The Gahanna Lincoln High School girls volleyball team appeared ready to make a long Division I district tournament run. The team won five of its final seven regular-season matches and had three previously-injured players back in the lineup in senior outside hitter Taylor Holly (sprained right ankle), sophomore middle hitter Kelly Shannon (stress fracture in shin) and senior libero Annie Vollhardt (knee).

The Gahanna Lincoln High School girls volleyball team appeared ready to make a long Division I district tournament run. The team won five of its final seven regular-season matches and had three previously-injured players back in the lineup in senior outside hitter Taylor Holly (sprained right ankle), sophomore middle hitter Kelly Shannon (stress fracture in shin) and senior libero Annie Vollhardt (knee).

But a slew of unforced errors led to the Lions' downfall in their district opener last Saturday at Hamilton Township. They lost to 12th-seeded Westerville Central 25-21, 25-20, 25-12 to finish 10-12 overall.

Last year, Gahanna upset 11th-seeded New Albany 25-22, 25-17, 25-20 in its district tournament opener, before defeating fourth-seeded Westerville Central 25-23, 25-19, 25-27, 20-25, 15-12 in a district semifinal and losing to seventh-seeded Thomas Worthington 23-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-21 in a district final.

"Everyone's healthy again and we've always been a stronger team in district tournaments, but that wasn't the case this year," senior outside hitter MacKenzie Carder said. "I don't think they're better than us, but we weren't all on our A-game and our hitting and blocking errors got us in a lot of trouble."

The Lions struggled to a 5-9 start and finished fourth (8-6) in the OCC-Ohio Division, behind Pickerington North (14-0), Grove City (11-3) and Newark (10-4).

"We had a lot of big goals and we didn't accomplish any of them," Carder said. "We wanted to win the OCC, win district and have a winning record."

Gahanna will lose seven seniors, including starters Carder, Heather Deuber (opposite hitter), Abby Easton (setter), Holly and Vollhardt.

Easton, who had 240 digs and 21 aces, was first-team all-district and first-team all-league. Holly, who had 193 digs, 19 aces and 97 kills, was second-team all-district and second-team all-league.

Carder, who had 121 digs, 27 aces and 101 kills, was honorable mention all-district and all-league.

Shannon is the only full-time starter expected back, but junior Ashley Koons (middle hitter), junior Alyssa Rapelje (defensive specialist), sophomore Stacie Baumann (opposite hitter) and sophomore Becca Scowden (outside hitter) earned plenty of playing time this season as well.

"Our seniors were a big part of our team, but we have a nice group of girls coming back who have a good amount of game-time experience, so I think we could be a very competitive team next year," coach Scot Holmes said. "Our junior varsity and freshman teams won conference titles, so I'm excited about our future."

At a glance

•Record: 10-12 overall, 8-6 (fourth) in OCC-Ohio

•Seniors lost: MacKenzie Carder, Megan Chokreff, Heather Deuber, Abby Easton, Taylor Holly, Tara Liston and Annie Vollhardt

•Key returnees: Stacie Baumann, Ashley Koons, Alyssa Rapelje, Becca Scowden and Kelly Shannon.