The Delaware Hayes High School girls volleyball team has been showing improvement in recent contests.
The Pacers lost eight of their first 10 matches but had won two of their last three matches before competing in the Sherril Appelfeller Classic on Sept. 22 at Marion Elgin.
"Even in some of our recent losses, we've been more competitive," coach Josh Lee said. "I think in the past few weeks we've been moving in the right direction, toward the team we wanted to be this season. I'm hoping we continue to move that way."
Delaware defeated Franklin Heights 25-7, 25-9, 25-15 on Sept. 13, lost to Olentangy 25-10, 25-21, 23-25, 25-14 on Sept. 18 and beat Watkins Memorial 25-21, 25-20, 25-22 on Sept. 19 to improve to 4-9 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Capital Division.
"We fought hard against Olentangy, which has a good program," Lee said. "That's one thing which we seem to lack at times. Without a true standout, we seem to get tentative at times. That fight has been missing.
"We have players with a lot of skill and ability to compete, but we don't have that one big hitter, so we're inconsistent. We're not taking advantage of the free balls because we lack communication and focus."
Against Olentangy, middle hitters Rachel Howser and Krysta Iwanek and outside hitter Sarah Scott each had seven kills. Iwanek and Scott also had 14 and 12 digs, respectively. Libero Jen Foreman led the Pacers with 22 digs.
"I am very pleased right now because I think the girls have decided not to write the season off and are starting to put things together," Lee said. "Our first-year setter, Ivy Hankins, is learning her teammates and learning and embracing her role. She continues to get better and is getting into the flow."
Football team looking to be more consistent
The football team continues to search for consistency.
That is especially the case on defense, as the Pacers were allowing an average of 42.5 points through four games.
"We are making critical errors on defense that are allowing huge plays and that's something we've got to cut way back on to be successful," coach Zeb Shroeder said.
Delaware was 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Capital before playing Big Walnut on Sept. 21 at home. The Pacers, who lost 56-28 to Watkins Memorial in their league opener Sept. 14, will play host to New Albany in a league contest Friday, Sept. 28.
New Albany lost its first two games, falling 10-9 to Reynoldsburg on Aug. 24 and 23-20 in overtime to Westerville Central on Aug. 31, but had won its next two before playing Franklin Heights on Sept. 21.
The Eagles' offense awakened in a 56-22 win over DeSales on Sept. 7 and continued to roll in a 53-33 win over Olentangy Orange on Sept. 14.
"They have one of the best quarterbacks we'll see all season in Darron Lee," Schroeder said. "We have to get our defense straightened out or it'll be a long night."
An Ohio State recruit, Lee leads a productive offense that also includes running backs Leslie Anokye and Alan Watson, wide receivers Carson Tunney and Joe Siegenthaler and linemen David Stambaugh (6-foot, 280 pounds) and Mitchell Van Straten (6-4, 190).
The Eagles' defense is led by linemen Cameron Horch (6-0, 280) and Matt Smith (6-2, 240) and linebackers Keith Emerson and Dellon Collins.
Against Orange, Lee ran for 136 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries and threw for 93 yards and two touchdowns on 3-for-6 passing and Anokye rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
The Eagles led Orange 40-3 at halftime.
"They have some phenomenal players," Schroeder said. "They have a lot of talented, skilled players and they combine that with (playing) hard-nosed football. Coach (Mark) Mueller runs a great program. They're very precise and disciplined in everything they do."
The Pacers scored on their first possession against Watkins Memorial to tie the game at 7 and were driving again when they fumbled in Warriors territory. Watkins Memorial converted the turnover into a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.
"That was a 14-point swing and an emotional turnaround," Schroeder said. "I think our kids went, 'Oh no, here we go again.' By the time we decided we wanted to bounce back, we were too far behind. We spotted them too much and, with 15 underclassmen starting in a program where we haven't had much sustained success, it's tough.
"But I was happy with the effort. That was the most physical we've been on both sides of the football. We had more tackles-for-loss and no-yardage plays than we've had all season. Problem is, it was all or nothing. We'd follow that with a missed assignment and allow a huge play. I was very encouraged with the play of James Wegmiller and Stone Banks-Herrell at ends and nose guard Michael Duffy."
Running back Cody Wooten scored two touchdowns against Watkins Memorial on runs of 1 and 2 yards.
Boys golf team finishes OCC play
The boys golf team shot a 361 in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Capital tournament Sept. 19 at Granville Golf Course to place seventh, behind New Albany (313), Mount Vernon (333), Olentangy (336), Big Walnut (340), Olentangy Orange (344) and Watkins Memorial (350) and ahead of Franklin Heights (no team score).
The Pacers finished 4-24 in the overall league standings, placing seventh behind New Albany (28-0), Mount Vernon (20-8), Olentangy (20-8), Orange (18-10), Big Walnut (13-15) and Watkins Memorial (9-19) and ahead of Franklin Heights (0-28).
Grant Godfrey made second-team all-league, averaging 79.8 strokes over four rounds. He was medalist in the third round Sept. 11 at The Players Club at Foxfire with a 76, which according to coach Mike Nesselroad represents the program record for the course.
The Pacers finished seventh (384) in the third round behind first-place New Albany (313).