DeSales girls basketball players learned early on that not only would first-year coach Erick Herzberg expect a lot from them, but what he expected was much different than what the program had run for several years.
For instance, not only will senior Katie Schuler continue to play a forward position, but she also will see time as a shooting guard.
"It is definitely different for me because I am playing almost every position on the floor. I am occasionally (a shooting guard, small forward and power forward) and I have to do everything on defense, so that's a lot different," the 5-foot-10 Schuler said. "I have to learn a lot of new stuff, plus different positions."
Herzberg wasted little time installing a new-look motion offense after he was named coach May 15, succeeding nine-year coach Brian Cromwell. Herzberg, who has coached at Lakewood, Linden-McKinley and Westerville South in recent seasons, will rely heavily on 5-6 senior guard Erin Burns, Schuler and juniors Stefanie Karras (5-9, forward), Gracie Sabo (5-9, center) and Gracey Wilson (5-5, guard), all of whom return from last year's team that finished 6-17 overall and 1-6 in the CCL.
DeSales opened Nov. 26 at Lancaster.
"Watching what they did, they did a lot of dribble-drive," said Herzberg, who guided South last season to records of 19-6 overall and 10-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before a Division I regional semifinal loss to eventual state runner-up Pickerington Central. "Their posts would be opposite the ball off their action to get the dump-downs. In our base and our motion, we are asking them to post low, get seals, to come out and get pick-and-rolls, to do a lot of active stuff they didn't do a lot of last year. That's in our motion. A lot of our action is away from the ball rather than catching and dribble-driving and creating that way. We're trying to get our action away from the ball."
Burns, who plays both point guard and shooting guard, averaged 8.0 points last season, best among all returnees. She battled a right ankle injury late in the season and did not play in the postseason.
"(Herzberg) is designing the offense around our strengths and our weaknesses," Burns said. "A lot of our plays are not set. They're more (of a) motion offense, so we're getting to learn how to play with each other rather than just run a play. That's really cool. We get to know our personnel and play off each other. We create a good chemistry."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Kaylee Green (5-8, forward) and Nicole Miller (5-2, guard), juniors Cara Jewett (5-7, forward), Adrian Lowery (5-8, forward) and Lauren Mitevski (5-5, guard), sophomore Ava Roby (5-9, forward) and freshman Jadyn Arnold (5-7, guard/forward).
DeSales' home opener is Wednesday, Dec. 4, against Westerville Central.
The Stallions begin CCL play Jan. 9 at home against Hartley. They finished fourth in the league last season behind co-champions Hartley and Watterson (both 6-1).
"There's a learning curve. Once we get over that, things will be better," Herzberg said. "We're on the bubble. I think we can do some exciting things and surprise some people."
Hockey team mixing experience, youth
Despite losing its top scorers from last year, the hockey team returns a handful of veterans and adds nine freshmen to the roster -- six of whom have played the sport for several years, according to third-year coach Darcy Cahill.
Seniors Sam Bosson (defenseman), Noah Swenson (forward) and Luke Weithman (forward) and juniors Nick Bedzyk (forward) and Nathan Granata (defenseman) return from a team that went 9-14-1-1 overall and 4-9-0-2 (10 points) in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue Division.
"We're going to be pretty young. Some good leaders came back, but we're young in goal," said Cahill, whose team opened Nov. 22 with a CHC game against Watterson at Chiller Easton. "Our captains have done a good job taking care of the freshmen and showing them the ropes. Of those freshmen, six of them have played pretty much their whole lives so we have some hockey players coming in. That's going to pay off."
DeSales must replace the 46 goals scored in league play between forwards and 2019 graduates Chris Yarger (31) and Adam Graver (15). Yarger led the entire CHC in goals.
According to Cahill, the Stallions' experienced freshmen are A.J. Cagnina (forward), Michael Friess (forward), Christopher Henderson (goaltender), Mateo Muller (defensemen), Lukas Seyboldt (forward) and Tyler Thompson (forward).
Henderson is the only goalie on the roster.
"We'll work out what our style will be," Cahill said. "Safety is No. 1 for us right now. It's a big step for those freshmen to be playing at the varsity level and they'll have to protect themselves. They need to keep their heads up and get accustomed to varsity hockey."
Rounding out the roster are senior Mario Lopez (forward), juniors Arman Karimy (forward), Nick Meek (defenseman) and Mikey Roach (forward) and freshmen Peter Kennedy (forward), Conner Mayes (forward) and Kaison Russell (forward).
The Stallions finished fourth in the CHC-Blue last season behind champion Thomas Worthington (21, 9-3-2-1).
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
Nov. 30 -- Huber Heights Wayne in All-Ohio High School Hoop Showcase at Gahanna
Dec. 3 -- At Westerville Central
Dec. 4 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
*Dec. 4 -- Columbus East at HP Lanes
*Nov. 29 -- Gahanna in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
*Nov. 30 -- Cleveland Benedictine and Watterson in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Dec. 1 -- TBD in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 2 -- Grandview at Columbus Aquatics Center