Upper Arlington High School boys volleyball coach Matt Wion believes the result of his team's second OCC-Ohio Division match against Worthington Kilbourne is evidence the Golden Bears are making progress.

Upper Arlington High School boys volleyball coach Matt Wion believes the result of his team's second OCC-Ohio Division match against Worthington Kilbourne is evidence the Golden Bears are making progress.

UA lost to Kilbourne 25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 24-26, 15-13 on March 30 but defeated the Wolves 25-12, 22-25, 25-18, 25-22 on April 22. The latter contest marked the first time in the 2000s that the Bears have beaten the Wolves, who had won the first 15 meetings since the turn of the century.

"It's amazing to see how much they've improved," Wion said of his players. "We have our moments (when the team struggles), but we just have to stay positive and keep the energy alive. When we do that, we play great."

UA, which began the season with only four players with varsity experience, was 5-10 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Hilliard Darby last Tuesday.

"I love what I'm seeing," middle hitter and setter Andrew Craine said. "Truth be told, at the beginning of the season, I didn't know how good we would be. I'm pretty content. We started with a bunch of guys who had some idea about how to play, but now we've got a bunch of veterans out there. It's great."

Although Wion has seen significant improvement, consistency remains an issue. For example, the Bears defeated Delaware 15-25, 25-16, 28-26, 19-25, 15-12 on April 13 but lost to the Pacers 25-23, 26-24, 25-23 four days later in Kilbourne's Wolf Open, marking the fourth time UA has lost in three games.

"That goes with the age of our players and amount of experience they have," Wion said of the Bears' inconsistency. "Andrew Craine has played since middle school and now he's an all-star, but for a lot of the other guys, this is the first time they've ever played."

Entering last Tuesday, UA had played six five-game matches, losing all but one. In three of those losses, the Bears lost the first two games before winning the next two to force a fifth game.

"That's really frustrating and draining," defensive specialist Matt Golden said. "Volleyball is a game of momentum. It's real easy to get down on yourself, but we don't stop."

In the win over Kilbourne, Craine, who recently committed to play for Division III Elmira (N.Y.) College, had 15 kills and eight assists. Opposite hitter Cody Palmer had six kills and outside hitter and setter Michael Schroer had six kills and 14 assists.

"Cody Palmer had never touched the ball until five weeks ago and now he's hitting the ball and putting it down," Wion said. "He's becoming a force at the net and other people are starting to recognize that."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Upper Arlington boys volleyball team:

*March 30 - Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 24-26, 15-13

*April 1 - Lost to Hilliard Darby 25-13, 25-19, 25-21

*April 6 - Lost to Hilliard Davidson 27-29, 25-22, 25-12, 25-20

April 8 - Defeated Dublin Scioto 25-19, 25-23, 25-22

April 9 - Lost to Akron Hoban 25-16, 25-12, 25-9

April 10 - Lost to Cleveland St. Ignatius 25-19, 25-18, 25-19

April 10 - Def. Lakewood 25-12, 25-14, 25-13

April 10 - Lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights 19-25, 25-21, 25-18, 14-25, 15-11

April 13 - Def. Delaware 15-25, 25-16, 28-26, 19-25, 15-12

*April 15 - Def. Thomas Worthington 25-9, 25-22, 25-14

April 16 - Lost to Westerville North 25-19, 25-12, 19-25, 21-25, 16-14

April 17 - Lost to Delaware 25-23, 26-24, 25-23

April 17 - Lost to Pickerington Central 25-16, 25-18, 20-25, 25-27, 15-9

*April 20 - Lost to Dublin Coffman 25-16, 25-18, 16-25, 25-27, 15-6

*April 22 - Def. Worthington Kilbourne 25-12, 22-25, 25-18, 25-22

*Last Tuesday - Played Hilliard Darby

*Today - At Hilliard Davidson

*Tuesday - Home vs. Thomas Worthington

*May 6 - Home vs. Dublin Coffman

May 8 - At Beavercreek with Cincinnati McNicholas

Of note: The Bears were 5-10 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Ohio match