Starting a dynasty was one of the unifying purposes of the Watterson girls volleyball team during the 2020 season when it made its first trip to the state tournament.
There were seven seniors among the 10 who saw action in the Eagles’ state semifinal loss that season, but two of the other players on that squad were instrumental in helping the program reach that level again this fall.
Seniors Ava Hoying and Clara Vondran were three-year regulars who were part of a seven-member senior class this season for Watterson, which went 22-7 overall and shared the CCL title with Hartley at 5-1 before losing to Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 25-16, 25-15, 25-23 in a Division I state semifinal Nov. 11 at Wright State.
“The 2020 team was the first class I had all four years, and one of the things they wanted to do was leave a legacy,” sixth-year coach Stephanie Grieshop said. “They knew the success of the classes after them was their responsibility, so this class, these seniors, are doing the same thing. The success they had is feeding down to the classes after them. They’re their own seniors, but they’re keeping the tradition alive.”
Watterson was the No. 2 seed for the district tournament behind Olentangy Liberty but beat the Patriots 25-14, 24-26, 25-19, 26-24 on Nov. 5 for the regional championship. The Eagles had lost in a regional semifinal last season.
“It’s been really fun,” senior middle hitter Riley McGee said. “We’ve been working really hard at it and enjoying every moment together because we have a lot of seniors. Honestly, we’ve been united since day one and we all wanted it pretty bad.”
Hoying and Vondran were outside hitters who led the way this fall, each earning first-team all-district and all-league honors.
Hoying, who also was second-team all-state, is a Northern Kentucky commit who had 363 kills, 224 digs and 381 serves received. Vondran totaled 267 kills, 57 serving aces, 277 digs and 491 serves received and was honorable mention all-state.
“The main thing was with seven seniors, it made it so much easier to mesh with each other and have fun with each other,” Vondran said.
Senior libero Callie Kasun was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, finishing with 367 digs and 384 serves received.
McGee (146 kills, 101 blocks) and senior setter Sydney Spears (288 assists) were second-team all-league
“It was really hard after (so many seniors) left (from the 2020 team), but we just looked at it and said we were going to make it happen,” Kasun said. “There were a lot of people underestimating us. I’m really excited to see what this program does in the future. We set a precedent and now that we have the experience, we’re hoping (the team will get to state) again.”
Juniors Peyton Graham (middle hitter, 65 blocks) and Maija Egletis (setter, 402 assists), sophomores Emma Claron (setter, 310 assists) and Makenna Glenn (defensive specialist) and freshman Layla Hoying (outside hitter, 185 kills) are set to be the top returnees.
“These girls had a really great season with a lot to be proud of,” Grieshop said.
WATTERSON GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
•Record: 22-7 overall
•CCL standings: Hartley (5-1), Watterson (5-1), DeSales (2-4), Ready (0-6)
•Seniors lost: Ava Hoying, Maren Jenkins, Maggie Johnson, Callie Kasun, Riley McGee, Sydney Spears and Clara Vondran
•Key returnees: Emma Cloran, Maija Eglitis, Makenna Glenn, Peyton Graham and Layla Hoying
•Postseason: Def. Walnut Ridge 25-9, 25-10, 25-6; def. Franklin Heights 25-8, 25-6, 25-4; def. Marysville 25-18, 25-8, 25-13; def. Dublin Scioto 26-24, 24-20, 25-14; def. Dublin Jerome 25-11, 25-23, 25-22; def. Olentangy Liberty 25-14, 24-26, 25-19, 26-24; lost to Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 25-16, 25-15, 25-23 in Division I state semifinal
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Watterson girls volleyball looks to continue run of success