The top-seeded Hartley High School volleyball team won its fourth consecutive district title, beating seventh-seeded DeSales 25-22, 25-15, 25-21 on Saturday in a Division II district final at Pickerington North.
Hartley also beat DeSAles 25-12, 25-13, 25-15 on Sept. 18 and 25-16, 21-25, 25-16, 25-18 on Oct. 7 in CCL play.
"Our kids know their kids and it's scary playing an opponent you're familiar with like that as opposed to some other team," Hartley coach Max Miller said. "We told the kids that too, that it was our (match) to lose. Fortunately they played us really tough at their place and that really helped us focus."
"Hartley's a good team and they came to play today. We weren't as ready to play today as I had hoped we'd be," DeSales coach Erin Scott said. "The first game, I thought we played really well, but unfortunately our skill level kind of tapered off a bit as the match went on. But I've got to give Hartley credit, they're a great team and I hope they do well the rest of the tournament."
The first game went back and forth, with DeSales taking 9-8 and 14-13 leads. Hartley took over after the teams were tied at 19 and the Hawks went on to win five of the next eight points.
The Stallions couldn't have started the second game much worse as they spotted Hartley a 7-0 lead. The Hawks were boosted by the play of outside hitter Lauren Hugh, middle hitter Allison Hagans and libero Abby Weisenberger. DeSales slowly started to chip away at that lead but it ultimately proved too much for them to overcome as Hartley took the second game.
DeSales looked a lot better in the third game as the Stallions were within one point of the Hawks in the beginning and were tied at seven. The Hawks started to pull away, winning eight of the next 12 points. Trailing 21-17, Scott called for a timeout after which the Stallions began to rally. DeSales pulled the score to 22-21 before Hartley won the next three points to win the match.
"To have a class like our seniors who have won a district championship every year in school is pretty special to them," Miller said. "Big Walnut has won eight of the last nine years so they're on top. They're the premier Division II team and we're trying to stay with them. I feel like if we continue to play at a consistent level like we have, we could meet (Big Walnut) in the regional semifinals."
Hartley advanced to a regional semifinal Wednesday at Newark.