The Delaware Hayes High School boys tennis team will be playing for third or fourth place in the OCC-Capital Division during the league tournament Saturday, May 5, at Olentangy Orange.

The Delaware Hayes High School boys tennis team will be playing for third or fourth place in the OCC-Capital Division during the league tournament Saturday, May 5, at Olentangy Orange.

The Pacers entered the final week of league play with only one loss, but then fell to first-place New Albany 5-0 on April 24.

"New Albany is by far the top team in the league and Big Walnut is second with Orange fairly close behind," Delaware coach Dan Morrison said. "Third is the best we can hope for, but I don't think we can finish below fourth.

"Our goals were to have a winning season and a winning record in our league and we have assured ourselves of the latter. Plus, we have a real chance to finish above .500 (overall)."

The Pacers' chances for a better finish took a hit when sophomore John Homan suffered a triceps injury in mid-April. The team's No. 2-singles player tried to return after the initial injury, but according to Morrison, doctors told Homan it could be a recurring injury unless he took six to eight weeks to rest.

"He's our second-best player, so obviously our team has been diminished somewhat," Morrison said. "We've been creative with the lineup and thankfully we have some pretty good depth. We could've used John in some of our 50-50 matches like against Orange."

In a 4-1 win over Caledonia River Valley on April 23, senior Nick Tanuredjo won 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 at first singles, senior Josh Byerly lost 6-3, 7-5 at second singles and sophomore Colton Richard won 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 at third singles.

"Tanuredjo continues to have an excellent season at first singles," Morrison said. "Colton Richard played intelligently in extremely windy conditions to win his first varsity singles match after he trailed 4-1 in the first set."

Last season, Delaware finished fourth in the final standings after the league tournament. It totaled 31 points and went 3-3 in league duals after its match against Hilliard Bradley was canceled.

New Albany (76 points, 7-0), Orange (52, 6-1) and Big Walnut (39, 5-2) took the top three spots. Bradley (24, 2-4), Watkins Memorial (22, 2-5), Franklin Heights (7, 1-6) and Mount Vernon (6, 1-6) rounded out the standings.

Tanuredjo was runner-up at third singles last year. Justin Rike, a 2011 graduate, was runner-up at second singles.

New Albany has won league titles every year since joining the OCC-Capital in 2007. In fact, the Eagles improved to 34-0 in league duals since then with the win over Delaware.

Uneven season for volleyball team

Inconsistency has plagued the boys volleyball team this season.

"It's been a roller coaster," coach Josh Lee said. "On random nights, we'll play very well and the next night we'll look like a completely different team. Even from game to game, we'll see that. We'll be playing well and then boom. I guess that's what you get when you have a lot of young inexperienced leaders."

The Pacers close the regular season this week with four home matches. They play OCC-Central matches Tuesday, May 1, against Bradley and Thursday, May 3, against Pickerington North. Between those matches, Delaware plays a non-league match against Dublin Coffman.

The regular-season finale is the Cinco De Mayo Spike Down on Saturday, May 5. The field also includes Upper Arlington, Westerville Central and Westerville South.

"We're hoping to finish strong because this has been a learning year for all of us," Lee said. "The kids aren't used to my philosophies, so we've spent a great deal of time trying to get on the same page. Realistically, to get the program to where I want it to be, it could take some time. I love the kids, but we've got a long way to go as a program."

That's not to say there haven't been bright spots.

"Sam Spivey is a senior first-year player who has stepped up and done a great job as our setter," Lee said. "We knew Alex Carpenter would have to be our offensive and defensive backbone and he has been. He's carried the weight and done a fabulous job, but like any other sport, it takes more than a few guys.

"Another surprise has been junior Austin McKenzie. He started on the j.v. level, but through his effort, level of play, work ethic and intensity, he moved up and has done great."