All season long, the Olentangy Liberty High School girls volleyball team has been haunted by a constant reminder of its 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-19 upset loss to Thomas Worthington in a Division I district semifinal a year ago.

All season long, the Olentangy Liberty High School girls volleyball team has been haunted by a constant reminder of its 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-19 upset loss to Thomas Worthington in a Division I district semifinal a year ago.

Hanging above the door of the Patriots' locker room is a piece of paper that has the Cardinals' logo, the score of that match and the words "Never Forget!!!"

Senior setter Brynn Erdy said seeing that daily reminder of the third-seeded Patriots' loss to the seventh-seeded Cardinals has only motivated her squad to work harder to make sure something similar doesn't happen this season.

"When we first saw it posted above the door, we still had a bitter taste in our mouths from how last season ended, and I could hardly even look at it," Erdy said. "It's still kind of a sore subject for us even a year later, but it's good that we remember that feeling so that we don't let it happen again. Now when we see that sign, it's pure motivation."

The third-seeded Patriots opened the Division I district tournament last Saturday at Big Walnut with a 25-20, 25-7, 25-11 win over Dublin Jerome.

Liberty played ninth-seeded Grove City in a semifinal last Wednesday. The winner will play fourth-seeded Upper Arlington or sixth-seeded Watterson in the final Saturday at Licking Heights.

The winner of that will advance to a regional semifinal on Nov. 4 at Hilliard Davidson.

The Patriots are seeking their first district title.

"We have seven seniors on the team, and I think we're a more mature team than we were last year," Erdy said. "Having this many seniors gives us a greater sense of urgency to leave everything we have on the floor, because we realize this is our last shot at winning district."

Liberty beat Jerome without senior outside hitter Andrea Noe, who missed her fifth consecutive match while recovering from a bone bruise on her left knee that happened during the Patriots' 25-23, 25-23, 25-16 win over Westerville Central on Oct. 12.

It was uncertain if the Georgia State University recruit would be healthy enough to play last Wednesday, but senior middle hitter Morgan Stewart said the rest of the Patriots have picked up the level of their play in her absence.

Liberty also was missing outside hitters Stephanie Ruffing (sprained ankle) and Katy Schnulo (illness), but both players were hoping to return to the lineup by last Wednesday.

Against Jerome, Erdy had 34 assists, Morgan Tyree had 13 kills and Marina Zahran had 10 kills.

"The depth of our team has been its strength, because every player is a major player in our success," Stewart said. "Andrea's a major hitter and we miss having her on the court, but Morgan Tyree, Tess Petrozzi and I have been hitting the ball well. Brynn is an amazing setter, and Ann Marie Cubberly and Marina Zahran have played good defense in the back row."

Stewart said the Patriots' serve-receive will be the key to their continued success in the tournament.

"We're always working on our serve-receive and passing and we're continually getting better in those areas," Stewart said. "When we pass well it leads to good sets, which leads to a good offense and allows us to really play well."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Liberty, Olentangy and Orange girls volleyball teams:

LIBERTY

Last Saturday - Defeated Dublin Jerome 25-20, 25-7, 25-11 in Division I district opener Last Wednesday - Played ninth-seeded Grove City in a semifinal. The winner will play fourth-seeded Upper Arlington or sixth-seeded Watterson in the final Saturday at Licking Heights. The winner of that will advance to a regional semifinal on Nov. 4 at Hilliard Davidson.

Of note: The Patriots were 20-3 overall before last Wednesday. The Patriots are seeded third.

OLENTANGY

Oct. 19 - Lost to Buckeye Valley 24-26, 25-15, 25-15, 25-15 in Division II district opener

Of note: The Braves finished 9-14 overall.

ORANGE

Oct. 20 - Lost to Chillicothe 26-24, 25-19, 25-13 in Division I district opener

Of note: The Pioneers finished 10-13 overall.