In reaching a Division I regional final last season, the Hilliard Davidson High School boys volleyball team relied on a strong middle attack.

In reaching a Division I regional final last season, the Hilliard Davidson High School boys volleyball team relied on a strong middle attack.

With outside-hitters David Carraher (6-foot-0 senior) and Jordan Zickafoose (6-4 junior) returning from a team which finished at 17-9 overall, coach Jay Cauley is ready to change strategy.

"It's probably the least experience we've had in the middle," said Cauley, whose team plays host to Dublin Coffman today in an OCC-Ohio Division contest. "It will definitely make a difference in how we attack. But we've got a lot of returnees back and a good mix of guys who played junior varsity last year."

The Wildcats must replace all-state performers Brandon Bowers and Brian Lantz, who both were first-team all-OCC and all-region.

Davidson expects to be a contender in the OCC-Ohio after last season's third-place finish at 6-4, behind champions Worthington Kilbourne (9-1) and Hilliard Darby (9-1) and ahead of Dublin Coffman (4-6), Upper Arlington (2-8) and Thomas Worthington (0-10).

The team came up a match short of reaching the state tournament following the loss to Mount Vernon (25-17, 25-6, 22-25, 25-18) in a regional final.

Of the eight teams that reached the state tournament, Davidson played six during the regular season.

"The seniors who played last year would really like a shot at getting back to the state tournament," Cauley said. "They have it in their mind as their goal. One thing we still have to work on is team chemistry. But every year you're mixing in three or four new guys."

Seniors Andrew Deas (6-2 middle blocker) and Cameron Brown (5-11 setter) also will be key to this year's success.

"Hilliard has been fortunate with its volleyball programs," Cauley said. "We had more than 44 guys try out this year and that's a great number to have."

•The job of building Bradley's program from the ground up goes to coach Chris Manganello, who spent the past three seasons trying to rejuvenate Thomas Worthington's team.

There are no seniors, but the Jaguars have inherited a number of junior varsity players from a traditionally strong Darby team which fell to eventual state champion Cincinnati Moeller in a Division I state quarterfinal last year.

"I'm getting athletes who are coming out with a lot of 10th-graders who were on Darby's freshman team last season," said Manganello, whose team plays host Gahanna today in an OCC-Capital match. "We have a good solid core of guys and they come from a winning program. They're not afraid to work."

Manganello will look to juniors Evan Bell (5-11 setter) and Ian Davis (6-0 outside hitter) for leadership.

Both played junior varsity for Darby last season. Bell was the team's libero.

The Division II Jaguars will compete in the league against Gahanna, Delaware, Mount Vernon, Pickerington Central and Pickerington North.

"The biggest thing is we'll have the same team for two years," Manganello said. "Next year, we'll have higher expectations. I've got 20 players in the ninth grade, and Memorial Middle School, which is a feeder school to Bradley, has started a boys volleyball program. It's a good start."

At a glance

BRADLEY

•Coach: Chris Manganello, first season

•Next game: Today vs. Gahanna

•Key players: Evan Bell and Ian Davis

SCHEDULE

*March 30 vs. Mount Vernon

*April 1 vs. Gahanna

April 7 vs. St. Charles

April 8 at Dublin Coffman

April 13 vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*April 15 at Pickerington Central

April 16 at Dublin Scioto with Watterson and Gahanna

*April 20 vs. Pickerington North

*April 22 at Mount Vernon

April 24 vs. Olentangy Liberty and Mason

*April 27 at Gahanna

*April 29 at Delaware

May 1 vs. Purcell Marian, St. Charles and Akron Hoban

*May 4 vs. Pickerington Central

*May 5 vs. Delaware

*May 6 at Pickerington North

May 11 OCC Challenge

*OCC-Capital match

DAVIDSON

•Coach: Jay Cauley, fourth season

•Next game: Today vs. Dublin Coffman

•Key players: Cameron Brown, David Carraher, Andrew Deas and Jordan Zickafoose

SCHEDULE

*March 30 vs. Thomas Worthington

*April 1 vs. Dublin Coffman

*April 6 at Upper Arlington

April 8 vs. St. Charles

April 9 at Mount Vernon

April 13 vs. Olentangy Liberty

April 14 at Pickerington North

*April 15 at Hilliard Darby

*April 20 vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*April 22 at Thomas Worthington

April 24 at Circleville Elite tournament

*April 27 at Dublin Coffman

April 28 vs. Beavercreek

*April 29 vs. Upper Arlington

April 30 at Fairborn

*May 4 vs. Hilliard Darby

*May 6 at Worthington Kilbourne

May 11 OCC Challenge

*OCC-Ohio match