|THE DERRICK WEBB PAGE
Derrick Webb began his writing career at the Chillicothe Gazette
as a stringer in 2012. He then covered the SVC as a full-time staff
writer until 2018. After moving to Illinois, Derrick accepted a job in
Columbus where he’s now the Ohio State men’s basketball writer
for Eleven Warriors. He also has a hand in Buckeyes football
When asked why he made the decision to move back to Ohio and
continue to have a hand in local sports coverage, his answer was
“The athletes in this area have always held a special place in my
heart, and still continue to do so. I have always enjoyed getting to
know them, as well as their families, and can’t wait to cover their
future successes in any way I possibly can. The more coverage
they get, the better.”
Derrick’s page will be updated frequently. It will include game
coverage, highlights, feature stories and more.
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|TANKS OPEN SEASON WITH CLEAN SWEEP OF LOGAN ELM
Trio of Fisher, McGlone, Cottrill key in victory
CHILLICOTHE — When Unioto's in the correct rotation, good luck putting a halt to the Tanks’ offense.
Behind a series of scoring runs throughout Tuesday’s match, the Shermans (1-0) started their season on a high
note with a clean sweep of Logan Elm by 25-16, 25-16 and 25-17 finals.
The victory not only gave Unioto a platform to showcase its strengths, but also a shot at redemption after falling to
the Braves in last year’s Division II district final.
“We know where we need to get the majority of our points and (opponents) know that, too,” Unioto coach Natalie
Stulley said. “With some new kids coming in, trying to get touches and stuff … I’ve been very honest with them. We’
ve just got to be able to mix it up a bit. I thought the girls did a really good job tonight, staying positive and letting
From what was shown in Tuesday’s match, Unioto is undoubtedly at its best when they have Jocie Fisher, Amanda
McGlone and Amber Cottrill along their front line.
The veteran trio peppered Logan Elm’s defense all night long, leading their team on lengthy scoring bursts. In fact,
the Shermans ended the second and third sets on 13-1 and 10-2 runs, respectively.
Where did each of those scoring runs find their origin? With Fisher, McGlone and Cottrill at the net.
“Amber is smart at the net and she’s a great athlete, and we’re going to get our power from Amanda in the middle
and Jocie on the outside,” Stulley said. “I was a little bit nervous coming into tonight, especially after last night’s
practice because it was rough. But I was really pleased with how things went.”
Replacing a Legend
When speaking of replacing former Unioto setter Madi Eberst, the Scioto Valley Conference’s all-time assists
leader, the idiom “big shoes to fill” doesn’t do the task justice.
Nevertheless, it’s a task that junior Emily Coleman and freshman Ava Eldridge have been assigned.
Behind Coleman and Eldridge, the Tanks ran a 6-2 rotation, different from last year’s 5-1 with Eberst at the
forefront. And while glimpses of inexperience and youth were present, according to Stulley, her two newest floor
generals showed promise.
“Honestly, I feel like both of them have huge roles,” Stulley said. “Em has been passing for the varsity team for a
couple of years and Ava has moved in as a freshman and has a beautiful set of hands. Ava has a really beautiful
jump set, which I feel like lets us play a little bit of a faster game down the road. But we’re pretty small in the setting
department. So for us, it’s just getting used to each other and controlling what we can control.”
Tale of the Tape
Like the final score suggests, the Shermans started the night fast and didn’t look back.
Stulley’s squad seized a 10-6 advantage in the first set and never relinquished the lead. Later ahead 16-13, Fisher
and Cottrill spearheaded a 5-0 run, providing breathing room before Unioto sealed its first nine-point win.
In the second, Logan Elm (0-1) threw a counter-punch by taking leads of 10-9 and 13-12. But the Shermans’
offense stayed above water until their power trio could rotate into the front. Tied 15-15 and with Fisher, McGlone
and Cottrill at the net, Unioto ended the set with a 13-1 run.
The Braves took a 10-6 lead in the third but Cree Stulley, Emily Coleman and Kacey Pierce led the Shermans on a
6-0 run to take a 12-10 edge. Logan Elm fought back to regain the lead at 13-12 but to no avail as Unioto, once
again, pieced together a run before winning 25-17.
With one win under their belts, the Shermans travel to Waverly Thursday night in a non-conference matchup.
|TANKS PLAY TO TIE WITH D1 GAHANNA LINCOLN
Campbell scores 93rd career goal, three away from county record
|Unioto's Jayla Campbell now has 93 career goals after Saturday's 1-1 tie with Gahanna Lincoln. The senior needs
three to tie the Ross County scoring record, set by Chillicothe's Payten Davis in 2016. PHOTO CREDIT: Corby Free
CHILLICOTHE — After finishing last season at 16-4 and reaching a regional semifinal, Unioto’s girls soccer program
beefed up its schedule with opponents like Marietta, New Albany, Lancaster and Buckeye Valley -- to name a few.
But their first big early test came Saturday, hosting Division I Gahanna Lincoln.
The Lions finished as the 11th ranked team in the state in the final 2017 OSSCA poll before reaching a Division I
district final as a No. 3 seed in the Central District.
However, Unioto didn’t seem to care.
Trading blow for blow in a physical affair, the two teams ultimately played to a 1-1 tie. But according to Unioto coaches
Cara Rathkamp and Kendra Dalton, the deadlock represented much more than just a score. It showed just how good
their girls can be.
“I think this is a win for us,” Dalton said. “Our girls came out and they were tenacious. I compare this team to a Big
Walnut (who Unioto lost to in last year’s regional semifinal) but better. We played with them, and at times, we were
better than them. We just want to build off of this and continue to develop into a championship team.”
For the first 15 minutes, the Shermans (2-0-1) were unquestionably the better team.
Using its backs, the Shermans moved the ball well, kept possession and challenged Gahanna Lincoln goalie JJ
Lampert on multiple occasions.
That paid off in the 30th minute when senior Jayla Campbell scored on a free kick from about 30 yards out, giving
Unioto an early 1-0 edge.
The score marked the University of Findlay commit’s eighth this season and 93rd of her career. She now need just
three goals to tie the Ross County scoring record, set by Chillicothe’s Payten Davis in 2016.
“She’s such a special player,” Rathkamp said of Campbell. “I’ve been blessed to coach her for 10 years in club and in
high school and she’s just … to go and do the things that she’s done, she’s just special. She’s phenomenal.”
Campbell’s goal stood as the lone score until the 24:43 mark in the second half when Katie Stafford put Gahanna
Lincoln (1-1-1) on the board.
“(Gahanna Lincoln) is a great team,” Rathkamp said. “They did a really nice job of setting the tempo, especially in the
second half. They settled in and did a great job of keeping possession of the ball. We weren’t able to do that in the
Late in the game, the Shermans had multiple chances to retake the lead but couldn’t find the back of the net. The
same could be said of the Lions, who were continually denied by Unioto goalkeeeper Sydney Free.
Still, Saturday’s final result was a glimpse of hope into the future.
“We want our girls to win the ball out of the air and we want them to be competitive,” Dalton said. “We want them to be
touch-tight and that’s a coaching point we make a lot. But if you look at where we are now and where we ended last
year … we’re really excited about this team.”
The Shermans will be back in action at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 4, hosting Westfall.
Southeastern stays perfect with sweep of Westfall
CHILLICOTHE — You may have thought after losing seniors Ella Skeens and Rachel Collins to graduation,
Southeastern’s volleyball program could be down this year.
And if that’s truly the case, put simply, you thought wrong.
Instead of rebuilding, the Panthers have reloaded and with a cast of veteran returners like Lauren Goebel, Jessica
Bolte and Skylar Hice, it shouldn’t come as any surprise.
That trio was instrumental in Southeastern’s latest win, a 25-12, 25-11, 25-21 sweep of Westfall, Thursday evening in
Scioto Valley Conference play.
Still, as always, there’s work to be done.
“We’ve been teaching these girls to go to their spots and play defense,” Southeastern coach Jimmy Hutton said. “I tell
them that all the time. In the first two sets tonight, they played their positions and we attacked the ball. Our serving
was aggressive as well. In the third set … we have to stop playing not to lose. That’s what happened.”
