Seven sophomores and freshmen are among the Hartley girls volleyball team’s key players this season.
That’s a factor coach Mike Rahe has reminded himself of when the Hawks have struggled, although that hasn’t happened often.
After beating Gahanna 23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 on Sept. 28, Hartley was 11-2 overall.
They finished 4-2 in the CCL with both losses to Watterson, including 23-25, 22-25, 25-16, 25-19, 16-14 on Sept. 22.
“We’ve just got some growing to do,” Rahe said. “The CCL is always tough, and when you get a team down (two games to none) you’ve got to win it, you can’t try to not lose. Our average age is 14.8 and we’ve got work to do.”
The Division II district tournament drawing is Sunday, Oct.11, and Hartley is expected to be one of the area’s highest seeds. Early round competition will begin Oct. 19.
The only seniors on the team are Colleen Sweeney (setter) and Katie Heuser (outside hitter). Junior Lauren Johnson (libero) also is a regular.
The team’s top hitter is sophomore Ella Brandewie. The middle hitter leads the Hawks in kills and blocks.
Other contributors have included sophomores Jasmyn Crockett (outside hitter), Alex Etienne (outside hitter/defensive specialist), Jocelyn Heuser (defensive specialist), Kate McLane (middle hitter) and Caitlin O’Mally (defensive specialist/libero) and freshman Kaylee Musick (right-side hitter).
“We block extremely well obviously, but defensively and serve-receive wise (we’re looking to improve),” Rahe said. “Colleen is having a great season. She’s (one of the top hitters), she’s definitely our assist leader and has been serving well.”
Tennis team preps
The girls tennis team begins the postseason with a Division II sectional Thursday, Oct. 8, at Columbus Academy.
Senior Gia Green and junior Kate Thompson, who have played first and second singles, respectively, for most of the season, are teaming up to form one doubles team at sectional. The other doubles representative will feature seniors Joelea Kelley and Jackie Kirkland.
In first-round singles matches, senior Maria Kelley will face Columbus South’s Ayanna Milsap, sophomore Kiarra McElrath will play South’s Meleah Wicther and senior Morgan Liden will play Grandview’s Dylan Dobbs-Euans.
“Usually we peak at about this time of year, so by tournament time I’m hoping we do pretty decent,” coach Lynn Winters said. “Overall the girls are so happy to be playing tennis and have been following all the safety measures, so that makes it nice. We’re looking forward to going into sectionals.”
Golf teams begin
The boys golf team opened the Division II postseason by finishing fifth (347) in a sectional Oct. 1 at Turnberry to qualify for district Thursday, Oct. 8, at Denison Golf Club.
The top six teams advanced to district from the sectional, which Columbus Academy won by shooting a 310.
The girls golf squad opened the Division I postseason Oct. 6 at Royal American, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 13, at New Albany Links. Hartley was seeded 23rd.