Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
Last week, I opened this column by discussing how much I missed the smell of popcorn when walking into a gym. This week, it’s how much I missed the sound of a band playing on a cool night at a football stadium.
Seriously, is there anything better than that? Especially at the beginning of the season, knowing you have at least nine weeks left to enjoy it.
I’ve learned to savor the little things.
With plenty of popcorn and band routines in my near future, here’s this week’s wrap-up:
What made me raise my eyebrows?
Coming into this season, there was much talk about Unioto and Southeastern’s volleyball programs defending their shared league title. But that’s not even close to how the season has played out so far.
Instead, both Westfall and Zane Trace currently sit atop the conference’s standings, both 2-0 in league competition and a combined 9-2 overall. This past week, Zane Trace beat Unioto in five sets before topping Southeastern in four while Westfall swept both Southeastern and Paint Valley.
The Pioneers’ two-game run over the co-defending champs speaks for itself. Coach Cyndi Davis’ roster is plum-full of young talent with the likes of Emily Allen, Hannah Hale, Alli Bennett, Lexi Betts, Laynee Hill … the list goes on and on. Westfall has, arguably, the league’s best hitter in Kristin Phillips with additional weapons in Josie Williams, Marissa Mullins and Lauren Daniels.
And, let’s not forget about Adena or Huntington, who have also played well. The Warriors are still undefeated in league play while the Huntsmen’ only loss has cam to Unioto this past week.
To make a long story short, the SVC title race is wide open. But right now, you have to look at Westfall and Zane Trace as the frontrunners … and I didn’t think I’d write that at the very beginning of the season.
After its five-set loss to Zane Trace, Unioto bounced back with a win over Huntington Thursday evening. In that game, Kacey Pierce led the way with 14 kills while Amber Cottrill added 13 of her own.
After falling in an early 2-0 hole, Wheelersburg’s girls soccer team stormed back to hand Waverly a 3-2 loss in SOC II action. That’s after the Pirates lost their starting goalkeeper midway through the second half with an injury.
Unioto’s boys soccer team is on an early season roll, standing at 4-1. The Shermans’ latest win came in a 2-0 decision over Fairfield Union where Vijay Wangui found the back of the net both times.
MORE LINKS: Bearcats overcome slow start, roll over Eastern Pike … Unioto’s boys cross country team ranked third in state … Shoemaker’s career night leads Tigers to win over Athens … Adena coasts to victory at McClain
Standout Stat Lines
In Westfall’s two SVC wins this week, Josie Williams posted 13 kills, 33 assists and 17 digs. The senior now has 22 kills, nine aces, six blocks, 15 digs and 59 assists in just 14 sets.
Notre Dame’s pair of Claire Dettwiller and Sophia Hassel are off to fast starts. Dettwiller has a team-high 42 kills and five blocks during the Titans’ first 14 sets while Hassel has pieced together 30 kills, six aces and 79 digs. Notre Dame stands at 3-1 with a 2-0 mark in the SOC I.
The McClain Tigers’ girls soccer team is off to the best start in program history, standing at 3-1-1. Kerigan Pollard is a big reason why. In her past three games, Pollard has 12 goals and three assists while the Tigers have tied with Jackson (4-4), beat Washington (10-0) and lost to Logan Elm (5-4).
What’s on Tap
Tuesday’s schedule features multiple marquee matchups.
On the volleyball court, Unioto travels to Westfall for a battle that could be an instant classic. Paint Valley travels to Piketon the same night with a chance to win its first SVC game since 2013, and Wheelersburg hosts Northwest at the top of the SOC standings.
Unioto’s girls soccer program continues to sift through its gauntlet-type schedule, hosting Fairfield Union while Waverly’s girls make a trip to Minford. In boys soccer, South Webster pays a visit to Jackson and New Boston goes to Clay.
Remember, you can follow our writers on Twitter — Derrick Webb (@dw1509), Brock Netter (@SirBrockNetter), Clay Archer (@ClayArcher3) and John Bruce (@CoconutWallpapa) — for continuous live updates.
Did you know?
The last time Wheelersburg’s football program dropped two straight games was in 2011 … also the last year the Pirates missed the playoffs. In Week 9 and 10 of that season, ‘Burg fell to Valley (39-27) and Portsmouth West (40-14), ending any playoff hopes and finalizing an overall record of 7-3.
VOLLEYBALL: 1. Westfall (5-1), 2. Zane Trace (4-1), 3. Wheelersburg (3-0), 4. Unioto (5-2), 5. Notre Dame (3-1), 6. Huntington (5-1), 7. Adena (3-2), 8. Chillicothe (6-5), 9. Northwest (4-1), 10. Waverly (3-2)
BOYS SOCCER: 1. Unioto (4-1), 2. Wheelersburg (4-0), 3. Chillicothe (2-1-1), 4. South Webster (2-1), 5. Jackson (2-0), 6. Zane Trace (3-2), 7. Clay (4-1), 8. Minford (3-0), 9. Waverly (3-3), 10. Hillsboro (2-1-1)
GIRLS SOCCER: 1. Wheelersburg (4-0), 2. Unioto (1-2), 3. Waverly (3-1), 4. Chillicothe (2-1), 5. McClain (3-1-1), 6. Jackson (0-0-1), 7. Minford (3-1), 8. Westfall (3-1), 9. Miami Trace (1-1), 10. Northwest (1-1-1)