As Hutton alluded to, the Panthers (5-0, 2-0 SVC) were on cruise control through the first two sets. Much of that was
due to Hice, who routinely found holes in Westfall’s defense.
“This year, I’ve tried to work on my game, being more aggressive serving and hitting,” Hice said. “I think as a full
team, offensively, we’re stronger with serving, hitting and with passing (than they were last season). We’re just better
In the first set, Hice logged three kills in Southeastern’s first four points. With the Panthers leading 11-5, freshman
Hannah Lougheed stepped to the service line and ripped off a 9-0 run to bust the game wide open.
Lougheed is one of three freshmen, alongside Lexie Lockwood and Carissa Wheeler, who have seen significant
playing time this season.
“We have three young kids who have really stepped up,” Hice said. “They’re still a little uncomfortable and I think you
can see that at times. But the more they get used to our offense and how we play, they’re going to be just fine.”
After winning the first, Bolte led the Panthers to an early 9-1 lead in the second, an edge they’d never relinquish in a
14-point win to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
However, in the third, the Mustangs (0-3, 0-2 SVC) decided to wake up. The two teams traded blows early before
Southeastern took a timeout, trailing 14-13. After the break in the action, Hice and Bolte spearheaded a 4-1 run,
giving the Panthers a 17-15 edge.
From there, Southeastern fought its way tooth and nail to a gritty, match-clinching win.
“Our defense, we’re solid,” Hutton said. “I think we may be better than we were last year. It’s nice to have hitters like
(Hice) and (Bolte).”
The Mustangs will have five days off before hosting Paint Valley on Sept. 4. Southeastern will play the same night,
trying to keep its perfect start intact while traveling to Zane Trace.
“We’re going to work on serving aggressively and hitting our zones,” Hutton said. “And we’re going to work on our
defense. (Zane Trace) has a young team, too. It’ll be a challenge.”
|PICTURE CREDIT TO SOUTHEASTERN ATHLETIC PICS
Former Warriors weigh in on Laura
Smith's latest milestone win
FRANKFORT — Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States, moviegoers were enjoying “Back to the
Future” for the first time, Foreigner had just released “I Want To Know What Love Is” and Laura Smith had just
taken over Adena High School’s volleyball program.
1985. Ah, simpler times.
Fast forward 33 years and Donald Trump is the U.S. President, moviegoers can now stream films on their smart
devices, a rapper named Drake owns the chart’s top audio hit and Laura Smith … well, she’s still winning games at
Adena High School.
Thursday night, Smith’s Warriors swept Paint Valley by finals of 25-15, 25-23 and 25-12. But it wasn’t just another
night in Scioto Valley Conference play. Instead, it marked a milestone only two other coaches in state history can
boast of — Smith’s 700th career coaching win.
Smith joins Kris Kern and Dan McKinstry as the only coaches in Ohio to have ever reached the milestone. But she’s
the only coach to ever win 700 games at one school — Kern coached at eight different programs while McKinstry
was at Wellsville and East Palestine.
During her coaching tenure, Smith has led the Warriors to 23 conference titles including 14 straight ranging from
1990-2003 and seven consecutive crowns from 2005-2011.
If you’re doing the math at home, that’s 21 SVC championships in a 22-year span. The Warriors also won back-to-
back crowns in 2015 and 2016.
Smith has also coached the SVC Player of the Year 11 times, including three two-time winners in Emily Hammond,
Kari Ross and Cadie Cory, and has been named the conference’s Coach of the Year on 19 occasions.
Oh yeah … under Smith, Adena has claimed six regional championships and state runner-up finishes in 1993 and
The SVC’s Player of the Year in 2016, Devon Putnam, played for Smith and is now playing at West Virginia State.
She’ll never forget the values in which the heralded head coach instilled in her at a young age.
“From the time I managed the volleyball team in elementary school up until I graduated, she had always looked after
us and her team’s well being,” Putnam said of Smith. “She incorporates life lessons into all things we do for Adena
volleyball. She taught how to be responsible, how to lead, and how to hold yourself and your team accountable. I
think what makes her great is that she gives so much into her program to see us succeed inside and outside of
volleyball. I wouldn’t be at WVSU without her pushing me.”
Putnam’s high school and college teammate Kelsie Bossert echoed those sentiments.
“She cares about the volleyball program and she puts everything she has into it,” Bossert said. “She teaches more
than volleyball to her players. One lesson I remember more than anything is responsibility. As a player, I learned
many life lessons that I am very thankful for.”
Cadie Roll, who played at Adena from 2007-2011, said Smith’s “dedication to her job, constant strive for greatness
and discipline” makes her such a great coach.
You get the point.
With No. 700 under her belt and no sign of slowing down, No. 800 is absolutely reachable within the next 3-5 years.
And if she continues to impact players’ lives like she did Carly Carroll’s, Smith’s next coaching milestone may come
sooner than later.
“It seems just like yesterday, she won her 600th game,” Carroll said, who served as Smith’s libero from 2013-2016.
“I will never forget what she instilled in me over the years. She preached responsibility, commitment and effort, not
only in the game of volleyball, but life. The things she taught us will never go away. I will always remember her as a
someone who shaped me into the person I am today.”
|Coach Laura Smith's Lady Warriors won an
SVC all-time best 98-straight SVC matches
while winning 142 straight overall home matches
before losing to WF to start the 2012 season.
|SOMETHING TO PROVE
Huntsmen embracing underdog
roles, aiming to hush doubters
CHILLICOTHE — If you weren’t on Huntington’s volleyball bandwagon at the beginning of the season, don’t jump ship now.
At 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Scioto Valley Conference, the Huntsmen have more than proven themselves as a handful to deal with.
But not everyone expected that. In fact, very few expected it.
Knowing they were looked as underdogs to win the conference title, the Huntsmen haven’t only habitually beaten teams, they’ve made it
a goal to prove their doubters wrong
“By knowing that, we are definitely motivated to prove everyone wrong,” senior Braiden Collins said. “I think I can speak for the rest of the
seniors on the team … we want to fight ot make this ‘our’ year and be as successful as we possibly can. It’s always a nice challenge
going in as ‘underdogs’ and when we can draw attention and show what we are made of, it’s always a nice feeling.”
Last Tuesday, Collins and her teammates raised eyebrows with a five-set win over reigning conference champ Unioto … a team who
was widely looked at as one of the favorites to win the SVC title.
In that win, senior Riley Black logged 14 kills, 19 digs and 33 assists.
“It feels great beating last year’s SVC champs,” Black said. “I’ve never seen my team so pumped about a win before. After we beat them
one set, I saw it in everyone’s faces. We knew we could do it but we also knew it would be a challenge.”
Black gave credit to Huntington coach Tina Magill for her preparation heading into the contest as well as the relationships her team has
built with one another.
“She has been working our butts off since summer,” she said. “We are more than just teammates. We are all so close and that really
helps on and off the court. We knew coming into that game, it wouldn’t be easy. But we played hard and it paid off.”
The team’s camaraderie is also something Collins made note of.
After all, performing well on the volleyball court means a high level of communication and that requires a bond that has to be formed.
“Our team is the closest that is has ever been,” Collins said. “We have five seniors this year and we are all best friends. But even the
underclassmen and up-and-coming freshmen fit in so well. We are like a family. We can read each other well and that really carries
over into our games.”
There’s still work to be done.
Tuesday, the Huntsmen may face their biggest test yet when they host Southeastern, the second team many prognosticators picked to
win the conference.
But Huntington has a gameplan in place.
“It will be a tough game but I believe if we come out and play our ‘A’ game, we (win) it without a doubt,” Black said. “(Southeastern) has
a pretty solid team but with our defense, I think we can make it happen. I have faith in my team and my coaching staff.”
Isn’t that the first step in winning a game? Belief you can get the job done?
“With our team’s potential, it’s hard to say how far we can go,” Collins said. “I’ve never had more confidence in a team than I do this
year. We want to keep proving people wrong and finish first in the SVC. All the hard work and dedication will pay off.”
|Photo Credit: Kendra Dalton
|HISTORY’S NEWEST AUTHOR
Campbell etches her name into county record books with 97th career goal
CHILLICOTHE — Electrifying, next-level talented, dangerous with the ball at her feet.
