Despite falling one victory shy of its goal, coach Mike Sage believes the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys volleyball team got all it could out of the season.

Despite falling one victory shy of its goal, coach Mike Sage believes the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys volleyball team got all it could out of the season.

"I'm definitely not disappointed in the boys and the season they brought us," he said following a 25-17, 25-18, 21-25, 25-18 loss to Hilliard Darby in a Division I East Region final on May 21 at home. "They had a good team. It just wasn't meant to be."

The Lions, who were bidding to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1991, finished 18-8 overall. They went 7-3 to place second in the OCC-Capital Division behind Mount Vernon (10-0) and ahead of Pickerington North (6-4), Hilliard Bradley (5-5), Delaware (2-8) and Pickerington Central (0-10).

The Yellow Jackets, who repeated as league champions, lost to Hilliard Davidson in the other regional final. The Jaguars also advanced to a Division II regional final before being eliminated by St. Charles.

Lance Wiles, a 6-foot-8 senior middle blocker, was named the OCC-Capital's Player of the Year. Jerry Vo, another senior who played in the middle early but was a defensive stalwart for much of his career, and 6-3 senior outside hitter Josh Gruenbaum both made second-team all-league. Junior outside hitter Michael Tobin was honorable mention all-league.

Wiles, who also made first-team all-region as Mount Vernon's Chris Omahan was Player of the Year, will play at Lourdes College in Sylvania. He was the first men's volleyball recruit for the NAIA school, and the team begins play next year. Vo, who is 5-6, made second-team all-region. Omahan will play at MIT.

Also departing are seniors Riley Bolte and Parker McComb.

"We played an eight-man lineup for the most part," Sage said. "We'll have half of those guys back, but we're losing three key seniors, and that's going to be a major loss. And our other two seniors (Bolte and McComb), they were coaches players and made a real commitment to the team as well."

The Lions won eight consecutive regular-season matches following a 3-5 start. They also put together a five-match winning streak, which included postseason victories over Westerville Central (25-21, 25-18, 21-25, 25-21 on May 14) and Westerville North (25-21, 26-28, 25-22, 25-21 on May 18), before falling to Darby.

The return of junior Sergio Bruyako to the middle of the lineup, which enabled Vo to play the libero spot, coincided with the first winning streak. Other key returnees are expected to include juniors Jonathan Harrison and Zach Tarifa and sophomore Josh Geary. Tarifa and Geary shared setting responsibilities in the 6-2 offense. Others to look for will include juniors Curtis Stephenson and sophomores Austin Washburn and Cody Hoffman.

"You can't replace Lance being 6-8, but we'll still have some size next year with Josh (6-2) and Austin (6-3)," Sage said. "We might have to play a little differently, but we definitely like what we have coming back."