Gahanna Lincoln Roundup: Defense steps up for girls volleyball team

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Senior defensive specialist Hani Sampson has made a big impact during her first season with the Gahanna girls volleyball team. Sampson moved to Gahanna from Fairborn at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

During the Gahanna Lincoln girls volleyball team’s 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 loss to Thomas Worthington on Oct. 3, Hani Sampson recorded seven digs and 19 serves received to remain among the program leaders in both categories.

Although the senior defensive specialist has been playing the sport since seventh grade, it is her first year with the Lions after moving in from Fairborn at the end of the 2019-20 school year. She said fitting in with her new teammates has been easy, however.

“We’ve all come closer during the season,” Sampson said. “We’ve had new people this season, like me for instance, and have been playing together as a team. I loved my girls (at Fairborn) and I miss them a lot, but coming here was a good choice.”

Sampson is hoping she and the rest of her teammates can pick up where they left off after a strong end of September when they resume play.

The Lions have been quarantined because of COVID-19 since Oct. 4 and are planning to begin practicing again Sunday, Oct. 18.

The Division I district tournament drawing was Oct. 11 and the postseason will begin for some programs in the area Monday, Oct. 19.

In addition to competing in the postseason, Gahanna is planning to reschedule postponed OCC-Ohio Division matches against New Albany, Westerville Central, Grove City and Pickerington North.

Gahanna, which is 8-7 overall, beat Westland 25-17, 25-10, 25-12 on Oct. 1 to improve to 5-1 in the league as it looks to defend the OCC-Ohio title it won last season.

Against Westland, senior outside hitter Kortney Grimm had 14 kills and sophomore middle hitter Audrey Worthington added seven.

Senior defensive specialist Alex VanHorssen had five serving aces, senior defensive specialist Kelsey Cripe had 10 digs and junior setter Kendall White had 12 digs and 30 assists.

“We’ve worked through a lot of things this season and are coming together as a team and having fun,” VanHorssen said. “We’re fighting very hard to get back-to-back OCC titles. We’re just working on trusting each other since some of us are new playing with each other and communication.”

In the Lions’ only league loss, they won the first two sets against Westerville Central on Sept. 17 but lost 20-25, 22-25, 25-22, 27-25, 15-8. The Warhawks led the league at 6-1 before facing Westland on Oct. 13.

“It’s been day-by-day and the girls are adjusting,” first-year coach Ashanti Slone said. “We’ve definitely been seeing the progress and now we’ve got to go win games. I saw some really good effort from some players (against Thomas), but we have to see it from all six girls at the same time. We just need to work on continuity and execution honestly.”

Gahanna's Max Hahn competed in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at Apple Valley. He advanced by shooting a 73 in a sectional Oct. 6 at Turnberry.

Golf teams open

postseason play

Senior Max Hahn represented the boys golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at Apple Valley. The top two individuals not on qualifying teams at district advanced to the state tournament Oct. 23 and 24 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

On Oct. 6 in a sectional at Turnberry, Hahn shot 73 to tie Olentangy Liberty’s Andrew Blosser and Dublin Coffman’s Ryan Seidensticker for second behind Pickerington North’s Carson Bellish (70) as he earned the first of four individual district berths.

The Lions shot 322 to place fifth behind champion Liberty (297), but only the top four teams at the 15-team event qualified for district. The other three spots went to Pickerington North (297), Coffman (312) and Pickerington Central (316).

Senior Mitchell Soma, who lost in a playoff at last year’s district tournament in a bid to qualify for state, shot 78 at sectional to place 17th and miss advancing to district by one stroke.

Also competing at sectional for Gahanna were juniors Evan Henry (83) and Kyle Lark (88) and sophomore Matthew Soma (96).

The girls team finished sixth (396) in a Division I sectional Oct. 6 at Blacklick Woods as the top three advanced to district.

Sophomore Cee Cee Holmes led the Lions with a 93 that left her eight strokes away from advancing individually to district.

Holmes was followed by juniors Molly Cepek (99) and Taylor Patterson (100) and seniors Elise Wenz (104) and Ummehani Motiwala (105).

The Lions finished second (13-7) in the OCC-Ohio behind Grove City (20-0) as Wenz averaged 86 to earn first-team all-league honors. Cepek and Holmes both averaged 91 to make the second team, and Motiwala averaged 95.3 to earn honorable mention.

Another contributor this fall was junior Rose Zeigler, who competed in one round of the league tournament.

Runners tune up

for league meet

The boys and girls cross country teams compete in the OCC-Ohio meet Saturday, Oct. 17, at Pickerington Central.

The postseason begins with Division I district competition Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby.

On Sept. 26 in the Tiger Invitational at Central, both the boys and girls earned runner-up finishes.

The boys scored 67 points to finish behind Chillicothe Unioto (29) as 12 teams scored, and the girls scored 76 to place behind Pickerington North (58) as 10 teams scored.

Sophomore Abinur Sileshi led the boys with an eighth-place finish in 17 minutes, 17.3 seconds. He was followed by senior Donovan Hight (12th, 17:27.3), sophomores Alex Eggleston (14th, 17:37.4) and Charles Slates (15th, 17:41.4), freshman K’Tyo Hendershott (18th, 17:54.7), senior Connor Hughes-Hemsoth (20th, 17:54.7) and sophomore Owen Huzicka (29th, 18:05.3).

The girls were led by junior Olivia Perry, who placed seventh (21:06.4). She was followed by seniors Olivia Keener (15th, 21:32.9) and Elise Wunderlin (16th, 21:44.2), sophomore Addy Galloway (18th, 21:48.9), freshman Eliza Brofford (20th, 21:55.2), junior Hannah Reich (28th, 22:28.7) and senior Gabriella Sophocleous (29th, 22:33.9).

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

GIRLS GOLF

OCC-Ohio standings: Grove City (20-0), Gahanna (13-7), Pickerington North (12-7-1), Pickerington Central (9-11), Big Walnut (5-15), Lancaster (0-19-1)

Seniors lost: Ummehani Motiwala and Elise Wenz

Key returnees: Molly Cepek, Cee Cee Holmes, Taylor Patterson and Rose Zeigler

Postseason: Sixth (396) at sectional behind champion New Albany (286)