All could describe Unioto senior forward Jayla Campbell.
But in a 5-1 win over Zane Trace Tuesday night, just the latest victory for the state-ranked Shermans, Campbell’s
earned another descriptive title: the best scorer in Ross County history.
With 29:32 remaining in Tuesday’s contest, from about 18 yards out, Campbell rewrote history with one swing of the
foot as she sent a roller past Zane Trace goalie Lily Clark, netting her second goal on the night, the 12th this year
and the 97th of her career.
The goal catapulted her over Chillicothe’s Payten Davis, who’s currently playing collegiately at the University of Rio
Grande. Davis set the record in 2016.
“I love Payten as a player,” Campbell said. “She’s phenomenal. She was two years above me and I had been chasing
her my freshman and sophomore year. I was just trying to catch her and surpass her record so I could have
something to leave behind in Chillicothe as to what I am and what I accomplished.”
Davis was also complimentary of Campbell.
“She’s a great player. I’ve player with her and against her many times and I think we have both made each other
better,” Davis said. “Records are meant to be broken.”
When you think about it, Campbell has a real shot at furthering the record number of goals in a career to something
that may not be attainable.
Already at 97, she still has two-thirds of her senior season left, plus any tournament games that the Shermans play
in. If last season’s Division II regional semifinal run is any indication of how far this team can go, there’s no telling how
many times Campbell will end up beating opposing goalkeepers.
“Last year’s team, I feel like we were more defensively minded,” Campbell said. “Our games were always closer. I feel
that we’re an attacking team now. We can blow it out of the water first before having to wait around and not letting
(the opponent) score.”
Unioto’s eventual tournament finish, of course, has yet to be determined. But with No. 97 behind her, Campbell can
focus on what’s next with no pressure whatsoever bearing down on her shoulders.
“It just feels so great to have my team behind me, helping me beat this record … all the girls I’ve played with and
against that have allowed me to be the player I am. It’s all or nothing, though. Breaking this record was a big goal of
mine. But the fact that I’ve helped everybody and the bonds I’ve made with my teammates and players I’ve played
against, that’s what I’ll look back on when it’s all said and done.”
Campbell’s Shermans will be back in action at 2:45 p.m. this Saturday, hosting Marietta. She’ll most definitely be on
the hunt for No. 100.
“She’s such a special player,” Unioto coach Cara Rathkamp said of Campbell. “I’ve been blessed to coach her for 10
years in club and in high school and she’s just … to go and do the things that she’s done, she’s just special. She’s
PV’s McFadden, ZT’s Bennett, Huntington’s Black, Unioto’s Pinkerton all hit milestones
CHILLICOTHE — The 1,000 club is an exclusive entity; a type of sorority that only the elite have been granted
access to. But with their proven track records of success, a local volleyball quartet has been recently granted
membership into the illustrious group.
Over the past two weeks, Paint Valley’s Lea McFadden, Zane Trace’s Evie Bennett, Huntington’s Riley Black and
Unioto’s Hallie Pinkerton have all reached career milestones — McFadden, Bennett and Pinkerton have all hit 1,000
career digs while Black recorded her 1,000th career assist.
We spoke with each about their accomplishments and what it meant to them.
Lea McFadden, Paint Valley
McFadden hit her milestone first, recording No. 1,000 on Aug. 30 in a game at Adena. But she didn’t even know she
had done so until the following week.
“To be honest, I had no idea nor did anyone else that I had reached my 1,000th dig,” McFadden said. “I knew at the
beginning of the season that I was getting close but I had no idea how close. It’s always been a goal of mine since
freshman year. Not very many people get to achieve this so I am beyond thankful I got the chance.”
The senior is listed on the Bearcats’ roster as an outside hitter and a setter. But she’s proven time and time again
she can play just about anywhere. And when she’s playing defense … well, that’s where she blossoms.
McFadden not only said she’s comfortable playing defense but she also said that part of the game is what she’s
“I take a lot of pride in playing good defense,” McFadden said. “I’ve always been the ‘go-getter’ type. I’m actually the
libero for my club team so the level of play is competitive and much faster. My club coach (Paul Tanedo) always
drilled into our heads to make an effort to get a hand on every ball. So I’ve always played by that.”
Evie Bennett, Zane Trace
A little more than a week after McFadden joined the 1,000 club, Bennett punched her membership ticket in a
straight-set win over Vinton County on Sep. 8.
Before that contest started, she knew exactly where she stood.
“Until my sophomore year, I had always been a defensive player,” Bennett said. “At Vinton County, I only needed two
more digs when I stepped on the court. I got that second dig, we won the rally and I looked into the stands with
everyone cheering and shaking signs in the air. It was the best moment of my high school volleyball career.”
And that’s saying something because Bennett has had quite the career.
In 242 sets, Bennett has recorded 487 kills, 141 aces and, now, 1,030 digs.
“I take a lot of pride in the way I play defense,” she said. “I’ve never been the tallest girl or the girl with the most
power but I try to hustle as best I can and I give it 100 percent. I may leave the game with floor burns and bruises
everywhere, but it pays off in the end.”
Riley Black, Huntington
Black has long been a do-it-all player for Huntington. As a sophomore, she broke onto the scene with 156 kills,
helping the Huntsmen win a Division III district title.
With Black on its roster, Huntington has an overall record of 58-29 and can claim three consecutive trips to a district
Black passed out her 1,000th career assist on Sep. 13 in a five-set thriller with Westfall.
“I never played much varsity as a freshman so I never really imagined me getting (the 1,000th) until the end of my
junior year,” Black said. “Since this past summer, it’s been one of my goals. I couldn’t have done it without my team
Black said she knew she was 35 away heading into the game.
“My highest this year had only been 33 assists,” she said. “So I wasn’t for sure if I was going to get it or not. But by
the end of the third set, my teammates were making sure I was getting it. They made it happen for me.”
Black’s career statistics currently sit at 509 kills, 541 digs, 120 aces and 1,000 assists.
Hallie Pinkerton, Unioto
Since starting as a freshman, Pinkerton’s name has been synonymous with defense at Unioto. This past Saturday,
the reigning SVC Defensive Player of the Year notched her 1,000th career dig in a sweep of Miami Trace.
Pinkerton, now a junior, was instrumental in Unioto’s gold ball finish last season and has been just as important in
the Shermans’ 12-1 start this fall.
“I take a lot of pride in the way I play defense,” Pinkerton said. “I see it as a challenge to keep every ball that comes
over the net alive so our setters can give our hitters the best opportunity they can to get a kill. Some people don’t
realize how important it is to have a solid defense because passing is what starts every play.”
Pinkerton’s libero role requires leadership; a trait she has plenty of.
“Always being the back and being able to see the floor requires me to be constantly communicating to my
teammates, telling them where to hit the ball and where the ball is coming from.”
In the past three seasons, with Pinkerton on the floor, the Shermans are 57-9 overall and 31-3 in SVC play. Unioto
has fallen at the district level in both of the past two years.
But if Pinkerton has any say in this season’s end, that streak is nearing its end.
“We have a pretty solid team. Most of us have had at least one to two years of varsity experience so that helps,”
Pinkerton said. “This year, my goal for our team is to get out of districts and into the regionals. We are making
improvements and trying to make the necessary adjustments so we have the best players on the floor all the time."
|Thanks to Lea, Coach Davis, and
Coach Stulley for the pictures for this article.
|MOVING UP THE LADDER
Conley becomes first Redstreak to reach 2,000 career assists
PIKETON — Maci Conley doesn’t like to talk about Maci Conley.
But when you accomplish something as impressive as Piketon’s senior setter did Monday, the questions about your
personal achievements are inevitably going to come.
In a 25-17, 25-17, 25-15 sweep of Whiteoak, Conley became the first player in school history to reach 2,000 career
assists and, according to the OHSAA’s record books, just the sixth player in Scioto Valley Conference history to
reach that number — joining Adena’s Haley Halcomb, Kirsten Dawson and Cadie Cory, Unioto’s Madi Eberst and
Southeastern’s Lauren Goebel.
