centennial girls volleyball team wrapped up the regular season with a pair of straight-set matches, a loss to City League-North Division rival Whetstone on Oct. 9 and a win over South on Oct. 10.
The first result clearly wasn't what the Stars wanted, although they wouldn't have made the City championship match either way. Because the Stars were in last year's final, the Braves would have won the league tiebreaker, in which the more recent participant stays home.
Centennial still could have tied Whetstone for first in the City-North with a win, but the 25-15, 25-9, 25-14 setback led to a 12-2 finish in the league. The Stars rebounded to beat South 25-23, 25-15, 25-16 and finish the regular season at 13-7 overall.
"Overall, we definitely had some growth," coach Brittani Lewis said. "They were able to use (some things we incorporated in practice) during the (Whetstone) game."
Whetstone came out firing on all cylinders, but for Lewis it was a play late in the third set that summed up her team's play and what it needed to work on entering the postseason. The Braves dug out a ball on the floor that ended up being volleyed for a Whetstone point.
"They tend to think sometimes that if they have a good hit that it's done and over with," Lewis said. "But you never know what can save the play or what can put (the ball) back over. We've grown in that, but it hasn't stuck."
Seeded ninth for the Division II district tournament, the Stars opened Oct. 16 at home against 12th-seeded Granville or 13th-seeded Buckeye Valley. The winner plays fourth-seeded Utica, 20th-seeded Whitehall or 22nd-seeded Linden-McKinley in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Licking Heights.
Nikita Reynolds had four kills, Jayana Harley had seven assists and Erika Bautista had a pair of aces to lead the Stars against Whetstone.
"Sky (Harris) is a really good hustler and will sacrifice her body," Lewis said. "She's an all-around player. She can set and she has really consistent serves -- spot serving. Naa (Dromo Korley) has grown too in her strong, aggressive serves and hitting and CiCi (Dingess) in her hitting. Nikita has grown into being a solid hitter and being consistent in her play."
Football squad continues winning ways
High school football fans, coaches and writers alike check joeeitel.com to see where teams stack up in the race for the playoffs.
Before this season, coach Donte Goosby had never heard of Joe Eitel's website. He didn't need it. The Stars usually are out of the playoff chase by now.
"I've never known of a source that puts information like that out," Goosby said. "But I tell our guys if we take care of ourselves then I believe everything else will fall into place."
The top eight teams in each region make the playoffs, and the Stars were projected by Eitel to be ninth this week in Division III, Region 11.
"I'll obsess over stuff like that," Goosby said. "I have to basically manage myself -- control myself -- to save myself from myself, so to speak. We've never been in this position, so I've never had to keep a close eye on that stuff. I know my personality and if I pay too much attention to that, I'd be on that website every five or 10 minutes."
The Stars are 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the City-North after a 57-14 win over Linden on Oct. 11.
Centennial scored in all facets of the game as it built a 30-0 lead in the first quarter. Marquise Scott scored a rushing touchdown and returned a punt for another score. He added a receiving touchdown later in the game.
"(Scott) is a junior now and he's making plays ever since he was a freshman," Goosby said. "If I had to coach against him, he would be the guy that would keep me up at night. Marquise is the guy that scares everybody just because any time he touches the ball he can take it to the house. (Against Linden), he got the ball a couple of times and guys were out of position. He's the type of guy that will make you pay for that."
Justin Grimes added a safety for the Stars in the first quarter.
The biggest test for Centennial going into its game Friday, Oct. 18, against Mifflin is motivation, and Goosby thinks that's a top-down solution. The Punchers are 1-6 overall and 1-3 in the City-North after a 56-14 loss at East on Oct. 11.
"I have to not let up in my intensity," Goosby said. "So, that trickles down to the guys. We set the tone and they respond. We have such good kids that that's been their response for the last two or three years."
Boys soccer team endures tough week
The frustration showed on the face of boys soccer coach Scott George as he walked off the field after his team tied host Grandview a 2 on Oct. 12.
The Bobcats tied the game when Ross Day scored on a free kick from just outside the box with 15 seconds left.
When Derrick Ibrahim stole a pass by Grandview's goalkeeper and tapped in a goal to give Centennial a 2-1 lead with 13:14 remaining, it looked like the Stars would salvage something from a trying week.
"It's been horrible," George said. "We lost three straight and then thought we were going to end on a positive note (against Grandview)."
The goals by Nicky Oberdick and Ibrahim against Grandview were the first ones scored by the Stars all week, as they fell 2-0 to Northland on Oct. 7, 3-0 to Dublin Scioto on Oct. 8 and 1-0 to Independence on Oct. 10.
"Nicky is very creative and he finds spots where he can take advantage. If he can get a shot off, he will," George said. "Derrick just will not quit ... will not stop running. He usually just overpowers people."
Centennial wrapped up the regular season at 6-6-3 overall and 1-3-2 in the City-North.
"I think there's been a letdown here after we lost our rivalry game for the first time in (over) a decade," George said.
Whetstone defeated Centennial 3-1 on Sept. 26. It was the first loss for the Stars in the rivalry since 2005. Centennial was 9-0-4 over that stretch.
The Stars were seeded fifth for the Division II district tournament and opened Oct. 16 at home against 10th-seeded Horizon Science or 18th-seeded Marion-Franklin. If the Stars won, they will play Tuesday, Oct. 22, at fourth-seeded Bexley or at home against 15th-seeded Hamilton Township in a district semifinal.
"We want to extend our season as long as possible," George said. "We think we stack up well with a lot of the teams in the bracket."
Girls soccer team falls in first round
The girls soccer team, seeded 13th for the Division II district tournament, lost its first-round game at second-seeded Granville 10-0 on Oct. 12.
The Stars were 5-9 before playing Whetstone in the City championship game Oct. 15 at Mapfre Stadium.
Goalkeeper Sarah Clifton had 12 saves against Granville.
Below is the coming schedule for the Centennial cross country teams:
Oct. 19 -- Boys: Division II, district 2 meet at Hilliard Darby. The top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North. Girls: Division II district meet at Darby. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at North.