Olentangy Liberty High School boys volleyball coach Dave Hale wasn't unhappy with his team's performance in a 25-3, 25-7, 25-12 loss to top-seeded Hilliard Darby in a Division I East Region final May 18 at Hilliard Davidson.
Hale said the Patriots simply ran into a juggernaut.
"Hilliard Darby is the No. 1 team in the state and they took it to us the whole time," said Hale, whose team finished 9-10 overall. "They had three guys who were between 6-foot-6 and 6-8 and they were quick, too. (Junior outside hitter) Tyler Menges and (senior setter) Tyler Kready played well for us, but Hilliard Darby was the better team."
Liberty opened the tournament with a 25-22, 18-25, 25-4, 25-15 win over Thomas Worthington on May 11 at Davidson and beat Dublin Coffman 25-18, 26-24, 21-25, 25-13 in a regional semifinal May 15 at Pickerington North before running into Darby, which advanced to state for the fourth consecutive season and was state runner-up last year.
Against Coffman, Menges had 14 kills and 28 digs, Kready had 21 assists and 10 kills, junior setter Tommy Fallon had 20 assists, junior defensive specialist Hunter Kaufman had 20 digs and junior outside hitter Matt Nakasian had 10 kills.
"We played solid all the way around," Hale said. "Our passing was really good. We dug up a lot of good hits."
Liberty went 6-6 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to finish fourth, behind Dublin Scioto (11-1), Westerville North (9-3) and Worthington Kilbourne (9-3) and ahead of Westerville Central (4-8), Westerville South (3-9) and Dublin Scioto (0-12).
"Our regular season was frustrating because we had a lot of guys in and out of the lineup because they were taking field trips, taking college visits or sick, and we lost a lot of matches when we had guys missing," Hale said. "I think we could have done a lot better, but I'm happy we were able to make it to the regional final."
Liberty loses four senior starters in Kready, Ward and outside hitters Kishan Bhungalia and Connor Whitehurst.
Kready was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-region.
Five players who started multiple matches are expected to return in Fallon, Kaufman, Menges, Nakasian and junior libero Michael Linse.
Menges was first-team all-league and second-team all-region and Fallon was honorable mention all-league.
"We should be in good shape next season with the guys we have coming back," Hale said.
Braves fall to Eagles in regional tourney
Olentangy ended its first varsity season with a 25-17, 25-16, 25-18 loss to Watterson in the first round of the Division II East Region tournament May 11.
The Braves, who defeated Whetstone in a play-in match 25-15, 25-13, 25-15 earlier that day, finished 8-14 overall.
"We were missing our top outside hitter, senior Joe Morycz, because he had another obligation and that kind of affected us in the tournament," coach Travis Weitthoff said. "But we played Watterson tough and I think we had a pretty good season considering that we're a first-year varsity team."
Olentangy went 4-6 in the OCC-Capital to finish fourth, behind Mount Vernon (9-1), Gahanna (8-2) and Pickerington North (7-3) and ahead of Delaware (1-9) and Pickerington Central (1-9).
"I'm never satisfied, but I think we exceeded everyone else's expectations," Weitthoff said. "Our biggest win was (against) Westerville South (25-22, 25-17, 17-25, 18-25, 15-13 on April 12), and the biggest highlight was seeing how much we improved over the course of the season. When we won, we won the right way."
The Braves lose five senior starters in Morycz, Trey Augustine (opposite hitter), Adam Green (libero), Kyle Hardin (opposite hitter) and Andrew Horstman (middle hitter).
Morycz was first-team all-league and all-region.
"Our seniors are amazing," Weitthoff said. "They have a ton of talent and I just wish I could have had them for more than two months. If they would have played for me a couple more years, they would be so dangerous."
Three starters are expected back in juniors Austin Bruening (setter), Taylor Jahr (middle hitter) and Justin Moeller (outside hitter).
Bruening was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-region and Jahr was honorable mention all-league.
"After our season was over, the majority of our guys asked me how they could keep playing in the summer," Weitt- hoff said. "With that kind of enthusiasm, our future looks promising."