Pickerington Central Roundup: Vanessa Glass made clear contribution to volleyball team
As the Pickerington Central girls volleyball team’s only senior this season, Vanessa Glass was awarded a few perks.
Hers was the only banner on the east wall of the gymnasium, opposite the team’s bench, and a handmade banner next to the one with a professional photo even featured a hashtag, #VGW, below her name.
Glass, a 5-foot-2 senior defensive specialist, laughingly acknowledged it has nothing to do with volleyball.
“My sister used to call me ‘VG water’ like ‘Fiji water’ because it rhymed,” Glass said. “It was something everybody else picked up.”
As Glass’ high school career wound down, the Tigers hoped that wasn’t the only thing they picked up from or about their veteran leader.
A two-year starter and three-year varsity player, Glass’ court awareness and overall skills helped Central reach a Division I district semifinal for the sixth consecutive season and win an undefeated OCC-Buckeye Division championship. The 10th-seeded Tigers finished 19-5 with a 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 loss at ninth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a semifinal Oct. 28.
“She is extremely smart on the court. Her volleyball IQ is through the roof, and not just her ability to serve or pass but she is in the right position nine times out of 10 for tipped balls,” coach Eric Hughes said. “It seems she’s in the right spot before the hitter knows where the ball is going. It’s great to have that behind the setter. She makes it look like it’s always an easy ball for her.”
Glass dressed varsity as a sophomore and saw time in the back row before becoming the full-time libero last year.
“As a leader, you have to be there for all of your teammates and she does that,” sophomore middle hitter Emma Beretich said. “She is a very good server. She knows the spots on the court. She is good at serving to certain spots and she’s a good setter, also, even though that is not her main position.
“I have to have a good pass to hit a ball and her passes have been beneficial for me hitting, the play ending and us getting a point.”
Hughes smiled as he recalled one time earlier this season when after he called a timeout, he saw Glass untie her shoes as she entered the huddle. Only as play was about to resume did she re-tie them, something Hughes said was to help her teammates compose themselves and potentially ice the opposing server.
“It was a savvy move,” Hughes said.
Other players eligible to return for Central include juniors J.J. Bouarouy (setter) and Kelsey Crumley (middle hitter), sophomore Amari Walker (defensive specialist) and freshman Myriah Massey (middle hitter/outside hitter).
Glass is bypassing college volleyball to major in forensic science at Bowling Green.
“I actually did think about (playing in college) at one time, but the amount of work, I don’t think it would work for me personally next to my academics,” Glass said. “I’d like to go into the FBI someday.”
for state berths
The boys cross country team used three top-15 finishes to cruise into the Division I regional meet Oct. 31 at Pickerington North, placing third (81) in the district 2 meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby behind champion Dublin Jerome (53) as 16 teams scored.
Chase Balko was fourth (16 minutes, 21.3 seconds) to lead the Tigers. Also scoring were Jailen Willis (12th, 16:43.8), Brycen Rogers (13th, 16:48.4), Andrew Scrape (25th, 17:04.4) and Gavin Kelly (27th, 17:09.1).
The boys team was joined at regional by girls runners Amber Carter and Grace Osborn, who finished 14th (19:48.5) and 24th (20:11), respectively, in district 2. Osborn earned the final individual berth to regional by 6.8 seconds ahead of Orange’s Kayla Sucharski.
The team fell one spot shy of advancing, finishing seventh (185) behind champion Dublin Coffman (55) as 17 teams scored.
Carter and Osborn were followed by Talia Mauro (34th, 20:32.9), Anna Heren (45th, 20:51.3) and Mallory Schmidt (68th, 21:32.2).
reflect on seasons
Despite winning their respective OCC-Buckeye championships, the boys and girls soccer teams came up short in one-goal games to open the Division I district tournament.
The 26th-seeded boys team lost 1-0 at 14th-seeded Darby in a first-round game Oct. 20, and four days later, the 20th-seeded girls team fell 5-4 at home to 23rd-seeded Watkins Memorial in a second-round contest.
Senior forward Koen Droese’s 23 goals and nine assists led the boys team, which overcame a 0-6-1 start to win its first league championship since 2001. Central finished 7-7-3 overall after going 5-0 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Droese is a Trine commit, and coach Brett Neiderman said one of the offseason’s top goals will be finding someone to replace his production. Candidates include two sophomore midfielders in Jack Henry, who had seven goals and nine assists, and Elhadji Mbow, who added four goals and seven assists.
Other players eligible to return include juniors Daniel Asiamah (defender), Ian Camp (goalie) and Aiden Sullivan (goalie) and sophomore Michael Philabaum (defender).
“We have a good core group coming back and I think their experiences this year will make them that much better,” Neiderman said. “We were a young squad so I am hoping the guys that were thrown onto the field, that maybe would have needed another year of (junior varsity play) before varsity, gained some valuable experience and will be ready to contribute at a high level next season.”
The girls finished 9-8 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Buckeye despite, like the boys team, getting off to a rough start at 0-6. Junior forward Ramiya Roy had three goals against Watkins Memorial to help the Tigers nearly erase a 5-2 deficit.
In addition to Roy, other expected returnees include junior Lauryn Evans (goalie) and sophomores Kennedy Coles (midfielder), Rylee Espartero (forward), Emma Morton (midfielder) and Mina Roy (forward).
•Record: 7-7-3 overall
•OCC-Buckeye standings: Pickerington Central (5-0), Reynoldsburg (3-1-1), Central Crossing and Newark (both 2-3), Groveport (1-3-1), Lancaster (1-4)
•Seniors lost: Nathan Bauer, Koen Droese and Abishek Phuyel
•Key returnees: Ian Camp, Jack Henry, Elhadji Mbow, Michael Philabaum and Aiden Sullivan
•Postseason: Lost to Hilliard Darby 1-0 in first round of Division I district tournament
•Record: 9-8 overall
•OCC-Buckeye standings: Central (5-0), Newark (4-1), Lancaster and Reynoldsburg (both 2-2-1), Central Crossing (1-4), Groveport (0-5)
•Seniors lost: Nina Azadi-Ardekani, Carmen Brown, Kyah Ewing, Kristina Faulds, Lexi Herr, Tatum McElwain, Lia Petrefski, Salma Suhaiba, Kassidy Stanley and Brooke Warnock
•Key returnees: Kennedy Coles, Lauryn Evans, Emma Morton, Mina Roy and Ramiya Roy
•Postseason: Lost to Watkins Memorial 5-4 in second round of Division I district tournament
•Record: 19-5 overall
•OCC-Buckeye standings: Central (10-0), Lancaster (8-2), Newark and Reynoldsburg (both 5-5), Central Crossing and Groveport (both 1-9)
•Senior lost: Vanessa Glass
•Key returnees: Emma Beretich, J.J. Bouarouy, Kelsey Crumley and Myriah Massey
•Postseason: Defeated Upper Arlington 25-19, 25-22, 25-23; def. Thomas Worthington 25-18, 26-24, 25-18; lost to Worthington Kilbourne 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 in Division I district semifinal