No. 2,000 comes just 398 days after she recorded her 1,000th — Conley hit that number on Aug. 22, 2017 in a
sweep of Valley.
“After my 1,000th, I wasn’t really focused on setting another record,” Conley said. “I was focused on playing and
winning. My number of assists began to add up really quickly without me ever realizing it. This one differs from the
first one because achieving this is really the cap of a great career. This milestone is the mark I’ll leave on Piketon
volleyball and, hopefully, SVC volleyball.”
Conley came into Monday’s game needed just five assists to reach 2,000. As a junior, Conley posted a total of 879
assists. That came after sophomore and freshman campaigns where she logged 413 and 543.
“This year, (getting her 2,000th) was a big goal of Maci’s,” Piketon coach Allison Robbins said. “Right now, we’re just
pushing, how many can we get? She’s moving up in the SVC’s ranks as well. That’s a huge thing when you think
about our league.”
Robbins isn’t wrong. The SVC has long been considered one of the best volleyball conferences in southeastern
Ohio. To be near the top of any career statistical leaderboard is certainly an honor; one that Conley doesn’t take
“The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about myself being up there with the SVC’s all-time assists
leaders is that it’s an amazing honor,” Conley said. “I have so much respect for SVC volleyball because we are such
a tough league and it’s crazy to think my accomplishment is even comparable to those extraordinary players.”
Conley also gave credit to the hitters she’s played with throughout her decorated four-year career. Alongside those
players, the Redstreaks have made two consecutive trips to the district championship game while earning three
straight sectional titles.
“I give those great hitters credit because without them, I would’ve never been able to achieve this,” Conley said.
“Volleyball has been my life since I was 10 years old and started playing club. My mom always reminded me that
everything I put into (club) volleyball was to get better for my school team. That’s why I played so many hours and
dedicated so much of my life to the game I love.”
Conley’s mom is just one of her biggest supporters. She had her entire clan sitting courtside Monday to watch her
pass out No. 2,000.
“My parents have spent a lot of time and money supporting me, my younger sister has sat through hundreds of
practices and tournaments, and my older sister shared my love for the game. (Sisters) Madison and Malyn are my
biggest fans aside from my parents. I’m thankful for everyone who has ever supported me playing volleyball
including my grandparents, my friends, my coaches and Redstreak fans.”
Despite mistakes, Southeastern bests Zane Trace in four sets
CHILLICOTHE — There never has been, and probably never will be, any ‘gimmes’ in Scioto Valley Conference
volleyball play. So when you win ugly, you take the win.
Southeastern (14-2, 9-1 SVC) didn’t play to the best of its ability Thursday night against Zane Trace. But despite
their mistakes, the Panthers ousted the Pioneers in four sets; 25-17, 21-25, 25-18 and 25-17.
“I had to get on them tonight and just ask, ‘How can you guys play really good and then play really bad?’ I don’t
understand it,” Southeastern coach Jimmy Hutton said. “How can you come out and beat a team 25-17 and then
come back and lose the next set? It’s unexplainable. They lose focus and they’re running out of gas. This is the
way it’s been all year. We’ve got some things to work on.”
Tuesday night, the Pioneers (13-4, 6-4 SVC) earned their biggest win of the season in a five-set thriller over
Unioto. Still riding an emotional high from that victory, Zane Trace coach Cyndi Davis said her players may have
walked into Thursday’s match with a sense of overconfidence.
“I think we’re tired and we’re sore. We have a couple of injuries,” Davis said. “But I think they came in, in their
heads, thinking we beat Unioto on Tuesday and Unioto beat Southeastern so this was going to be a ‘gimme.’ You
can’t do that in this league, on any night. You’ve got to fight for every single point you get.”
Strong play from seniors Jessica Bolte and Lauren Goebel, as well as freshman Carissa Wheeler at the service
line, led the Panthers to an eight-point win in the first set.
However, the second was a different story.
Behind seniors Evie Bennett and Hannah Unger, Zane Trace threw a counter-punch and evened the match at
one set apiece.
“(Zane Trace’s) defense is scrappy. We’d hit hard balls at them and they’d dig them up,” Hutton said. “They’d hit
hard balls at us and we’re out of position, we can’t get to it. They sent us numerous free balls and we ended up
sending them free balls back because our pass isn’t going to the target. We’re going back to basics with passing.”
But Hutton’s Panthers bounced back in the third by a seven-point margin as they limited errors and continually
pelted Zane Trace’s defense with dinks and dunks. They then captured the match win with an eight-point victory
in the fourth.
Statistically, Unger led Zane Trace with 16 kills and 14 digs while Bennett added nine kills and a team-high 33
digs. Maddie Rann recorded 29 assists and 20 digs, Hannah Hale had three kills and three blocks, and Allie
Bennett registered six kills and 10 digs.
For the Panthers, Bolte posted a team-high 16 kills alongside three blocks while Skylar Hice added 16 kills, four
aces and 33 digs. Lauren Goebel had 40 assists and 25 digs, Lexi Lockwood had 21 digs and Sierra DeLong
ended with six kills and 16 digs.
Southeastern is back in action Saturday, hosting North Adams, while the Pioneers attempt to bounce back
Tuesday, hosting Huntington.
“It’s good that we’re still winning with the way we’re playing,” Hutton said. “I think if we could ever put it altogether
… we’ve talked about that, too.”
|Thank you Southeastern Athletic Pictures for photo
Southeastern’s Lauren Goebel stands at the top of the SVC’s record books
CHILLICOTHE — During every practice Southeastern’s volleyball program has, senior setter Lauren Goebel wears a
six-pound weight vest.
With that add-on comes sweat, pain, fatigue and, quite possibly for normal people, agony. But Goebel is no normal
person, or setter for that matter. As a matter of fact, there’s never been another setter like her in the history of the
Scioto Valley Conference.
In Tuesday’s win over Adena, Goebel was two assists away from breaking the conference’s career assists record of
2,570. She passed out 33 in the victory, leapfrogging Unioto graduate Madi Eberst to claim the top spot at 2,601.
“Madi was a great setter, she ran the floor well,” Goebel said. “I watched how she would mix it up, completely throw all
of our blockers off. She switched it up almost every set, no matter where the pass was, which is really impressive. I
really looked up to her.”
Now, younger players have a new model of greatness to look up to and it’s Goebel.
After playing well enough to make Southeastern’s varsity team as a freshman, Goebel’s initial goal was to help her
team in any way she could. While that’s still a task she certainly hopes to tackle, when the record came into her
scope, she aimed to shoot it down.
“It’s such a relief,” Goebel said. “It’s not that there was pressure because I know my team can put the ball away. But
sometimes we lack some things, we may have an off game, I may not have as many assists. But I’m just really happy
to have this for (Southeastern) assistant coach Paul (Tanedo). He came (to Southeastern) for me. It’s nice to show
him all the work we’ve put in is worth it.”
Tanedo joined head coach Jimmy Hutton three years ago. The two have since led the Panthers to two district
championships, an Elite Eight appearance and a 57-12 overall record.
But according to Tanedo, without Goebel, that level of success is not attainable.
“She solidifies things out on the court,” Tanedo said of Goebel. “When you have a bad pass, she can erase that bad
pass, get her feet set and put the ball where we can get an attack. Another setter, they may not be able to do that.
Lauren is smart and she does a great job of recognizing stuff. So her work ethic, her ability to think out there and to
remain pretty calm … that’s what she does well.”
Tanedo also coached Eberst in club volleyball. So, in a statistical sense, he’s had a hand in teaching the best two
setters the SVC has ever produced
“I was able to coach Madi for three years in club and when she broke that record, I was so happy for her,” Tanedo
said. “It’s the same thing with Lauren. What an accomplishment. You have to tip your hat to her, her parents, to
(Hutton) … she’s fabulous.”
Goebel was raw when Tanedo first starting working with her and that’s something she admits. Tanedo said she was
passing out “booty sets” as he calls them, not using her legs while thrusting the ball into the air. But multiple hour-
long sessions during the summertime and hard work in the gym catapulted her to the level she’s currently at.
