As a junior during the 1990-91 season, Mike Sage helped the Wooster Triway boys basketball team reach a Division II state semifinal.
The 10th-year Gahanna Lincoln High School boys volleyball coach couldn't be more excited to share the experience of being in a state tournament with the members of his current team.
A 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 25-20 win over host Hilliard Davidson in a Division I East Region final May 18 sent the Lions to the state tournament for the first time since 1991.
Gahanna plays Beavercreek in a state quarterfinal at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25, at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.
"This was our fifth trip to the regional final in six years, so getting over the hurdle, I couldn't be more proud of our guys," Sage said. "I was lucky enough in high school to play in a state final four in basketball. It's something you never forget."
The Gahanna-Beavercreek winner plays Cleveland St. Ignatius or Cincinnati Elder in a state semifinal at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 26, at Walsh Jesuit, and the state final is at 5 p.m.
The other state quarterfinals pit Hilliard Darby against Clayton Northmont and Cincinnati Moeller against Lakewood St. Edward.
Gahanna, which beat Pickerington North 19-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-16 in a regional semifinal May 15, is 18-9. Beavercreek is 22-3 and defeated the Lions 25-21, 25-14 on March 30.
"(Beavercreek is) big and plays really good defense," Sage said. "We lost to them, but that was a long time ago. We've grown and improved a lot since then."
According to senior setter Josh Geary, the Lions showed resolve after losing the third game to Davidson. Gahanna split with the Wildcats during the regular season.
"We just went back to what we did in the first and second games and were excited about every point," Geary said.
"We did much better in serve-receive and serving (against Davidson)," senior right-side hitter Chase Swickard said. "We wanted to get them out of their system because they like to funnel things to their middles. I was so happy when that last ball went down. It's crazy to think about."
Baseball team reaches district final
The baseball team beat 41st-seeded Westland 13-3 in five innings in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 15 and 26th-seeded Upper Arlington 7-2 in a district semifinal May 20 at Grove City.
That advanced the sixth-seeded Lions into a district final against second-seeded Olentangy Orange on May 22 at Ohio Dominican University.
The district champion will play Thomas Worthington, Dublin Jerome, Olentangy or Grove City in a regional semifinal May 30 at Dublin Coffman. The regional final is May 31 at Coffman.
Against Westland, Alec Tuohy gave up three runs in the third inning but tossed a complete game to earn the victory. Zach Baumann (OF) homered, Christian Chiero (3B) had three hits and three RBI and Evan White (1B) had three hits and four RBI.
Shawn Martin (2B) had a two-run triple in the third inning that gave the Lions a 5-3 lead.
Against UA, Tuohy pitched a complete game and struck out a program-record 14.
Softball team plays in district semifinal
The sixth-seeded softball team opened the Division I postseason with home wins over 40th-seeded Northland (21-0 on May 14) and 21st-seeded Canal Winchester (11-3 on May 16).
The Lions played third-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal May 21 at Pickerington North. The winner plays fifth-seeded Orange or 11th-seeded Westerville Central in a district final at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at Pickerington Central.
The district champion will face North Canton Hoover, Uniontown Lake, Louisville or Massillon Jackson in a regional semifinal May 30 at Ohio State. The regional final is June 1 at Ohio State.
Against Canal Winchester, the Lions had 11 players with at least one hit. Alyson Shaw (SS) went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and Rachel Zink (2B) was 3-for-3 with two RBI and one run.
Alex Jander was the winning pitcher against Northland and was expected to pitch against Marysville. Emmalee Harding gave up three unearned runs in the first inning against Canal Winchester.
Harding, according to coach Jim Campolo, likely would start the district final if the Lions defeated Marysville.
Teague advances to district in tennis
Canyon Teague of the boys tennis team didn't lose a set on the way to winning the Division I sectional singles title May 16 and 18 at Davidson.
Teague will compete in the district tournament Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, at Davidson. The top four in singles and doubles advance to state May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
Teague opens the district tournament against Reynoldsburg's Brandon Person.
On May 18, Teague defeated fourth-seeded Thomas Porter of Davidson 6-0, 6-0 in a semifinal and second-seeded Brian Do of Dublin Coffman 6-1, 6-0 in the final.
Teague, who is undefeated this season, was a state qualifier a year ago.
"He worked on some things and we're real happy with how he played going into the big week of district," coach Chris Schwinnen said.
Also competing at sectional in singles but failing to move on were Aaron Thomas, who lost in a second-round match, and Eric Chen, who lost in a quarterfinal.
In doubles, John Spain and Chris Kusovski lost in the second round and Stefn Sandberg and Zach Horn lost in the first round.
Boys lacrosse team set to open tourney
The boys lacrosse team opened the Division I Central Region tournament May 22 at Westerville Central in the play-in round.
The winner plays in a first-round game Friday, May 24, at Worthington Kilbourne. That winner faces Pickerington Central or St. Charles in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 29. The regional final is June 1.
Gahanna lost to Westerville Central 15-6 on April 24.
The Lions won six of their last eight in the regular season and were 7-12 entering the postseason. They beat Hilliard Bradley 14-3 on May 17 in their final OCC-Ohio Division game to tie Bradley and Darby for fifth (1-5) behind Olentangy (6-0), Olentangy Liberty (5-1), Orange (4-2) and New Albany (3-3).
Girls lacrosse team to lose seven seniors
The girls lacrosse team will lose seven seniors, including its top three scorers, after going 6-11 overall.
Senior attackers Kelsey Francis (37 goals, 10 assists) and Anna Tarbutton (38 goals, 3 assists) and senior midfielder Bre Moser (41 goals, 8 assists) led in scoring.
Moser will play for Lake Erie College and Tarbutton will play for Wittenberg.
Gahanna opened the Division I South/Central Region tournament by beating Marysville 12-7 on May 13 but lost to top-seeded Upper Arlington 23-3 in a second-round game May 15.
The Lions went 4-3 in the OCC-Central to place fourth behind Pickerington North (7-0), Pickerington Central (6-1) and Westerville South (5-2) and ahead of Westerville North (3-4), Westerville Central (2-5), Delaware (1-6) and Big Walnut (0-7).
"It was one of those seasons where things didn't fall the way we expected them to," coach Brooke Eisenacher said. "It was nothing huge that was glaring, but it was little things in each game. We worked hard and we played hard. Each game we continued to grow."
Among the top returnees should be sophomore Erica Rapelje (attacker/midfielder) and juniors Taylor Teutsch (midfielder), Amy Bott (defender), Cara Caldwell (center) and Marissa Bowman (midfielder/attacker). Freshman Catie Rogers and sophomore Amanda Sorrell should be back after splitting time at goalkeeper.