Grove City senior girls volleyball player Molly Michalak always will cherish the memories she made as a member of the program.
Her prep career came to a close in the Greyhounds' 25-14, 25-21, 25-17 loss to top-seeded Olentangy Orange in a Division I district final Oct. 26 at Central Crossing. The Pioneers have won four consecutive district titles.
The 14th-seeded Greyhounds finished 15-9 overall.
"It's really disappointing that the season has come to an end," said Michalak, an outside hitter. "I feel like we had so much more time, but we fought really hard. We gave it our all. (The seniors) were really emotional, especially my best friend, Lexi Bapst, knowing that this would be the last time we ever play together. It was really sad for us. Both of us and Lauren Clark, we grew up playing volleyball together."
Grove City reached the district final with a 26-24, 25-22, 15-25, 25-21 win over 11th-seeded Big Walnut in a semifinal Oct. 23 at Central Crossing.
Michalak, who will play at Eastern Kentucky, was named first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division.
Bapst, a senior outside hitter, will play at Niagara and was second-team all-league.
Junior middle hitter Lauren Lucas was second-team all-league and junior middle hitter Emily Parrett was honorable mention all-league.
Clark was a senior libero.
Grove City went 6-4 in the OCC-Ohio to finish third behind champion Gahanna (10-0).
"We weren't quite sure what we were getting ourselves into for the postseason the way that we finished the regular season," coach Alan Pham said. "We finished (the regular season) mediocre. We lost to Gahanna and then Pickerington North, so that was a tough pill to swallow, but knowing there was a postseason for them to focus on, it gave them a goal."
Others eligible to return are juniors Rylee Jones (setter), Livvy Ouse (defensive specialist), Kayla Rutan (setter) and Breana Westerfield (right-side hitter) and sophomore Lilly Parrett (right-side hitter).
"This was good for the seniors, the juniors, we worked pretty hard to get to this point, get tournament-ready once we realized (the) OCC (title) was out of reach," Pham said. "This was a good character-build and a good notch onto their belt to say that they've been (to a district final), especially for the junior class that's returning."
Football team to close season
The football team wraps up the season Friday, Nov. 1, at home against Pickerington Central.
The Dawgs are 1-8 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Ohio while Central is 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the league.
The Tigers were projected to be second in Division I, Region 3 this week behind Olentangy Liberty. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
Central can clinch the outright league title with a win. Pickerington North, which plays Gahanna on Nov. 1, is 3-1 in the league.
Grove City lost at Gahanna 41-7 on Oct. 25 as Blake Stevens rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and Zach Nelson added 42 yards on 13 carries.
Quarterback Jared Knight passed for 55 yards.
"We just have to get better, we have to compete," Knight said. "It was a tough loss. You have to give it everything you have no matter the outcome of the game."
Central defeated visiting Reynoldsburg 40-14 on Oct. 25 for its fifth consecutive win. Quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw completed 13 of 14 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 139 yards and three scores on 20 carries.
"We have to do our jobs, play fundamentally sound (and) execute," Knight said. "A goal of our offense is to possess the ball, move the ball and get first downs. Obviously, Demeatric Crenshaw is a great quarterback. We have to stop him and just play our brand of football."
Girls soccer team enjoys success
The girls soccer team had a banner season, winning its first OCC title since 1983.
The Greyhounds went 4-0-1 in the OCC-Ohio to finish ahead of runner-up Gahanna (3-0-2).
"The league title goes to the top of the list," coach Josh Keller said. "(It's the program's) first league title since 1983 and we won it outright. We didn't share it with anyone and they should be really proud of that."
Another highlight was Keller earning his 100th victory at Grove City with a 2-1 win over Hilliard Davidson in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 19 at home.
"The 100th win is a testament to the exceptional players and teams I have been fortunate to coach over the past 10 years," Keller said. "To average 10 wins a season over a decade tells you everything you need to know about the level of commitment all the players and coaches have and the culture of this program. Grove City is a wonderful place to coach and I can't thank the community enough for their support."
Senior midfielder Anjuli Anderson and sophomore midfielder Reganne Elliott each scored against Davidson.
Junior goalkeeper Madison Evans had nine saves, but was injured in the first half. Backup sophomore goalie Ashleigh Mastilak was ill, so Evans was replaced by emergency junior goalie Macie Dearth.
Dearth stopped a penalty kick and made another key save before being replaced by Evans.
Seeded 11th, the Greyhounds lost at fourth-seeded Westerville North 4-0 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 to finish 12-5-1 overall.
Grove City loses seven players to graduation. Anderson led the team in scoring with 11 goals and nine assists, and senior forward Kennedy Fulks had seven goals.
Evans finished with 75 saves.
Senior midfielder Camryn Rush missed the season with an ACL injury.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Kendall Jameson (defender), Skyla Sanborn (forward), Jenna Slabaugh (midfielder) and Sophia Tristano (defender) and sophomores Caitlyn Chittum (midfielder), Morgan Dible (defender), Belle Ransburgh (midfielder), Alissa Schiff (midfielder), Alexis Steinhauser (midfielder) and Emily Talbott (defender).