When it came time to decide where to place his team in the Division I East Region tournament bracket, Westerville North High School boys volleyball coach Marlin Weisenbarger didn't shy away from the opponent that had cost the Warriors a fourth consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division championship.

When it came time to decide where to place his team in the Division I East Region tournament bracket, Westerville North High School boys volleyball coach Marlin Weisenbarger didn't shy away from the opponent that had cost the Warriors a fourth consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division championship.

Seeded seventh of 15 teams, North wanted another shot at fifth-seeded Olentangy Liberty, which had beaten the Warriors twice during the regular season.

North got its wish in a regional semifinal on May 16 but lost 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 to finish 13-8 overall. The Warriors opened the tournament with a 25-17, 25-7, 25-14 win over ninth-seeded Pickerington North on May 12.

"I thought we matched up well with (Liberty) and we thought it would be difficult to beat a team three times in the same season," Weisenbarger said. "We were up in the first game, but we missed a couple of serves."

Liberty beat the Warriors 25-27, 25-21, 25-19, 24-26, 15-9 on April 26 and 25-11, 31-29, 23-25, 25-22 on April 3 in league play.

North, which had won the past three OCC-Cardinal titles, finished 7-3 in the league to place second, behind Liberty (10-0) and ahead of Dublin Scioto (7-3), Dublin Jerome (3-7), Westerville South (3-7) and Westerville Central (0-10).

North lost its first four matches to open the season but won nine of its next 11 and 13 of its final 17.

The Warriors lose six seniors, including outside hitter Evan McCoy (first-team all-region and all-league), outside hitter and setter Zach McKelvey (honorable mention all-region, first-team all-league), middle hitter Zach Nickels (second-team all-league) and middle hitter Eric Nufer (honorable mention all-league).

Among those expected to return are junior libero Drew Hollobaugh (special mention all-league) and sophomore defensive specialist Lucas Weisenbarger.

"We graduated six seniors last year and six this year, so next year is going to be a rebuilding year for us," coach Weisenbarger said. "It's going to be key that we pick up some athletes."

South notches first postseason win

Seeded eighth, South defeated 10th-seeded Thomas Worthington 25-17, 15-25, 26-16, 20-25, 15-6 in the first round of the Division I East Region tournament May 12, marking the first postseason victory.

The Wildcats then lost to top-seeded Hilliard Darby 25-12, 25-7, 25-9 in a regional semifinal May 16 to finish 11-13 overall.

"That was one of our goals this season," coach Chris Bielby said of the postseason win. "It was our best record in five seasons and I think the tournament win gives the guys some sense of belief in themselves. But we need to move to the next level."

South loses two seniors in outside hitter Sean Carpenter and setter Tyler Ott (honorable mention all-region and first-team all-league).

"We will miss his court leadership," Bielby said of Ott. "He was really good at picking up a ball that was going to hit the ground. He just gave that extra effort all the time."

Among those expected to return are junior libero Adam Bielby (second-team all-league), junior middle blocker J.D. Coffey (honorable mention all-league) and junior opposite hitter Scott Richard, who has been with the program for three seasons.

Central looking to build on youth

With a roster comprised of seven sophomores, one freshman and one junior, Central coach John Nguyen knew he would have to be patient this season.

The Warhawks finished 2-14 overall, losing to fifth-seeded Liberty 25-11, 25-15, 25-14 in the first round of the Division I East Region tournament. Central was the 14th seed.

"In that very last match, I wanted to see them come together as a team and hustle and play and make the other team work for it, and they did that," Nguyen said. "The boys showed a lot of heart at the end of the season."

Among those expected to return are sophomore setter Matt Cisneros (second-team all-league), sophomore outside hitter Jeff Cremeans (second-team all-league) and junior middle hitter Yousef Yacoub (honorable mention all-league).