Division II in volleyball features a ton of talent. Not only in the entire state, but just the Northeast district. Plenty of teams with state championship pedigrees fill the district brackets. That being said Girard was voted by those coaches as the overall number 1 seed. The Indians have to go and earn if of course, but that’s a big sign of respect to a Girard team that seems to be striding at the right time. This is your best spot to get the low down on the entire district and what our YSN teams should expect.
Lets start with the overall number one seed Girard. The Indians will once again be in the Jefferson district. They got to this district championship last season but fell short. The next highest seed in the district is the second seeded Marlington Dukes. The Dukes had an opportunity to head up their own district but chose to go after Girard and let Notre Dame Cathedral Latin be a top seed in Streetsboro. It’s an interesting decision, and one that might bode well for Girard. It made NDCL’s decision to go away from Girard’s district easy. If Marlington took the Streetsboro district, maybe powerhouse NDCL slides with Girard.
The Dukes present a solid threat to Girard’s run as well there’s no doubt about that. Marlington is 17-3 on the season and are coming off an EBC Championship. The Dukes carry 4 players with more than 100 kills, but they are without a doubt led by sophomore Lauren Graffice who has baffled opponents this season and racked up 247 kills. Their setter Jenelle Swisher is a big reason why they have 4 hitters with over 100 kills. She has 494 assists at the moment.
Aurora is a team to keep an eye on as well for Girard. The Green machine has moved from Division I to Division II and they have given the bigger teams on YSN’s wall problems. They are used to high level volleyball. Their 13-6 on the season and have a couple of big wins over big teams. They are led by junior Brooke Gecina with over 180 kills. Gecina is a all round volleyball player that plays club for the Ignite program. If numbers went chalk Girard would meet Aurora in the district semifinal.
Other YSN teams that are in this district are #7 Howland (15-6) #11 Ursuline (13-6) #13 Edgewood (11-7) #21 Struthers (5-14) #23 Niles (3-16) #25 Chaney (0-13) #26 East (3-14).
YSN has four teams that went into the Streetsboro district to try their luck with NDCL. The highest seed in the YSN family in the Streetsboro district is the 5 seed Jefferson. The Falcons might be the biggest surprise out of the season. They lost a very good senior class, including Taylor Skinner who statistically was the NE8’s best blocker a season ago. They just have one senior on the team in Remi Ryan, but she’s one of the best leaders you can ask for, and her coaches would attest to that. Ryan and Chloe O’Rourke have gotten together for a combined 506 kills. Their setter Helaina Edgar is a special talent that spreads the ball around. She had 48 assists in Jefferson’s win over the district’s 1 seed Girard. That win proves when they’re on, Jefferson can beat anybody.
West Branch is the 6 seed right behind Jefferson. The Warriors sit at 15-5. They definitely have the hitters to contend. Claire Brunner, Mikayln Fitts, and Olivia Showalter all put in great work with Hannah Rush. Rush is their setter that is a member of the 1000 assists club. Their biggest asset though might be their defense. Ragan Greeneisen leads a great back row that makes life easy for a setter at the caliber that Rush is at. Don’t sleep on West Branch in this bracket.
Canfield is now loving life in Division II their tough schedule garnered some respect and they earned a 8 seed. Their senior leadership will carry them in tournament games. Parker Wilkins in my opinion is the best libero in the area. She gets the ball where it needs to go. That helps Canfield’s offense because their biggest weapon might be their middle Abby Muckleroy. To set middle blockers you got have good passing, and Canfield definitely does. They can also go outside to hitters like Maddy Cleevely who has 138 kills on the season. Riley Kinkade has 1000 assists in her career for a reason. She gets the ball to the right places. Canfield has been begging to be out of Division I for a while, now it’s time for the Cardinals to show up.
Salem also finds themselves in this district. They are 4-14 on the season and will open their district tournament against EBC rival West Branch. Both districts get started with games on October 18th.
Obviously NDCL will be the favorite in the bracket as the 3 seed. Last season NDCL won the district championship before losing to Lake Center in the regionals. Caroline Jurevicious is without a doubt the Lions leader. She’s one of the best players in Northeast Ohio, maybe one of the best in the state. She is committed to play at the next level at Nebraska which is a volleyball powerhouse in the Big 10. She has 272 kills on the season to this point. They’ll be a tough beat, but outside of Jurevicious, the Lions don’t have anyone with more than 100 kills to this point.