The Pickerington High School North boys volleyball team hopes an ability to bounce back from losses will power it into the Division I East Region tournament.
The Panthers lost a three-game match to OCC-Capital Division power Mount Vernon, 25-16, 25-19, 25-23 on April 22, but recovered to sweep league rival Pickerington Central 25-13, 25-11, 25-16 two days later.
"We are clicking very well," setter Dejon Clark said. "After a few losses, we keep bouncing back and building from those. We just need to execute more and eventually, we'll get it. We've been hitting better and playing well together."
North was 13-8 overall and 5-3 in the OCC-Capital before playing Gahanna on April 29. The Panthers lost to host Beavercreek, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-8 on April 26.
"We need to be able to execute in those types of matches to prepare for the tournament," said coach Marci Truex, whose team ends its league and regular seasons Thursday, May 1, at Delaware. "There comes a time where they have to take control of the team as far as being resilient. If they don't, I'm going to be yapping my brain out and that's not good for anyone. Until they take ownership of the team, you won't get the quality you want. There's only so far talent can go."
James Klamo had a team-high 129 kills through 20 matches, ahead of Clark and Charlie Keller with 86 each. Brennan Ayers had a team-high 210 digs.
Central entered an April 29 match against Mount Vernon with records of 5-9 overall and 2-7 in the OCC-Capital. The Tigers finish their OCC-Capital schedule Thursday, May 1, at Gahanna.
Central, which defeated host Hamilton 25-16, 25-18 on April 26, earned both its league wins April 17 against Delaware, defeating the Pacers 25-16, 25-15 and 25-15, 25-9 in a doubleheader necessitated because of an earlier postponement.
Top players for the Tigers have included seniors Corey Kovaleski (setter), Brandon Stone (libero) and Jeff Wolfel (outside hitter), juniors Isac Kenney (middle hitter) and Josh Weilbacher (outside hitter) and sophomore Austin Walker (defensive specialist).