Whetstone Roundup: Volleyball team playing well under new coach

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Macy Staggs, a middle hitter, is one of seven seniors leading the Whetstone girls volleyball team under first-year coach Chelsea Ray.

Chelsea Ray knows what she's being asked to do as the new Whetstone girls volleyball coach.

Ray, a three-year junior varsity coach with the Braves and an assistant varsity coach last season, has succeeded longtime head coach Errol Rembert. 

Rembert, who led the Braves to a City League title in 1992 and to league runner-up finishes in two of the past three seasons, has retired after 41 seasons at the helm. 

“It’s definitely big shoes to fill,” Ray said. “We definitely feel his absence every day. He’s a phenomenal person and a phenomenal coach.” 

In a season that has been shortened because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Ray has an experienced roster that has seven seniors. Whetstone went 18-5 overall last season and won the City-North Division at 14-0. 

The Braves won their first five matches this season, all of which were league contests. They defeated visiting Centennial 25-6, 25-13, 25-17 on Sept. 28 and visiting Northland 25-9, 25-11, 25-19 on Sept. 30.

Whetstone played at Linden-McKinley on Oct. 5 and will play host to Beechcroft on Monday, Oct. 12.

“It’s just a phenomenal group and an honor to coach them,” Ray said. “They’re just a group of well-rounded athletes. They can play so many different positions all over the court and they work so well together as a team. They’ve always been a group of great athletes and great kids. I’m very privileged to be able to work with them.” 

Among the top contributors is senior setter and outside hitter Megan Harrison. 

“She’s doing a great job leading the team and she’s a really talented setter,” Ray said. “She’s very smart offensively.” 

Other top contributors include seniors Macy Staggs (middle hitter), Grace Brigle (right-side hitter), Caitlyn McDaniel, Sadie Hannah, Ryleigh Elicker (defensive specialist) and Julianna May (right-side hitter/defensive specialist) and junior Sierra Peterson (outside hitter).

Ray said the Braves intend to make the most of this season, which was suspended from Aug. 14 to Aug. 29 by Columbus City Schools because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’ve been saying this whole time we just want to take advantage of every moment we get to play together. We’re thankful that we got to have some kind of a season,” Ray said. “This is just a phenomenal group of kids. To think that we might have had to miss out on the season was pretty unimaginable. The thing we keep saying is to play every game like it’s our last and play together, play for each other and just enjoy every minute of playing this great game while we can.” 

Football team

set for playoff game

The football team wrapped up its initial three-game regular season Oct. 2 at Centennial. 

The Braves began their season with a 52-6 loss at South on Sept. 17 and rebounded with a 12-6 victory over visiting Mifflin on Sept. 25. 

Quarterback Alex Hurd completed nine of 19 passes for 65 yards with two interceptions through two games. Darric McClinton had 24 carries for 104 yards. 

Coach Tom Jones said the Braves are open to playing additional games following the playoffs.

Whetstone is in Division II, Region 7 and is the 20th seed. It will play at 13th-seeded Licking Heights in the first round Friday, Oct. 9, with the winner visiting fourth-seeded Olentangy on Oct. 16.

Boys soccer team

wins first two games

The boys soccer team won its first two games, defeating Beechcroft 3-1 on Sept. 14 and West 4-2 on Sept. 22 before losing to Northland 3-2 on Sept. 30.

Chance Mpigirway had four goals through three games, followed by Sam Garcia with two goals and Max Cipriani and Tika Basnet with a goal each. One of Whetstone’s goals against West came on an own goal by the Cowboys. 

Max Rogers had 13 saves and Nathan Rothacker had four. 

The Braves play host to Centennial on Thursday, Oct. 8.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve