Bellbrook learns from its opening losses

A couple of season-opening setbacks were all the Bellbrook High School girls volleyball team needed to jump-start its season.

Bellbrook was a Division II district finalist last season, the first under head coach and former Bellbrook volleyball and basketball standout Lynzee Johnson. But high expectations for this season were quickly doused when unbeaten Troy and host Tecumseh beat Bellbrook in a tri-match.

The Golden Eagles haven’t been the same since.

“We always play ‘up’ the first two games,” said heralded 5-foot-10-inch sophomore setter and outside hitter Abby Crotty.

“Those were two really good teams. We knew we’d have trouble with them because they’re just so powerful. But it made us stronger. We became more focused.”

Bellbrook (7-2) hasn’t lost since opening day. It’ll take a seven-game win streak into today’s Southwestern Buckeye League Southwest Division showdown at Monroe (9-2). Monroe (5-0) holds a half-game lead over Bellbrook (4-0) in the division.

At 6-3, junior Gabby Ozoude gives Bellbrook a height advantage in most matches. Senior Hannah Scott, sophomore Kaitlyn Urbaniak, senior Emily Witker and Crotty all are 5-10.

A five-game win at Eaton (8-4) was a turning point in Bellbrook’s season.

“We’re young. … This team is very light-hearted,” Johnson said. “They don’t take anything too seriously. They play and have fun. That’s one of our strengths.”

Johnson played basketball at Marist College and landed at Chaminade Julienne in her first teaching/coaching position. She remains a JV girls basketball coach at Bellbrook.

Volleyball assistant Ann Galle worked with Johnson on middle school volleyball at Belbrook for three seasons. The women help oversee summer training between both the volleyball and basketball teams along with girls hoop coach Jason Tincher.

Like always, breaking through Alter and Chaminade Julienne and the powerful Cincinnati D-II teams is the postseason goal.

“If we keep getting stronger, we’ll obviously improve,” Crotty said. “We’ve already improved so much from the first game. If we keep working on the little things, we’ll eventually get to where we’re supposed to be.”

Monroe will make a return trip to Bellbrook on Sept. 30.

  • Some of the area's other strong teams are Troy (11-0) and Verailles (7-0). Miamisburg (11-2) is the best in the Greater Western Ohio Conference South Division. The Midwest Athletic Conference had Versailles (7-0), St. Henry (7-1) and Coldwater (10-2).
  • Troy is at Versailles on Saturday in what could be a battle of unbeaten powers. Both have prior matches.