“I listened to what Paul said, I took his advice,” Goebel said. “I practiced on and off the court, just trying to get to (the
record). I honestly think I deserve it.”
And, of course, without her teammates, Goebel says she’d never have been in this position in the first place.
“It’s really just teammates who know how to hit off your sets, no matter if they’re bad or good. You have to have the
hitters to get the assists,” Goebel said. “I know my team pretty well and I’ve learned to pretty much know exactly
where they’re going to pass. That’s the best I thing I do, reading my teammates and being prepared for wherever the
ball’s going to go.”
Goebel now has the chance to pile onto a record that, before being broke last season, stood for 11 years — Adena’s
Haley Halcomb ended her career in 2006 with 2,465 assists.
But that’s not what Goebel is focused on. Her Panthers reached a Division III regional final last fall. If she has
anything to do with it, Southeastern will go even further in 2018.
“Honestly, yeah we lost some key hitters, but we gained three young players who have the potential to go just as far,”
Goebel said. “They’ve got some work to do but to be playing the way they’re playing, I couldn’t be happier. I think we
can go even further this year.”
|CAN YOU DIG IT?
Huntington’s Collins, Zane Trace’s Unger both hit 1,000 career digs
would also like to
congratulate Zane Trace
setter Maddie Rann. The
senior dished out career
assist 1,000 in a five-set
thriller against Huntington.
CHILLICOTHE — Without a good pass, there is no set. Without a good set, there is no kill.
And, of course, without a kill, you’re not going to win a lot of volleyball games.
Huntington’s Braiden Collins and Zane Trace’s Hannah Unger, both seniors, know that all too well. As a matter of fact, they’re usually
the ones jumpstarting that entire process for their respective teams.
So when the Huntsmen and Pioneers faced each other Tuesday night in Scioto Valley Conference action, it was no surprise to see
Collins and Unger reach career defensive milestones on the same night.
At different points in the match, the two veterans recorded their 1,000th career digs — adding yet another accolade to both of their
storied four-year careers.
“When you’re as young as me, you set so many goals for yourself and it finally feels good to accomplish one of those goals,” Unger
said. “Instantly, I can look back at all of the hard work that I’ve put in and finally seeing it pays off. Defense is such a big part of
volleyball, so I take so much pride in defense. It’s something I’ve alway put first.”
Collins entered Tuesday’s match with 978 career digs. When she first realized she recorded her 1,000th, there was one thing on her
“It’s such an incredible feeling,” she said. “What is honestly going through my head is that God is so good. When I step onto the floor, I
give everything I have, one-hundred percent of the time. I try to do everything that coach (Tina Magill) tells me to do and cover as much
area as I possibly can. I’m glad that my effort reflects in my defense, but I couldn’t do it without my team and their encouragement.”
Collins and Unger also have something else in common. Earlier in the season, they both had teammates post career milestones —
Zane Trace’s Evie Bennett reached 1,000 digs while Huntington’s Riley Black recorded her 1,000th assist.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know how close I was at that point,” Collins said. “When Riley got her 1,000th assist, I was just so proud of her
and her accomplishment that I didn’t even think about myself. I was just happy for her.”
Unger, needed 23 digs coming into Tuesday’s match to reach 1,000 and recorded exactly 23, was also happy for Bennett. But when it
came to her own statistics, she tried to push it out of her mind. In doing so, she relieved some would-be added pressure.
“I don’t like knowing when I’m close to a goal because I’ll lose my focus during the game,” Unger said. “So I try to keep myself away
from the stats so I’ll be more focused.”
Unger’s Pioneers are currently 13-5 with a 6-5 mark in the SVC.
“I love my team, seeing what we can do and what we can put forward is just amazing,” Unger said. “Seeing us come together and
proving people wrong is something we love to do. My season has been amazing. It being my senior year, I don’t want it to end.”
As for Collins and the Huntsmen, they sit at 12-7 overall and 7-4 in the SVC.
“We’ve had some highs and lows. What’s most important, though, is that we’ve never fought or let it affect our relationship as a team,”
Collins said. “We win as a team and lose as a team. We look back on each game and see what we can do better and go into the next
game with a goal in mind.”
|SETTING THE SCENE
Zane Trace’s Maddie Rann becomes latest setter to reach 1,000 assists
KINNIKINNICK — At the beginning of the season, Zane Trace coach Cyndi Davis challenged senior setter Maddie
Rann, who transferred to Zane Trace following her sophomore year at Chillicothe, wanted the Pioneers to run a 5-1
rotation, meaning she would be the team’s primary setter.
But to do so, she had to meet Davis’ demands.
“She came to me and asked, ‘Coach, are we going to run a 5-1?’” Davis said. “I told her, ‘Maddie, you’ve got to show
me something. You have to show me you can do it.’”
That’s exactly what Rann did … and, as Davis promised, she got what she wanted.
“I take so much pride in (the setter) role,” Rann said. “My team and I do everything we can to be at the top. We try
our hardest in practice and in games and we always give one-hundred percent and work together on the court.”
This past Tuesday, Rann’s hard work — both on and off the court — paid dividends as she recorded her 1,000th
career assist. She compiled 238 as a sophomore, 243 as a junior and entered Tuesday with 508 as a senior; a total
Needing just 11 to reach the milestone, she quadrupled that number and passed out 44.
“When I hit 1,000, I was just so happy that I finally got it,” Rann said. “I worked so hard for it, even outside of practice,
to make sure my sets were perfect. I waited so long to get it all four years of high school. It feels great to have been
able to hit that number.”
Rann’s season-high assist total came in a five-set win over Unioto back on Sept. 25. She tallied 55 that night, which
also set a new career high. Her previous mark stood at 41, which she’s recorded twice this season in matches
against Southeastern and Logan.
To make a long story short, Rann has collected assists this season like never before.
“It’s exciting. I’ve coached Maddie since she was younger in club. I’m just proud of her. She had to show me she
could do it,” Davis said. “She stepped it up and proved that she could do it. She does a really good job.”
Behind Rann, and fellow seniors Hannah Unger and Evie Bennett who’ve also reached career milestones this
season, the Pioneers have posted 14 wins — heading into Thursday’s match against Paint Valley.
Rann now has 1,062 assists — after posting 29 in Wednesday’s win over Canal Winchester. But you can expect that
number to continue climbing.
“In my opinion, our season has been really good compared to last year,” Rann said. “We’re doing better on the court
together and we’re really working well with each other. We’ve worked really hard to be where we are now and we’re
not finished yet.”
Five different Shermans score in Thursday’s win over Logan
CHILLICOTHE — Less than two weeks ago, Unioto took a 5-0 loss to Division I New Albany on the chin. It was
uncharacteristic, it was unexpected and it was unpredicted.
But it also may have been the shot in the arm the Tanks needed.
“A loss is sometimes good in the middle of the season,” Unioto coach Kendra Dalton said. “Sometimes, you need a
Since that loss, the Shermans have now outscored their opponents 15-3 — including their latest victory, a 5-2
decision over Logan.
It’s safe to say the sleeping giant has awoken.
“I think this team is just getting more dynamic in the style of their play,” Unioto coach Cara Rathkamp said. “They’re
understanding the space on the field. Our on- and off-the-ball movement is just fantastic and we’re dangerous on the
Unioto (10-1-2) peppered Logan’s goal early and often. 13 minutes into the action, Erin Callahan started the night’s
scoring off an assist from Gracie Heath. Less than a minute later, at the 26:34 mark, Jayla Campbell found McKayla
Thompson to make it 2-0.
With 15:05 left in the first half, Brandy Robinson pushed the lead to 3-0 off an assist from Kylee Bethel. Robinson,
who usually comes off the bench, continued her recent upward trend.
“It’s been great to see Brandy Robinson come off the bench and have huge minutes and win balls out of the air,”
Dalton said. “She’s done a tremendous job for us.”
After Robinson’s goal, Campbell got in on the action — which surprises nobody.
Campbell’s goal, from about seven yards out, was the 101st of her storied career and gave the Shermans a 4-0
advantage. After suffering an injury against New Albany, Campbell’s score sent a breath of relaxation across the field,
for players and fans.
