Tuesday, August 29th, 2017
Local grads look to help Polar Bears repeat in OAC
By Colin Foster
The goal is simple for the Ohio Northern volleyball team this season: Repeat as Ohio Athletic Conference champions.
The Polar Bears will have the help of some former local standouts.
Four athletes from the Midwest Athletic Conference - Madison Broering (St. Henry), Kristin Langston (Versailles), Paige Hartings (Coldwater) and Jordyn Heitbrink (Minster) - will suit up for ONU, which finished last season 27-4 and 9-0 in OAC play.
Broering, the MAC Player of the Year two seasons ago, was a letterwinner on last year's team. She will start at setter, taking over for second team All-American Ashley Borchers, a Russia alum. Broering, now a sophomore, had 87 assists and 51 digs in 20 sets last year.
Langston, also a sophomore, lettered last season and will be featured heavily in the defensive backcourt. As a freshman, Langston appeared in 15 matches, totaling 53 digs and nine assists.
Hartings and Heitbrink, both freshmen, will look to earn spots as hitters.
The season starts for the Polar Bears on Friday as they host the ONU Invitational, meeting Case Western at 2 p.m.
Gina Kramer (Marion Local) enters her senior year at Walsh. She is coming off a season in which she led the team in kills (331) and hitting percentage (.221), and had double-digit spikes in 19 matches.
The Cavaliers open the season at the Edinboro (Pa.) Tournament on Friday. Walsh was picked to finish second in the East Division of the G-MAC by conference coaches.
Alyssa Hoyng (Celina) is ready to open her freshman season with the Ohio Dominican Panthers, who will launch the season at a Friday tournament at Wayne State. The Panthers face Gannon in the opening game.
Trish Dennis (Celina) and the Rio Grande Red Storm were picked to finish fifth overall and second in the East Division of the River States Conference.
The Red Storm played in the Volley in the Mountings at Montreat, N.C. over the weekend, finishing 1-3. Dennis totaled 14 kills.
Brody Hoying (Coldwater) enters his redshirt sophomore year with the Eastern Michigan Eagles and will be relied upon heavily in the secondary. Hoying and the Eagles are coming off a 7-6 record and an appearance in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. They open the season on Friday, hosting Charlotte at 6:30 p.m. The game can be viewed on ESPN3.
Hoying appeared in all 13 games last season and made 25 tackles.
The Wolf brothers, Ethan and Eli, will open the season in prime time when Tennessee meets Georgia Tech at 8 p.m. on ESPN's college edition of Monday Night Football.
The brothers from Minster recently received national attention when Tennessee head coach Butch Jones presented Eli with a scholarship during the "Circle of Life" drill against his brother Ethan. The brothers appeared together in an interview on SportsCenter.
Ethan is entering his senior season with the Volunteers. He has had 20-plus catches in each of his last three seasons. Last fall, he posted 21 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns.
Eli is a redshirt sophomore. He made his debut last season on Sept. 1 against Appalachian State and on Nov. 5, Eli recorded his first catch during a game with Tennessee Tech.
Wes Hegemann (Minster) and the Dayton Flyers are set to open the season on Saturday at noon, hosting Robert Morris.
Hegemann started all 11 games last season at offensive guard. Dayton went 9-2 overall and 7-1 in the Pioneer League, good for second place.
Ashland, ranked 18th in the preseason D2Football.com poll, was picked to finish third in the GLIAC this season. The Eagles kick off the season at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Indiana (Pa.).
Wes Wenning (Fort Recovery) saw time in three games at wide receiver last season for Ashland.
Jordon Harlamert (Coldwater) and the Hillsdale College Chargers travel to Mercyhurst for a noon showdown on Saturday.
As a junior, the 6-foot-1, 281-pound Harlamert started every game on the defensive line. He had 33 tackles, 3 1/2 tackles for loss and was named the team's Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 17. Hillsdale was picked to place second in the G-MAC.
Adam Bertke (Marion Local) is opening the season as backup quarterback for the Findlay Oilers, who open the season at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Tiffin.
In front of Bertke on the depth chart is Rhys Gervais, who owns nearly every Oiler passing record. Last offseason, Bertke transferred from Pittsburgh to Findlay. The Oilers are competing in the inaugural season of G-MAC and were picked to finish third.
Matt Patten (St. Marys) is expected to compete for playing time as a true freshman for the Gannon Golden Knights, who begin the campaign with Southern Connecticut State on Saturday at noon.
Last season, Gannon finished 5-6 overall and 1-6 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division play.
Patten's former teammate, Julius Fisher, will suit up at defensive back for Mount St. Joseph, which opens the season at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Capital.
Mount was picked to finish fourth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference after having finished last year 6-4 and 6-2 in conference play.
Greg Gilliland (Coldwater) and Ball State open the season in Champaign, Ill., on Saturday, facing the Fighting Illini.
Gilliland, a redshirt sophomore, is the team's long snapper.
Sarah Kanney (Coldwater) makes her junior season debut for Ohio State on Saturday when the Buckeyes travel to Bloomington, Indiana. Two weeks later, the Buckeyes travel to the Commodore Classic in Nashville. Last season, Kanny was the top finisher for Ohio State at four of the six meets and earned second team All-Big Ten honors with a 13th-place finish at the Big Ten meet.
Jon Wenning (Coldwater) is back for the Bowling Green Falcons, who host the season-opening Mel Brodt Invite on Saturday. Wenning was one of the Falcons' top runners last season and was also awarded All-MAC academic honors.
Spencer Schulze (St. Henry) is a key runner for Ohio Northern, which journeys to the Bluffton 5K Invite on Friday. The Polar Bears were picked to finish second in the Ohio Athletic Conference preseason poll. Schulze, entering his junior season, was named second team All-OAC in 2016.
Braden Conn (Celina) and St. Francis begin the season on Thursday, hosting Judson University (Ill.). The Cougars went 4-12-2 last season and 1-8-0 in the Crossroads League. Conn started six games and racked up the most minutes in goal. He gave up 2.87 goals per game with 46 saves and a 1-1-0 record.