Boys Volleyball - State Tournament

Darby, Davidson advance to semifinals


The Hilliard Darby and Hilliard Davidson boys high school volleyball teams kept alive the possibility of an all-Hilliard state championship match, as both won Division I state quarterfinals May 24 at Hamilton.

Darby defeated St. Ignatius 25-15, 25-16, 25-13 and Davidson dispatched Lakewood St. Edward 26-24, 25-15, 23-25, 25-22.

The Panthers, the defending state champions, will play Cincinnati St. Xavier in a semifinal at 10 a.m. May 25 and the Wildcats will play Cincinnati Elder in the other semifinal at 11:45 a.m.

The championship is scheduled at 4 p.m.

Darby, led by outside hitters Jesse Print and Carter Schmidt, middle hitters Evan Prather and Zach Cowen, libero Brian Lee and setter Ian Cowen, had little trouble beating St. Ignatius. The Panthers have not played St. Xavier this season.

“We executed well,” Darby coach Bryan Webb said. “We’ve had a tough time being consistent mentally throughout matches this year, but we were today and I was happy with that. These guys learned a lot from our (2013 seniors) last year and they want to do the same thing those guys did.”

Davidson overcame some service errors in the first game against St. Edward, which also struggled serving.

The Wildcats got strong play from libero Zach Montgomery, outside hitters Josh Russell, Sean Liberati, Aksels Grants and Bradley Petrella and setter Jake Russell. Middle blocker Amir Mansour had some key blocks, especially in the fourth game.

“To make it to the final day of the season, that’s special,” Davidson coach Jay Cauley said. “That’s everybody’s goal at the start of the season and we’re one of four to make it happen. We’re playing our best and it’s the right time to play your best. We’ve gotten great balance, too.”

Division II

Watterson 3, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 2 

The Watterson boys volleyball team defeated Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 25-15, 23-25, 25-17, 32-34, 15-11 in a Division II state semifinal on May 24 at Hamilton.

The Eagles improved to 19-7 overall and advanced to a state final for the first time since 2002 and just the second time in team history.

“We didn't play our best game but it does show us that we can compete at a high level even when all of the pieces aren't there,” coach Anthony Randolph said. “I told my guys the whole year that there would be times where we would face adversity. Not playing your best game in the final four, and pushing to win at the same time, isn't an easy task. They're a bunch of fighters and they never quit.”