Before the Hilliard Bradley High School volleyball team played Licking Valley last Saturday in the second round of the Division II district tournament, it received a lesson on the difficulty of winning in the postseason.

Before the Hilliard Bradley High School volleyball team played Licking Valley last Saturday in the second round of the Division II district tournament, it received a lesson on the difficulty of winning in the postseason.

In the match preceding Bradley's 25-16, 25-18, 25-17 win over Licking Valley, the Jaguars watched second-seeded Canal Winchester fall to ninth-seeded Buckeye Valley 27-25, 25-17, 19-25, 26-24.

"This is the postseason," said coach RyAnne Ufferman, whose team is 15-5. "It's a time when anything can happen."

Bradley plays Buckeye Valley at 6 p.m. today at Pickerington North.

Buckeye Valley improved to 16-7 and has been rolling the last two weeks. The Barons opened tournament play with a 24-26, 25-15, 25-15, 25-15 over 12th-seeded Olentangy in a first-round game.

Buckeye Valley has won three of its last four matches and is led by Annie Albrecht, who was second in the MOAC with 291 kills. Barons setter Megan Keller led the MOAC in assists with 856.

"They're comparable to the teams in our league," Ufferman said. "We need to take care of the ball. Our biggest thing is to keep our focus. Half of our team doesn't have experience. We just need to stay focused and stay aggressive."

Ufferman said her team did a nice job mixing up the offense against Licking Valley and setting up middle hitter Haley Benson.

The winner plays at 5 p.m. Saturday at Pickerington North in a district final against third-seeded Hartley or seventh-seeded Jonathan Alder. Hartley, the state runner-up last year, is 18-5 after opening tournament play with a 25-9, 25-22, 25-17 win over Hamilton Township in a second-round game on Oct. 23.

Jonathan Alder is 17-7 after a second-round win over 11th-seeded Licking Heights 27-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-25, 15-8 last Saturday.

The district champion plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Granville in a regional semifinal against East Liverpool or Millersburg West Holmes. That winner plays at 2 p.m. on Nov. 6 in a regional final against Big Walnut, DeSales, Dover, Granville, Minerva or Sparta Highland.

•The season ended for Darby with a 25-13, 25-11, 30-28 loss to Grove City in the first round of the district tournament, capping what was a rebuilding season.

Darby ended up 3-17 overall. Panthers coach Liz Rundio said the season was used for getting experience for a roster loaded with inexperience.

"Absolutely. It was definitely a rebuilding season," Rundio said. "From day one of practice until the end of the season we made a lot of improvement just in the quick tempo of the game and understanding all aspects of the game."

The Panthers lose two seniors in Shea Castle and Olivia Mathews, but 11 players who earned some varsity time are expected to return.

Junior Rachel Ross (middle hitter), sophomore Emily Krumpe (outside hitter) and freshman Ellie Mathews (setter) are expected to be team leaders next year.

Also expected back are juniors Marissa Eversole, Sam Schroeder, Heather Scott and Lauren Snyder, sophomores Jordan Alexander, Kristen Chance and Briana Moorman, and freshman Kaitlyn Moore.

Darby was seventh in the OCC-Central Division at 2-12. The Panthers finished ahead of Westland (0-14) and behind league champion Dublin Coffman (14-0), Upper Arlington (12-2), Thomas Worthington (9-5), Worthington Kilbourne (9-5), Central Crossing (6-8) and Davidson (4-10).

"Hopefully we'll make more strides next year," Rundio said. "It might take a couple of years to rebuild here. Hopefully we can continue to get better."

•After beating Delaware 25-15, 21-25, 25-11, 25-18 in a first-round game on Oct. 19, Davidson fell to Chillicothe 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 last Saturday. The Wildcats finished 8-15 overall.

At a glance

DARBY

•Record: 3-17 overall, 2-12 (seventh) in OCC-Central

•Seniors lost: Shea Castle and Olivia Mathews

•Key returnees: Emily Krumpe, Ellie Mathews and Rachel Ross