As the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys volleyball team battled a season of setbacks with injuries and illness, it had to rely heavily on the OCC-Ohio Division Player of the Year.

As the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys volleyball team battled a season of setbacks with injuries and illness, it had to rely heavily on the OCC-Ohio Division Player of the Year.

But even senior Colin Hackworth missed two matches while recovering from pneumonia.

Hasan Ali, a 6-foot-2 junior swing hitter who was expected to carry much of the offensive burden, missed the entire season due to an injury.

"We really weren't able to develop any team continuity before it was too late," first-year coach Dickson Lao said. "Our guys were leaning on Colin, and I think the big thing for us is going to be getting out of that one-man mentality next season.

"Our opponents knew the ball was going to Colin."

The Wolves' season ended with a 31-29, 18-25, 28-30, 25-23, 15-11 loss to Gahanna in the first round of the East Region tournament on May 15.

At 7-18 overall, it was only the third time in 19 years that Kilbourne had produced a losing record, including the program's inaugural season in 1992.

In the OCC-Ohio, Kilbourne tied Dublin Coffman at 3-7, behind champion Hilliard Darby (10-0) and Hilliard Davidson (8-2), and ahead of Thomas Worthington (0-10).

Three of Kilbourne's opponents - Darby, Mount Vernon and Cincinnati Elder - reached the Division I state tournament Saturday and Sunday at Centerville.

"We played a tough schedule and everything that could've gone wrong went wrong," Lao said. "Gahanna played lights out, and you wouldn't see them play any better than that. We had some opportunities in the fourth game, but calls just didn't go our way."

As Kilbourne looks to next season, it must replace Hackworth and senior swing hitter Tim Wilson, who Lao considered to the best ball-control player on the team.

Wilson was second-team all-league.

Hackworth, who was first-team all-region, set a school record for kills (409). In the loss to Gahanna, he had 43.

Kilbourne's starting lineup won't change much with juniors Connor Peck (6-3, middle blocker), Jake Wood (6-3, setter), Andy Wickizer (6-4, middle blocker), Clayton Bushey (5-10, swing hitter), Alex Miller (6-2, swing hitter) and Jordan Eger (5-9, defensive specialist) expected back next season, along with Ali.

"Having Jake back as our setter is huge, and it's amazing how good of a setter he's become in 10 weeks and never playing the position," Lao said. "Bushey was our top server and he's going to be asked to take on a bigger role next season."

Thomas endured a winless season under first-year coach Todd Ebright, who expected a challenging year with an inexperienced team.

"Our guys were like junior varsity players playing at the varsity level," he said.

"We got better as the season went on, but it was frustrating."

The Cardinals finished at 0-22 following the 25-11, 25-8, 25-4 loss to Pickerington North in the first round of the East Region tournament on May 15.

Ebright will be relying on a number of juniors and sophomores next season after losing the team's best passers in seniors Zach Weinrich (honorable mention all-league) and Michael Tung.

Freshmen Tyler Buckley (6-0, middle hitter) and Jake Anderson (5-6, setter) and sophomores Eli Rousculp (6-2, middle hitter) and Ben Metersky (5-9, setter) should be the top returnees next season.