The Worthington Christian High School girls volleyball team followed what coach Matt Liston called a "rocky start" by getting back on track regarding its hopes of winning a Division IV district title.
Having a settled lineup, which came after senior defensive specialist Caylan DeLucia returned from a knee injury, helped set up the turnaround.
The Warriors got off to a 3-4 start but had won nine consecutive matches before falling to North Union 25-19, 25-17, 25-21 on Sept. 29.
DeLucia missed the first seven matches with a left posterior cruciate ligament injury but has since been one of the team's top servers while also leading the defense.
"Consistency in our lineup has helped," she said. "I feel like this is definitely one of the best teams we've had in my four years, especially if we keep playing the way we are right now. We're playing well as a team."
DeLucia's injury occurred in June while playing softball when she stumbled on the way to first base after hitting the ball.
Although she didn't need surgery, the injury required significant rest. DeLucia is one of five seniors with Alyssa Belkofer, Rebecca Huff, Camila Quinones and Audrey Rettstatt.
Rettstatt did not play last season but has returned to be a key complement offensively to Quinones, a 6-foot-1 middle hitter who made first-team all-district last season.
DeLucia has led a defense that has been missing injured junior libero Emily Griffith.
Junior Ali Spayde has taken over at setter this season.
The district tournament draw is Sunday, Oct. 7.
"I think the girls just got focused after our start," Liston said. "Camila is having a really strong year and Rebecca Huff has been a really consistent player for four years. Caylan DeLucia was out all summer and just came back two weeks ago, and she's been one of our best servers."
Boys soccer team geared for postseason
The boys soccer team went through a stretch from Sept. 8-20 in which it went 1-2-2 before recovering with back-to-back wins over Fairbanks (5-1 on Sept. 22) and Grandview (2-1 on Sept. 25). Grandview entered its game against the Warriors with a 10-0-1 record.
The Warriors, who were third in last week's Division III state poll, close the regular season with home games Thursday, Oct. 4, against Hilliard Davidson and Saturday, Oct. 6, against Olentangy before playing Oct. 11 at Upper Arlington.
"We knew (Grandview) was going to be a challenge," coach Dan Roads said. "This is sort of a game-changer for us. We had 150 passes in the game compared to them having about 60. We've got to get as many kids on the ball as possible and we had shot after shot."
While senior twins George and Albert Miller and classmate Quinn Miller have continued to lead the offense, the Warriors' goals against Grandview were scored by junior defender Mason Highman and freshman midfielder Joe Long.
Senior midfielder Riley Windsor is another player who has become a standout, according to Roads. Windsor joined the program last year after transferring from Delaware.
"Mason has just made some adjustments," Roads said. "Joe's a work in progress and (against Grandview) he was a hero. Riley Windsor has taken on a really key role. He just wants to play every minute of every game."
Season ends for boys golf team
The boys golf team's season ended Sept. 25 when it finished fourth (345) in the 12-team Division III sectional tournament at Pine Hill.
Newark Catholic and Tree of Life each shot 330 to advance to district, with Newark Catholic winning the sectional title based on its fifth-player score. Fisher Catholic was third (341).
Junior Robert Maloney led the Warriors with a 77 but missed advancing individually by two strokes. Also competing were senior Jacob Deskins (95), juniors Tyler Hood (90) and Graham Montgomery (83) and freshman Jared Montgomery (96).
One of the highlights of the season, according to first-year coach Tom Burns, came Sept. 22 when the Warriors placed fourth (344) in the CCL tournament at The Players Club at Foxfire behind champion St. Charles (330).
"We shot better there than we did (at sectional)," Burns said. "The last week we had played pretty well, but we need a couple guys to get more consistent. On our best day we were one of the best teams in the Central District. If we have a few guys make normal improvements, there's going to be some competition for spots on the back half of the varsity team next year. We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores average 45 to 50 for nine holes."