The Gahanna Lincoln High School girls volleyball team finally found some consistent offense before playing fourth-seeded Westerville Central in a Division I district semifinal last Wednesday.

The Gahanna Lincoln High School girls volleyball team finally found some consistent offense before playing fourth-seeded Westerville Central in a Division I district semifinal last Wednesday.

The Lions, who relied mostly on their defensive play during the first half of the season, displayed accurate and timely hitting in a 25-22, 25-17, 25-20 win over 11th-seeded New Albany in the second round last Saturday. They improved to 11-12 overall.

"We've just really focused on our offense and our hitters," coach Scot Holmes said. "We just broke it down for each girl in practice and went through with each one and showed them, 'This is what your strength is, this is what you need to do.'"

The front line, led by Taylor Holly and MacKenzie Carder, spent practice time hitting the ball to areas on the floor where they felt like they could be successful against New Albany.

Because the Lions had a first-round bye, they had some extra time to prepare for their second-round match. The extra time also gave them a chance to work freshman Stacy Baumann into a more prominent role in the rotation. She was on junior varsity, but played a significant role in the win over New Albany.

Baumann's ability to add to what Holly and Carder already were bringing helped Gahanna win its third consecutive match against New Albany. The Lions finished the regular season with back-to-back wins over Reynoldsburg, 25-18, 25-18, 27-25 on Oct. 13, and Groveport, 25-9, 25-14, 25-16 on Oct. 15.

"In practice, we've just been focusing on getting a lot of reps with the offense," setter Abby Easton said. "With the offense, I feel like I can really rely on them."

By getting Baumann into the rotation during the postseason, the Lions have given another player they expect to return next season some valuable varsity experience. Gahanna has only one senior on its roster in Lauren Arnett, a libero who is providing leadership to a team that lost six seniors from last season. The Lions have 10 juniors.

By defeating New Albany, Gahanna advanced to a district semifinal for the fifth consecutive season. The last time the Lions didn't make it as far was in 2004, when they lost in the second round. They reached a district final the next two seasons, winning a district championship in 2006.

The Gahanna-Central winner plays third-seeded Olentangy Liberty or seventh-seeded Thomas Worthington in a district final at 1 p.m. Saturday at Licking Heights. The district champion plays in a regional semifinal against Centerville or Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Hilliard Davidson.

The regional final is played at 2 p.m. Nov. 7 at Davidson, with potential opponents being top-seeded Dublin Coffman, Teays Valley, ninth-seeded Upper Arlington or 10th-seeded Watterson.

"I feel like our confidence has definitely gone up," Arnett said. "We know that with the way the offense and the defense are playing and the way we've been picking each other up, it's real exciting."