With six players 6-foot or taller on each of their rosters, the Dublin Coffman and Olentangy high school girls volleyball teams have used their height to dominate opponents at the net.

With six players 6-foot or taller on each of their rosters, the Dublin Coffman and Olentangy high school girls volleyball teams have used their height to dominate opponents at the net.
The top-seeded Shamrocks defeated Newark 25-8, 25-20, 25-20 last Saturday in a Division I district final to win their second consecutive district title, earn their 15th consecutive victory and improve to 25-1. They had defeated Lancaster 25-17, 25-15, 25-12 in a district semifinal four days earlier.


The third-seeded Braves beat second-seeded Pickerington North 25-19, 25-27, 29-27, 25-15 last Saturday in a Division I district final to win their first district title in 10 years, earn their 19 consecutive victory and improve to 23-2.


But when Coffman and Olentangy meet in a regional semifinal today at Hilliard Davidson, neither will have a distinctive height advantage for the first time this season.
"Everyone has been calling this the battle of the giants because we're two of the tallest high school teams in the state," Coffman opposite hitter Lauren Bell said.
"Physically, it's going to be like looking in a mirror because we both have a bunch of 6-footers," Olentangy coach Michelle Mimna said. "We haven't seen another team that has the same size as us this season, and (Coffman coach Mary Anne Souder) told me they haven't played a team that matches up with their size, either. We've got two of the tallest and best teams in the state, and it's going to come down to who is more consistent on that night."


Olentangy features plenty of experienced, tall players, including senior middle hitters Kristen Farris (6-2) and Lauren Grover (6-2), senior outside hitters Amanda Halls (6-1) and Madelyn Ervin (6-0), senior opposite hitter Dani Dikeman (6-0) and sophomore opposite hitter Sarah Dikeman (6-0).


Coffman junior outside hitter Andrea Baylin said the Shamrocks will need to hit the ball around Olentangy's block, rather than over it. The Shamrocks' top offensive players are middle hitters Carly Weisenbach (6-3) and Bailey Farthing (6-1), outside hitters Baylin (6-1) and Alex Blair (6-2) and opposite hitters Bell (6-0) and Meredith Stranges (6-1).


"They've got huge players, so we'll need to pick smart shots and hit around their block," Baylin said. "We'll need to see where they're positioned and hit it to open areas of the floor."


Mimna said setter Morgan Irwin will have to do a good job of spreading the ball around to keep the Shamrocks' defense off balance.


"Typically, we have four different girls get eight kills or more per match, so we're not a one-woman show," Mimna said.

"We've got to keep that up against Coffman."

Coffman's defense proved to be its downfall last year when it lost to Watterson 25-18, 25-23, 25-16 in a regional semifinal.

But Bell said the Shamrocks' defense, led by Kelli Axner and Megan Albers, should give them an edge against Olentangy.

"They have a lot of great players, but they're not as well-rounded as we are," Bell said. "Our defense will need to take it to another level, because they have great hitters, but I think our defense will make the difference for us."

Senior libero Kristin Hargrove said the Braves' defensive players are eager to try to tip the scales in favor of their team. Riley Galant, Halls (who plays all-around) and Hargrove are Olentangy's top backrow players.

"I think our defense is very underrated because of the height of our front row," said Hargrove, whose squad lost to Watterson 25-19, 25-20, 25-10 in a district semifinal a year ago. "When we play our best, I think our defense is just as good or better than Dublin Coffman's defense."

The winner will play Cincinnati Ursuline or Marysville in the final Saturday at Davidson. The winner of that will play in a state semifinal Nov. 6 at Wright State. The state final will be Nov. 8.

Ursuline, which is led by junior setter Dani Reinert, senior middle hitter Katie Schings, junior outside hitter Jade Henderson and sophomore libero Kori Moster, beat Butler 25-10, 25-14, 25-18 last Saturday to improve to 25-0.

Marysville, which is led by outside hitter Hannah McShea, upset Watterson 20-25, 15-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-12 last Saturday to improve to 22-4.

"Hannah McShea is one of the best overall players around," Bell said. "They have some other good players, too, but Marysville's mostly a one-person show. We have a lot of depth and that could give us an advantage if we play them."

If the teams meet, Ursuline coach Jeni Case said Reinert will need to run a fast offense to beat the Shamrocks' block.

"Whether we face Dublin Coffman or Olentangy, they'll have a size advantage so we'll have to get them off their game with a quick offense," Case said. "Our strength is ball control, so we'll look to make quick, accurate passes, so we can hit around the blocks or tip over the block to open spots."

Baylin said her team would need to put up a big block quickly to beat Ursuline.

"Our blocking will have to get better for us to win our regional, because sometimes it gets tooled off of," Baylin said. "The key is our hands need to be turned inside, so the ball goes backward and stays on their side of the court."By AARON BLANKENSHIP

With six players 6-foot or taller on each of their rosters, the Dublin Coffman and Olentangy high school girls volleyball teams have used their height to dominate opponents at the net.

The top-seeded Shamrocks defeated Newark 25-8, 25-20, 25-20 last Saturday in a Division I district final to win their second consecutive district title, earn their 15th consecutive victory and improve to 25-1. They had defeated Lancaster 25-17, 25-15, 25-12 in a district semifinal four days earlier.

The third-seeded Braves beat second-seeded Pickerington North 25-19, 25-27, 29-27, 25-15 last Saturday in a Division I district final to win their first district title in 10 years, earn their 19 consecutive victory and improve to 23-2.

But when Coffman and Olentangy meet in a regional semifinal today at Hilliard Davidson, neither will have a distinctive height advantage for the first time this season.

"Everyone has been calling this the battle of the giants because we're two of the tallest high school teams in the state," Coffman opposite hitter Lauren Bell said.

"Physically, it's going to be like looking in a mirror because we both have a bunch of 6-footers," Olentangy coach Michelle Mimna said. "We haven't seen another team that has the same size as us this season, and (Coffman coach Mary Anne Souder) told me they haven't played a team that matches up with their size, either. We've got two of the tallest and best teams in the state, and it's going to come down to who is more consistent on that night."

Olentangy features plenty of experienced, tall players, including senior middle hitters Kristen Farris (6-2) and Lauren Grover (6-2), senior outside hitters Amanda Halls (6-1) and Madelyn Ervin (6-0), senior opposite hitter Dani Dikeman (6-0) and sophomore opposite hitter Sarah Dikeman (6-0).

Coffman junior outside hitter Andrea Baylin said the Shamrocks will need to hit the ball around Olentangy's block, rather than over it. The Shamrocks' top offensive players are middle hitters Carly Weisenbach (6-3) and Bailey Farthing (6-1), outside hitters Baylin (6-1) and Alex Blair (6-2) and opposite hitters Bell (6-0) and Meredith Stranges (6-1).

"They've got huge players, so we'll need to pick smart shots and hit around their block," Baylin said. "We'll need to see where they're positioned and hit it to open areas of the floor."

Mimna said setter Morgan Irwin will have to do a good job of spreading the ball around to keep the Shamrocks' defense off balance.