Prep notebook: Catholic Central volleyball, girls soccer teams sharing players to keep programs alive

Volleyball photo cutline: Catholic Central High School’s Becca Samosky, Bella Catanzaro, Sara Alexander, Meghan Foster, Logan Fitzsimmons, Lauren Gnau and Lizzie Bruce are competing in two sports for the Irish this fall, playing for both the volleyball and girls soccer programs. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

With low numbers on each of their rosters this summer, the Catholic Central High School girls soccer and volleyball teams turned to each other for some help.

The programs are sharing players this season to ensure they stay alive in 2020. The idea began during workouts this summer, said Irish soccer coach Mark Derr. It helps that his niece Stacey Webster is the volleyball coach.

“We were both working out during the same time during the summer,” Derr said. “Some of the girls brought up the idea, so we as coaches started talking about it. We kind of said what the heck and asked the girls about it. We had about 3-4 girls from each team that decided they wanted to give it a shot.”

The Irish soccer team began the season with 11 players, but now has 15 with the addition of four volleyball players.

“It’s gone pretty well,” Derr said. “The girls get along great. I think they actually have more fun because there’s not as much pressure on any of them and they’re getting to do something different. The only thing I worry about is bodies breaking down as we move along during the season, but both coaches have been real cognizant of that and make sure we give them enough rest.”

Catholic Central’s volleyball team brought three soccer players on board to help its junior varsity squad, which wouldn’t have been able to schedule matches without a few more players.

“We could’ve lost some of our younger kids if we only had a varsity program,” Webster said. “We’ve had it happen once and we didn’t want it to happen again. We wanted the girls to succeed on the soccer field, too.”

Volleyball players Logan Fitzsimmons, Lauren Gnau, Sara Alexander and Bella Catanzaro have all seen action for the Irish soccer squad this fall. After graduating eight starters from last year’s squad, the Irish are 4-2 so far this season.

“They play hard,” Mark Derr said. “They’re willing to listen and to learn.”

Soccer players Lizzie Bruce, Meghan Foster and Becca Samosky are all playing on the junior varsity volleyball team for the Irish. Foster also dresses for the varsity squad.

“We get a few kicks in as digs every match,” Webster said."It’s legal and they do it all the time. It’s their first instinct."

Four of the seven players are also cheerleaders, Webster said.

Both programs expect to have good numbers moving forward with classes coming from the middle school, Derr said, but some girls have said they may continue to play both sports in the future.

“It’s built some camaraderie between the teams,” Derr said. “As coaches, we’re having fun with it, too. 2020 has been the craziest year, so this just adds to the fun.”

The players' willingness to help their classmates compete says a lot about the community at Catholic Central, Webster said.

“It’s family,” Webster said. “You have to help each other out.”

Cross country: Several local boys and girls cross country teams are ranked in the latest Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches state poll.

In Division III, the Cedarville boys team is ranked No. 1, while the West Liberty-Salem girls team is also ranked No. 1. The Cedarville girls team is also ranked No. 33 in the D-III poll.

The Shawnee girls team is ranked No. 23 in D-II, while the West Liberty-Salem boys team is ranked seventh in D-II.

Volleyball: Northeastern is ranked 19th in the latest Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association state poll.

The Jets are 11-0 and 7-0 in the Ohio Heritage Conference. Northeastern senior Lauren Tuttle leads the conference with 3.27 kills per game. Jets junior Elizabeth Wiseman leads the league with 6.61 digs per game and junior Madison Grimm ranks first with 9.42 assists per game.

Girls tennis: Northwestern clinched its second straight Central Buckeye Conference championship, beating Jonathan Alder 3-2 on Thursday.

The Warriors are 15-1 and 13-0 in the CBC with one conference match remaining against London on Tuesday. Northwestern has won 28 consecutive CBC matches dating back to Oct. 3, 2018.

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