The Battle of Dublin proved to be the low point of the season for the Dublin Coffman High School boys volleyball team a year ago.
Not only did the Shamrocks go 0-2 in the event, but their loss to Jerome turned out to be the Celtics' only win in 20 matches.
On May 2, host Coffman redeemed itself, beating two-time defending champion Scioto and Jerome to win the Battle of Dublin for the fifth time. The Shamrocks also won the title in 2005 -- the inaugural year of the event -- and won three consecutive titles from 2009-11.
"We wanted redemption so badly for what happened here last year," junior opposite hitter Joel Sotos said. "It's always a lot of fun battling the other Dublin teams and it means a lot to us that we were able to get this trophy back by winning it on our home court."
The Shamrocks opened with a 25-20, 25-22 victory over Scioto before defeating Jerome 25-17, 25-10.
"These victories all started with our passing," assistant coach Shane Farrell said. "We have two of the best middle hitters in the area in Matt Fries (6-foot-5) and Jack Weisenbach (6-10), and they hit the ball really well when we pass and serve the ball well to them."
Coffman continued its winning ways May 3, defeating Whetstone 25-13, 25-8, Thomas Worthington 25-8, 25-6 and Pickerington Central 25-16, 25-9 to extend its winning streak to six matches.
The Shamrocks were 14-7 overall before playing Licking Heights on May 5 and finished 6-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
"We have a lot of height and talent and we're jelling as a team," coach Mark Saelzler said. "Michael Kim has run our 5-1 offense well, which has allowed Joel Sotos to move from setter to opposite (hitter), where he is swinging really well. Our libero, Cory Mills, has really helped us pick it up on defense, too."
The Division I East Region tournament draw was held May 5. Last year, the Shamrocks lost to Olentangy Liberty 25-18, 26-24, 21-25, 25-13 in a regional semifinal.
"I'm pleased with our progress and we have a lot of momentum on our side," Saelzler said. "We're still a little rocky on our serve-receive at times, so we need to improve on that to be successful in the tournament."
Celtics win season series with Scioto
Jerome finished second in the Battle of Dublin, opening the event with a 25-16, 25-16 win over Scioto before losing to Coffman.
The victory gave the Celtics a 2-1 edge in three matches against Scioto.
Jerome splits its two OCC-Cardinal matches with the Irish, losing 25-14, 25-23, 25-7 on March 31 and winning 23-25, 25-9, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11 on April 18.
The Celtics, who won Battle of Dublin titles in 2007 and 2008, were 9-9 overall before playing St. Charles on May 6 and finished 5-7 in the OCC-Cardinal.
"We were looking for the trophy, but competing against good teams like Coffman should only make us better," coach Phil Cagnoli said. "It's nice to get a leg up on Scioto because they've beaten us pretty soundly in recent years."
The Division II East Region tournament draw was May 5. Jerome lost to Mount Vernon 25-11, 25-11, 25-13 in the first round of the tournament last season.
"We're building a good base for the future, but we're going to try to go deep in the tournament this year," Cagnoli said. "We have a good setter (Tommy Keller) and our hitters are developing into effective players. When our libero (Trent Jones) is on his game, he gets us going with his ball control."
Irish looking to end losing streak
By going 0-2 in the Battle of Dublin, Scioto dropped to 6-17 overall and had its losing streak reach seven matches.
The Irish, who finished 3-9 in the OCC-Cardinal, concludes their regular season Thursday, May 8, at DeSales.
"We're really scrappy, but at the end of the day, experience trumps all," coach Wayne Tsai said.
Last season, Scioto lost to Mount Vernon 25-23, 25-12, 25-19 in a Division II East Region semifinal.
"We're still looking for that one win we're not supposed to have, so I'm hoping we can make some noise in the tournament," Tsai said.
"Zach Spoelstra is our leader in kills, blocking and passing, but he's missed our last seven matches with a sprained (left) ankle, so we're hoping to get him back soon. Since Zach has been out, Paul Lombardo and Derek Topp have played lights out as outside hitters. ... Pace Brunswick has been our top defensive player."