Westerville North High School boys volleyball coach Vicki Phillips entered the season expecting a rebuilding year.

Westerville North High School boys volleyball coach Vicki Phillips entered the season expecting a rebuilding year.

But with victories in eight of their final 10 matches, the Warriors produced another OCC-Cardinal Division championship.

It was an outright title this year at 8-2, ahead of Dublin Scioto and Westerville Central (7-3), Olentangy Liberty and Dublin Jerome (4-6) and Westerville South (0-10).

"It was touch and go to start, but coming into the second half of the season, the guys didn't let down," said Phillips, who was the league's Coach of the Year. "We started serving better and showed improvement all season long."

North finished 14-8 overall following a 25-16, 25-15, 25-18 loss to Pickerington North in an East Region semifinal on May 19.

The Warriors opened the tournament with a 25-5, 25-23, 25-19 victory over South on May 15.

"I told the boys we didn't really play to our potential against Pickerington North, but their program is well defined," Phillips said. "We just kind of fell apart a little bit."

Five seniors leave the program, including Ryan Gartrell, who was honorable mention all-league.

Two first-team all-league selections in Alex Kirkpatrick (junior setter) and Evan McCoy (sophomore outside hitter) are expected to return next season, along with junior outside hitter Christian Bruce, who was second-team all-league.

"Alex keeps growing as a leader and he's become a dominate player," Phillips said. "He knows what's going on and who to go to as a setter."

•Central expects to have many of its starters back next season after finishing 11-10 overall following a 21-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-22 loss to Dublin Coffman in the first round of the East Region tournament.

Central lost to Coffman four days earlier at the OCC-Challenge 25-16, 25-12.

The Warhawks made a run at the league title, but couldn't defeat North a second time, losing 25-18, 25-21, 25-22 on May 5 in a match that would've given them a share of the championship.

"Westerville North showed up and we weren't there," assistant coach Jimmy Yu said. "You look at our conference and we all really had the ability to beat each other on any given night. It came down to attitude and that's really what determined the season."

Central was led by seniors Eric Humphreys (second-team all-league), Luke Meissner (honorable mention all-league) and Tyler Warden.

A number of juniors are expected to return next season including Kevin Chen (setter), Bryan Wood (libero), Ryan Willis (outside hitter), Alex Ferrara (backside hitter), Devin Mills (middle blocker) and Chase Letizia (outside hitter).

• South coach Chris Bielby knew it would be difficult building a competitive team this season with little experience, but the Wildcats did show improvement.

South finished 7-15 overall after going 4-19 last year.

The Wildcats earned three of their wins in May.

"It looks like we'll be a little short on experience again next year, but we did make some strides and got better by the end of the year," Bielby said. "We had eight freshmen come out this year, so I'm looking to the future of the program."

Senior middle hitter Troy Burse led a group of seven seniors as an honorable mention all-region selection. He was first-team all-league.

Senior setter Khyrell Baggoo was honorable mention all-league.

Bielby will be counting on junior opposite hitter Logan Michel, sophomores Tyler Ott (defensive specialist) and Luke Hassenpflug (setter) and freshman libero Adam Bielby next season.

"The guys are talking about playing club and going to camps and clinics, which will definitely help," coach Bielby said. "It's been tough to get some rhythm going. We brought 19 guys in this season and, hopefully, we'll have 12 of those guys returning next season."