But in her absence, and other’s throughout the season, Rathkamp and Dalton said their younger players have
gained valuable experience heading into a tournament run.
“With the injuries, we’ve had players step up. There’s no quit in this team and it’s nice to see that,” Rathkamp said.
“We’ve been taking care of [injured players] because we’re using everybody. We’re utilizing 22 players deep.”
One of those players has been freshman defender Jaidyn McKell.
“Jaidyn McKell, in the back, has stepped up,” Rathkamp said. “She does a great job back there and she vocalizes
really well. She’s a great tackler and a great 1v1 defender.”
Amelia Willis capped off Unioto’s scoring on the night, finding the back of the net with 8:58 left in the first half. At that
point, the Shermans had scored on half of their shot on goal total.
The Chieftains (5-11) scored with 37:32 and 7:52 left in regulation. But it was much too little of an effort and much too
late to make it.
“I think that this team is so deep and it makes this team dangerous,” Unioto coach Cara Rathkamp said. “We have 13
different goal scorers on this team. That’s incredible. We want the same mentality in all 22 players. You never know
what’s going to happen.”
Remaining on Unioto’s regular season schedule are dates at Fairfield Union (Oct. 8) and against Buckeye Valley
(Oct. 13) at Crew Stadium. Both will be huge in a momentum sense, considering the postseason starts directly after.
The Shermans ended last year with a 1-0 loss to Big Walnut in a Division II regional semifinal. They’re hoping this
season ends at different level … a higher one.
“We want to go further than last year and I think we have the team and the capabilities to do that,” Dalton said. “We
want to make a state run.”
Three area teams earn top postseason seeds
CHILLICOTHE – The Southeast Ohio District Athletic Board released sectional and district volleyball and soccer brackets Sunday
afternoon. Here’s a look at where each area program stands in a postseason sense and the path they’ll have to take in order to reach a
As expected, Unioto (10-1-2) was awarded a No. 1 seed in their district and will await the winner of No. 4 Hillsboro (4-7-2) and No. 5
McClain (1-11-1) at 11 a.m. on Oct. 20 in a sectional championship.
The Shermans could play No. 2 Waverly (9-3-1) in a district semifinal and top-seeded Fairfield Union (13-1-1) in a district final. If those
two top seeds are to meet, it would be a rematch of last year’s Division II district semifinal, a game the Shermans won 1-0.
Southeastern (8-5-1) is the highest seeded area team in Division III at No. 4. The Panthers will host No. 5 South Point (7-7) in a
sectional final at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16. If they are to win, they’d then likely face top-seeded Lynchburg-Clay (11-2) in a district semifinal on
Zane Trace (6-5-2) is a No. 5 seed and will travel to No. 4 North Adams (9-4-2) at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 for a sectional championship. The
Pioneers would likely face top-seeded Alexander (9-3-1) if they beat the Green Devils.
Zane Trace and North Adams have already played this season; a 1-0 Pioneers win on Aug. 18.
At No. 6 stands Westfall (3-7), which will travel to No. 3 Peebles (10-2-2) at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 with a sectional title on the line. No. 9
Piketon (3-9) travels to No. 8 Northwest (4-9) at 5 p.m. on Oct. 13 in a sectional semifinal matchup. The Redstreaks beat the Mohawks 1-
0 on Aug. 20.
On the boys side, Unioto (6-4-1) is a No. 4 seed in Division II and will host No. 5 Alexander (5-7-2) in a sectional championship at 5 p.m.
on Oct. 18. The Tanks beat the Spartans 2-1 on Sept. 13.
Also in Division II, No. 7 Zane Trace (3-9) hosts No. 10 Sheridan (0-12) in a sectional semifinal at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15. Westfall (0-9-2), a
No. 9 seed travels to No. 8 Washington (0-10-2) at 5 p.m. the same day.
The area’s lone team in Division III, Southeastern (5-7-2), is a No. 7 seed and will host No. 10 Glenwood New Boston (1-9-1) at 11 a.m.
on Oct. 13 in a sectional semifinal. A win would pit the Panthers against No. 2 seeded Rock Hill (11-1-2) on Oct. 15 in a sectional final.
Last fall, Unioto hosted River Valley in a Division II sectional semifinal. This year, the Shermans and Raiders will have a dose of deja vu.
Unioto (18-2), a top seed in Division II, hosts No. 8 River Valley (8-10) in a sectional semifinal at 6 p.m., Oct. 17.
Unioto’s road to a district championship, assuming it plays higher seeds, would go through No. Warren (11-6), No. 2 Fairfield Union
(13-6) and No. 1 Sheridan (16-3).
In the bottom half of the brackets in Division III stands Zane Trace (15-5), peculiarly a top seed over Southeastern. The Pioneers host
the winner of No. 8 Chesapeake (8-8) and No. 9 New Lexington (6-10) in a sectional final at 4 p.m. on Oct. 20.
Possibly more uncanny is the fact that Huntington has earned a No. 2 seed, also over the Panthers. The Huntsmen (12-8) host No. 15
Portsmouth West (1-14) at 6 p.m. on Oct. 16 in a sectional semifinal. Southeastern (17-2) is a No. 3 seed and hosts No. 14 Oak Hill (2-
12) at the same time on the same day, also in a sectional semifinal.
If any of those three teams are to make it to a district final, it would take place on Oct. 27 at Waverly High School. The Huntsmen and
Panthers, however, would have to battle it out in a district semifinal on Oct. 24 to get to that point.
Also in D-III, No. 6 Adena (6-13) hosts No. 11 Northwest (8-9) in a sectional semifinal at 6 p.m., Oct. 16. Westfall (7-11), a No, 8 seed,
hosts No. 9 Peebles (13-5) and No. 10 Piketon (6-14) will travel to No. 7 South Webster (12-7) at the same level, at the same time, the
Paint Valley (7-13), the area’s lone team in Division IV, is a No. 5 seed and travels to No. 4 Western (8-10) for a sectional championship
match at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18. With a win, the Bearcats could potentially face top-seeded Waterford (14-4) for a sectional title.
|GRABBING A SHARE
McGlone, Pinkerton pace Tanks past Panthers to clinch share of SVC title
CHILLICOTHE — Somebody must’ve hurt Amanda McGlone’s feelings, because Thursday night, she hit the volleyball
like a woman scorned.
The senior middle hitter, alongside teammate Hallie Pinkerton in the back row, willed Unioto (20-2, 12-2 SVC) to a four-
set win over Southeastern 25-19, 18-25, 25-21 and 25-21.
The victory forced the Panthers (19-3, 12-2 SVC) to hand over a share of the Scioto Valley Conference title, marking
Unioto’s second consecutive league championship.
“I told the girls that this win is huge,” Unioto coach Natalie Stulley said. “(Southeastern) is a great team to be playing
before we head into tournaments. They’re a great team and they’re well-coached. I was really pleased with the way we
After winning the first set by putting pressure on Southeastern’s passing game, the Panthers returned the favor in the
second behind strong play from Jessica Bolte, Lauren Goebel and Sierra DeLong.
But that’s when McGlone decided to throw a block party … literally.
“I felt, as a senior, that I really needed to go out with a bang,” McGlone said. “I decided that … I don’t know …
something inside of me just said, ‘Amanda, you need to step it up.’ That’s when the momentum hit and I just kept
McGlone single-handedly took over Unioto’s offense. Her setters kept feeding her and she kept scorching balls into
the heart of the Panthers’ defense. It led to a 25-21 win in the third set, giving the Shermans a 2-1 match lead.
“Her strong suit is in the front row,” Stulley said of McGlone. “I’ve been on her a little bit about letting off when we’re
playing teams who maybe have a bigger blocker on the front row. Sometimes she gets real worried about that block
and she tries to hit around it. She’s an emotional kid and it being Senior Night, I worried about that. So it was big for
her to keep it together tonight. She played really well.”
In the fourth, while McGlone continued to angrily pepper the Panthers, Pinkerton continued to quietly make a
difference in the back row. The Tanks’ junior libero chased ball after ball, made tough plays look routine and routinely
sacrificed her body for her team.
