After a long wait, the Delaware Hayes High School boys volleyball team is expecting to be seasoned and experienced next season.

After a long wait, the Delaware Hayes High School boys volleyball team is expecting to be seasoned and experienced next season.

The Pacers began last season with one senior and finished 5-20. This season, Delaware did not have a senior, but the Pacers stepped up to post an 11-13 record. They finished fourth at 2-6 in the OCC-Ohio Division behind Mount Vernon (8-0), Pickerington North (6-2) and Gahanna (4-4) and ahead of Pickerington Central (0-8).

"We more than doubled our win total with virtually the same team," said coach Gregg Snouffer, whose team lost to fourth-seeded Hilliard Darby 25-13, 25-12, 25-18 in the first round of the East Region tournament at home May 16. "Some of these teams have all club volleyball players, but that's not our situation. However, I really proud of these guys and I'm very excited for next season.

"We'll have experience back because we had no seniors. Many of these guys have had to learn on the varsity level rather than learning on the junior varsity level because of our situation. So they've taken their lumps, but they've also grown together and have improved so much. I think there won't be as much explanation next year and we can get right to work. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they work over the summer and what type of season we could put together next year."

The Pacers lost their first three matches before going 2-1 in the Wolf Open at Worthington Kilbourne on April 17-18. They lost the silver division championship to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 25-11, 25-12, 25-16.

Delaware then won its next three to improve to 5-4 with a 25-19, 25-18, 25-23 league win over Central on April 21, putting the Pacers over .500 for the only time all season.

"We go to the point we could run multiple offenses," Snouffer said. "We ran a 6-2 a 5-1 and a combination. The great thing was by the end of the season, we were shifting offenses in the middle of games. We got the quick offense going with our middle hitters, Josh Hunt and Justin Kerby and Chris Hemans did a great job at setter for us."

Hemans, a sophomore, was honorable mention all-league and honorable-mention all-East Region.

Hunt and Kerby are two of the four juniors who finished the season with the Pacers. Nick Kaser (outside hitter) and Daniel Lloyd (middle hitter) are the other two.

Joining Hemans as expected returnees from the sophomore class are Jamey Hackett (opposite hitter), Connor Holliday (setter), Jon Hunt (outside hitter), Devon McKenzie (libero) and Josh Trippier (opposite hitter/setter). Freshmen expected to return include Alex Carpenter (middle hitter), Sebastion Carter (middle hitter), Mike Herrell (outside hitter), Jeremy Hunt (outside hitter) and Shane Shavon (outside hitter).

"Like every team, we have some weaknesses to work on," Snouffer said. "We don't have much height, which we can't fix. But we can develop better back-row coverage. Other than that, I was real pleased with the level of our offense and defense. McKenzie was digging really well and finished with over 100 digs.

"Hopefully, these guys can play in summer leagues. We've got some who want to play club in the fall. We need them in camps and competing. We're looking at all those opportunities as a chance to rub elbows, learn and compete against some of the best talent in the area and in the state. We'll have higher expectations next season for sure."

At a glance

•Records: 11-13 overall, 2-6 (fourth) in OCC-Ohio

•Seniors lost: None

•Key returnees: Jamey Hackett, Chris Hemans, Jon Hunt, Josh Hunt, Nick Kaser, Justin Kerby, Daniel Lloyd and Devon McKenzie