Jill Quayle and her Xavier University teammates competed in the NCAA volleyball tournament five years ago.
Now, at age 26, Quayle is preparing her Wadsworth High School volleyball team to play Chagrin Falls Kenston in a Division I regional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hudson.
Quayle has guided the Grizzlies (23-2, 14-0) to a memorable season that so far includes a Suburban League championship, and sectional and district titles at Barberton.
“This team is really good at focusing and overcoming adversity,” said Quayle, who is a seventh grade language arts teacher at Wadsworth Middle School.
“They do the little things well. When we start to get down they can really come together and turn it around. As a coach, you hope they don’t get down, but in the game of volleyball it happens. They are really good at coming back and adjusting to what other teams are doing.”
Quayle found success as a player at North Royalton High School and Xavier. She earned Player of the Year honors in 2003 in the Pioneer Conference in high school and in 2007 in the Atlantic 10 Conference as a college athlete.
She transitioned from player to coach after graduating in 2008 from Xavier. That fall, she guided Highland to a 15-9 overall record and then served as the junior varsity coach at her alma mater, North Royalton, in 2009.
The past three years, she’s led Wadsworth with support from her father, Bill, an assistant coach, and her mother, Joan, who helps with youth camps.
Senior Rachel Goddard is steady at libero for Wadsworth. Seniors Haley Beavers and Haley Hassinger also are key to the Grizzlies’ attack with juniors Peyton Booth, Ciera Koons and Madison Gilger and freshman Jodi Johnson.
Quayle said juniors Erin Zita and Andrea Beavers are the Grizzlies’ top reserves.
Kenston (18-7, 10-0) is a formidable opponent after winning the Chagrin Valley Conference championship and sectional and district titles at Solon.
Other Thursday matches
Walsh Jesuit, Jackson and Brunswick each won Division I district titles to advance to regional play.
Walsh (18-7) will meet Willoughby South (18-6) in a regional semifinal at 6 p.m. Thursday at Hudson.
Coach Missy Sturm relies on junior setter Kyra Coundourides to run the Warriors’ offense. Seniors Mary Grace Kelly, Nicole Onderko and Annie Osterfeld are solid hitters.
Jackson (25-1) features senior hitter Paige Hill and senior setter Kristin Cardwell going into its matchup with Dublin Coffman at 6 p.m. Thursday at Hilliard Davidson.
Polar Bears coach Jeff Walck also can count on senior Laura Kelly, junior Rachel Seifert, senior Maddy Busch, sophomore Stephanie Spencer, freshman Brooke Bailey and junior Jen Slogar.
Brunswick (18-7) will face Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division rival North Royalton (21-4) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Brecksville.
Coach Mande Pyzik has the Blue Devils in the regionals for the first time since 1983.
The Blue Devils feature libero Paige Elias and 6-foot-4 middle hitter Gabbie Bulic, a University of Michigan recruit.
Ally Badowski, Morgan Ritchie, Alex Fuldauer, Erin Anderson, Allison Evans, Gina Yurik and Megan Anderson are other players to watch for Brunswick.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.