“I felt like in the first set, I started out a little bit slower,” Pinkerton said. “But definitely in the second set, I started to
come alive more and so did our team. We started to play together, play our game and we got things done.”
Think it eases Stulley’s mind to have a security blanket such as Pinkerton?
“(It eases your mind) a lot,” Stulley said. “I’m big-time on our blocks, too. We’ve got to help (Pinkerton) out in the back
row because it is not fair to make her cover that entire section. Hallie’s speed, being able to run those balls down that
are maybe out of her zone, it’s kind of her forte. To bring those balls back and make those playable, it’s huge.”
Behind Pinkerton and McGlone, alongside Jocie Fisher and Amber Cottrill, the Shermans sealed the deal with a
second straight 25-21 set win.
“Our big thing was to have a fire about us,” Stulley said. “In that second set, we kind of lost some fire. We let off the
gas a little bit. We weren’t having as much fun and we weren’t getting touches at the net. But we brought it back and
got it taken care of.”
McGlone finished with 14 kills, eight blocks and five digs while Pinkerton ended with 17 digs. Fisher added a team-
high 25 digs and seven kills, Emily Coleman posted 21 assists and 12 digs, Ava Eldrige registered 13 assists and 16
digs, and Cottrill had nine kills and 17 digs.
“Overall, I’m proud of my team. I thought we did amazing tonight,” McGlone said.
For the Panthers, Bolte ended the night with a game-high 19 kills alongside three aces, Skylar Hice added 15 kills and
23 digs, Goebel passed out 49 assists and tallied 22 digs, Lexie Lockwood finished with 20 digs, and Lyndsey Skeens
had nine kills.
Both teams now look towards the postseason as Southeastern opens with Oak Hill on Oct. 16 while Unioto hosts River
Valley on Oct. 17. Both are sectional semifinal contests.
“I would’ve loved to have a gold ball again but our two losses (in conference play), you just have to look past it and
look forward to doing it next year and doing our best.”
|ONE FOR THE ROAD
Bearcats top Panthers at SE, seize sole possession of first place in SVC
CHILLICOTHE — The phrase is written throughout Paint Valley’s locker room … and make no mistake, the Bearcats
don’t take it lightly.
“Every week is championship week.”
“Even on our practice schedule, it says ‘championship week one and two and so on,’” Paint Valley coach Pete Hollon
said. “That’s kind of what we’ve preached to the kids. They’re a pretty well-rounded group. They’re fun. Those guys
have taught the old coach some things.”
Friday night, the ‘old coach’ guided his ‘well-rounded group’ to an eighth straight win.
With sole possession of first place in the Scioto Valley Conference on the line, Hollon’s Bearcats topped Southeastern
— the reigning SVC champion — by a 35-27 final.
“Southeastern is a very good team. That’s their first SVC loss in two years so they’ve become a dominant team in the
SVC,” Paint Valley quarterback Bryce Newland said. “So it really means a lot to be able to get a win.”
Newland is indeed correct. The loss marks Southeastern’s first in the SVC since Oct. 14, 2016 — a 29-21 loss to
The Bearcats (8-0, 5-0 SVC) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. They opened the game with a 5-play, 69-yard
drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown run via Lane Mettler, taking a 6-0 lead (missed two-point try).
Mettler was just getting started.
After Southeastern fumbled, which swung the pendulums of momentum into PV’s favor, Mettler scored again at the
6:38 mark in the first, capping off a 6-play, 76-yard drive. The Bearcats again failed to convert the ensuing two-point
try but had a 12-0 lead.
“I thought that us getting up two scores was pretty crucial for us,” Hollon said. “Our crowd was just tremendous. They
were every bit as loud as (Southeastern’s) and our kids kind of fed off that. Whenever you go on the road, you have
to be able to feed off something. I think we did that early.”
Southeastern (6-2, 4-1 SVC) answered with 1:41 left in the first when Dalton Thurston crossed the goal line on a
three-yard burst, cutting the lead to 12-7. But almost immediately, the Bearcats threw a counter punch via Mettler,
who scored for a third time to give Paint Valley a 19-7 lead with 11:04 left in the second.
Mettler finished the night with 12 carries for 64 yards and three touchdowns.
“The line did great tonight. I had the easy part … (Newland) just gives me the ball and I run for my life,” Mettler said. “I
have to give all the credit to the line and the other backs that were blocking for me. They’re doing the dirty work in the
Seconds after Mettler found paydirt, Southeastern’s Zack Proehl provided more fireworks. Proehl took the ensuing
kickoff 73 yards to the house, cutting the lead back to single digits at 19-13.
Newland then led his team on a 9-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Caden Grubb … a
play that Newland kept alive with his feet. It extended Paint Valley’s lead to 27-13 with 6:45 to play in the first half.
“I thought Bryce tonight, he played as well as he has in a big game situation,” Hollon said. “He kept some plays alive
and he was efficient. Not a lot of balls on the ground.”
Southeastern, of course, had an answer.
The Panthers scored with just 1:05 left before halftime on a 25-yard run from Thurston. That score sent the game into
halftime with Paint Valley leading 27-19.
While no first half scoring drive for either team covered less than 62 yards, the second half told a different story … it
even included defense midway through the third quarter.
Southeastern scored with 7:09 left in the third when quarterback Lane Ruby scampered for 33 yards. The Panthers
then pieced together a successful two-point try, forcing a 27-27 tie.
“Southeastern’s offense is difficult to defend,” Hollon said. “You can cut it, slice it any way you want and it’s really
difficult. I told the assistant coaches when we went out for the second half that we needed two defensive stops. We got
The final score of the night came on the legs of Iann Cockrell, who put the Bearcats on top 35-27 (successful two-
point try) with a 45-yard run at the 6:23 mark in the third.
After Mettler, Newland finished the night 8-of-11 passing with 140 yards and a touchdown. Brayden Ison ended with
70 rushing yards on 16 carries, Cockrell posted a game-high 154 rushing yards on 14 attempts with the score.
For Southeastern, Thurston had 17 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Mikey Nusser ended with 20 attempts
for 150 yards and a score, and Ruby completed 4-of-6 passes for 60 yards alongside 97 rushing yards and a
touchdown on 11 carries.
The Panthers will try and bounce back next week, hosting Adena, while Paint Valley travels to Westfall, attempting to
“Every week is a championship week. Just one week at a time,” Mettler said. “We’ll celebrate the win tonight but as
soon as tomorrow hits, we’re focused on Westfall.”
|Unioto’s Jamarcus Carroll staring adversity in the face … again
|Thank you Miranda Rinehart for the pictures for this article
CHILLICOTHE — A “snap” and a “pop.” When those two sounds vibrated Jamarcus Carroll’s eardrums, the junior
running back immediately knew their impact.
Needing 20-plus yards to get a first down and further preserve Unioto’s lead in the fourth quarter at Paint Valley on
Sept. 28, Carroll scrambled past the first down marker.
The chains had moved, the clock was ticking and all Carroll had to do was fall to the ground. But destiny provided a
“We were running a double-post play and I scrambled out and was running,” Carroll recalled. “A bunch of guys
started jumping on me and I tried to just go down. I went to plant my foot, a guy jumps on my back and my leg snaps
and it pops. I laid there and I tried to get up, but I couldn’t. When I tried to walk, my leg, it wouldn’t budge. So I knew
then I was out. I knew it was bad.”
So did his teammates.
“I don’t know exactly what the players felt but I think, partially, they were in shock,” Unioto assistant coach Bill Adkins
Unioto ended up falling to Paint Valley that night by a 26-21 final. But even more distressing news came after the final
whistle had blown.
Carroll’s injury was season-ending. He had torn both his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and lateral collateral
“Naturally, you feel devastated. That’s your first thing. You feel devastated for him because he’s had so much
success,” Unioto head coach Jeff Metzler said. “He has a gift that he’s able to … it’s instinctive. What he can see on
the field and how he’s able to change gears in certain situations when he’s running, plus he’s strong … it’s a gift. So
not only did I hate to see it happen to him, but naturally, our team. He’s special.”
“Special” is spot on. Heading into that fateful Friday night, Carroll had 1,094 yards rushing on 142 carries alongside
13 touchdowns. Before his injury in the fourth quarter, he had rushed for 235 yards and three more scores on 19
His 1,329 rushing yards still lead the conference — and he hasn’t played in two weeks.
“Knowing that I was having the season I was having made me cry more than the actual injury did,” Carroll said. “I knew
I was having a great season, going down in history when it happened.”
To put Carroll’s numbers into perspective, his rushing efforts through 5 ½ games would’ve led the conference in
three of the past six years. He was on pace to rush for 2,188 yards, which would’ve been the most since Adena
graduate Reid Hutchinson’s 2,340 in 2011.
Now, instead of looking for holes his offensive line has created, he’ll be focusing on a rehab stint. But if it gets him
back to normal, he’s all for it.
“If it gets me back to one-hundred percent, back to where I was, I’ll do anything it takes,” Carroll said. “Whether that’s
physical therapy or whatever, I’m going to make sure I’m back to doing what I was doing before I got hurt.”
It’s a determined mindset but coming from Carroll, not a surprising one. This isn’t the first time he’s dealt with
On Sept. 18, 2017, Carroll lost his father to an illness. Four days later, he played in Unioto’s 34-20 win over Zane
Trace … with wristbands that read “RIP Dad, 9/18/17.”
“I was thinking, ‘I’m going to go out here and do this for my dad.’ I remember they were trying to tell me when it
happened to take as much time off as I needed,” Carroll recalled. “But I knew my dad knew my love for football, so
he'd for sure want me out there. I knew I was dedicating that game to him and I did everything I could to make sure we
won that game.”
Before this fall started, Carroll dedicated his entire junior season to his father. When he suffered the injury, you can
guess the first thing that crossed his mind.
“This whole season, it was my first full football season without my dad,” Carroll said. “I wanted to do a lot for him this
year. So when I got hurt, it broke me. I couldn’t do anything anymore for him, and I know he’s watching over me. I
wanted to show him I could take this team somewhere far.”
He’ll certainly still have his chance.
As he noted, Carroll plans on being back to full health next season. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“If he comes back the way he was this year? Shew. Man. Just think … he had 1,300 yards in five games,” Metzler
said. “He was on the path of being the Offensive Player of the Year in multiple areas. League, district, state. He’s
positive, he’s focused. He’s always got a smile on his face and he knows what he has to do.”
For now, Carroll will focus on getting healthy and lifting up his teammates from the sidelines. After all the support
they gave him, in his mind, it’s the only option on the table.
“Those guys respect me a lot and it shows,” Carroll said. “I’ve had a lot of people come up to me, come to the house,
come to the hospital to make sure I was good. I told them, I said, ‘You guys are here for me. I’m definitely going to be
there for you guys.’”
Unioto is 5-3 overall with games against Huntington and Piketon remaining. The Shermans are currently positioned at
No. 6 in the Division IV, Region 15 playoffs.
While that’s a positive sign, it also means there’s zero margin for error without their star running back.
“I’m just letting my teammates know that I’m still here and that we still have a chance to go the playoffs. I can’t carry
the whole team,” Carroll said. “I was telling some of the guys that they have to pick it up because this is their senior
year. They should want it more than I even want it. I’m just a junior.”
If the Shermans are to qualify for the postseason, it’d mark the third straight year in which they’ve done so … it’s also
the third straight year Carroll has been on their roster.
Coincidence? Maybe not.
As Carroll continues his journey back to health, he offered some advice to those who may be going through similar
situations he’s had to deal with in his life.
“Definitely surround yourself with some good-hearted people that will bring you up and don’t get lost in your own
head,” he said. “I was definitely around good people … people who wanted to lift me up and make sure I wasn’t alone
in my head to think about that stuff.”
Even so, his dad’s voice still rings through his head … and Carroll knows what he’d tell him about life’s latest hurdle
he has to clear.
“He’d probably tell me what most people say … not to rush back,” he said with a smile on his face. “But he’d also tell
me to let it loose next year. It’s my senior year, the last year I’ll put on purple and gold. So he’d say let it loose.”
|DIFFERENT TEAM, SAME MINDSET
Tanks rolling into postseason with high hopes
|Thanks to Corby Free for the pictures
CHILLICOTHE — The taste of last year’s 1-0 Division II regional semifinal loss still tingles their taste buds, that feeling
of disappointment hasn’t gone by the wayside and the chance at redemption feels like the elephant in the room.
Needless to say, Unioto’s girls soccer team is ready to make another tournament run — only this time, the Shermans
intend to go deeper into the postseason.
Since that season-ending loss to Big Walnut last fall, coaches Cara Rathkamp and Kendra Dalton, and their 22 roster
members, have done nothing but work tirelessly in an effort to be even better than they were before.
So far, so good.
“Last year’s loss to Big Walnut was devastating but we’ve kept our heads up and worked harder since,” senior
defender Acacia Kauffman said. “This year, we’ve worked even harder and we’re determined to make it far. I believe
it’s all mental. If we believe we can do this, we can.”
The Shermans are certainly off to a good start.
They finished the regular season at 12-1-3, the loss being a 5-0 decision at the hands of New Albany. That loss,
alongside a 1-1 tie with Gahanna Lincoln and a 2-1 win over Fairfield Union, provided the plot of this year’s team story.
“I believe there were three turning points during the regular season,” Dalton said. “The tie against Gahanna Lincoln
left the girls in belief that they can play with the best competition, the New Albany loss humbled the team and the
Fairfield Union win gave the team momentum into the tournament.”
Those three games, however, aren’t the only reason why Unioto seems to be better prepared for a postseason run …
you could honestly look at its entire schedule.
When your non-conference slate features the likes of Marietta, Warren, Lancaster, Alexander, Buckeye Valley, etc.,
you simply have no choice but to get better.
How’s the saying go? You have to beat the best to be the best? Unioto has certainly done so. The Tanks’ non-
conference opponents have a combined record of 93-72-26.
“We have played quality teams who have delivered great competition, learning opportunities and have made us grow
and get better as a team,” Rathkamp said. “This is a group that has grown up playing soccer together. They have an
incredible bond with one another and they want to go to state.”
That all, of course, starts with senior Jayla Campbell … Unioto’s proverbial heart and soul. Campbell owns the Ross
County scoring record — which she’s now stretched to 103 goals — is the SVC Player of the Year, the reigning
District Player of the Year and has 18 goals this season.
Frankly, you can count the number of times on one hand during her career where she’s played in a game against a
player that’s as good as she is.
But don’t expect her to give herself that compliment.
“We all put everything we have into each game, it’s not just us seniors and a couple of other people. It’s all 22 people
and the coaches we have sitting on that bench,” Campbell said. “We are already above the level of play that we were
at this point last year. That’s what’s had me so excited to get here and go further.”
Campbell and Kauffman’s senior class could very well go down as the best in Unioto’s girls soccer history. In their four
years, the program has an overall record of 50-13-8.
And, as Campbell pointed out, Unioto has had 19 different players find the back of the net this season. Overall, the
team is out-scoring its opponents 72-20.
“I think our team has made a big mark for Unioto,” Kauffman said. “But every single girl on this team is a key player.
We’ve had lower classmen stepping up, making a big impact and it’s incredible to see that. We’ve worked hard as a
team and the fact that we’re a family makes it that much better.”
Nevertheless, every run must come to an end .. whether it’s an early loss or a state title.
“I don’t think it has really hit yet,” Campbell said. “I feel like that first game we get to when it’s close is when it’s going to
hit because if we don’t get it done, it’s over. I want to win a state championship and if any team can do that, it’s the
one I’m on now.”
But first things first … Unioto hosts Hillsboro in a Division II sectional final at 11 a.m., this Saturday. A win pits the
Tanks against Waverly or Athens in a district semifinal.
For now, they’re focused on the Indians.
“We focus on the task at hand,” Dalton said. “But we are always working towards the end goal. Coach Cara and I have
trained this team so they will peak at the correct time. The seniors and captains understand what they need to do in
order to stay focused.”