The Hilliard Darby High School boys volleyball team took care of business, barely breaking a sweat in a 25-10, 25-11, 25-9 win over Lakewood St. Edward in a Division I state quarterfinal June 3 at Capital University.
The Panthers improved to 24-4 and advanced to play Cincinnati Elder (23-4) in a state semifinal at noon June 4. The state final is a 4 p.m.
“We’re on a mission and it’s something the seniors have been gearing toward for six years now,” said outside hitter Brad Brinkerhoff, who was named Division I state Player of the Year and totaled nine kills and two blocks against St. Edward, which finished 9-9. “We train for these moments and we’re nearly there, so I don’t think we’ll have a lapse in focus when we’re this close now.”
Darby is looking to reach the state final for the fourth time in six years. The Panthers, who have made 12 consecutive state tournament appearances, won championships in 2013 and 2015 and were runners-up in 2012.
“We’ve worked way too hard in the gym and we need to give 100 percent all the time no matter the score,” said middle blocker Mason Maldovan, a second-team all-state honoree who had eight kills, two blocks and an ace against St. Edward. “Honestly, we’re playing really well right now, but, no, I didn’t expect (the score) to be this (lopsided) today. They have some very good players, but we did a lot of things well.”
Collin Buelow added six kills and Robert Bowling had five kills, a block and an ace for the Panthers. In addition, freshman setter Noah Platfoot ran a smooth and balanced offense, and also had two kills, a block and an ace.
“Our hitting and serving took them out of their offense and we benefitted with their unforced errors,” Darby coach Bryan Webb said. “It was a pretty good day for us.”
Darby defeated Elder 25-17, 25-15, 29-27 on May 6.
The other state semifinal pits Cincinnati St. Xavier (22-4) against Cleveland St. Ignatius (21-3). Darby lost to St. Xavier 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-18 on April 29, but has not played St. Ignatius this season.
Cleveland St. Ignatius 3, Westerville South 0
South lost to St. Ignatius 25-18, 25-19, 25-16 in a Division I state quarterfinal June 3 at Capital to finish 21-7.
“It’s a great feeling to be here,” said South coach Vicki Phillips, whose team was making its first state appearance. “The seniors all just worked so hard to come to this point in their high school careers. … They played like they have (all season). We just fell a little short today. It is what it is.”
Roman Swabinsky had 17 assists and five kills to lead South, which fell behind early in each game. Luke Carpenter, Deion Woodson and Oliver Miller each had six kills and Colin Blaser had nine digs.
Rich Holzheimer had 41 assists and Daniel Michals had 14 kills to lead St. Ignatius.
South played St. Ignatius twice during the regular season, winning 19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 on April 29 and losing 23-25, 25-21, 27-25, 25-23 on May 6.
—Frank DiRennaDivision II
Akron Hoban 3, Dublin Scioto 1
Scioto lost to Hoban 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-14 in a Division II state semifinal June 3 at Capital to finish 20-4.
Hoban advanced to play Kettering Alter in the state final June 4.
Ross Esterline had 25 assists and Derek Topp had 10 kills to lead the Irish, who were making their first state appearance since 2003. Cameron Balla added six kills and James Chappelear had four kills.
After losing the first two games, Scioto won the third behind late kills by Topp and Chappelear.
The Irish never led in the fourth game, however. After opening an 11-5 advantage, Hoban never led by fewer than four points.
“(Hoban) was unbelievable,” Scioto coach Doug Arden said. “There’s a reason they’re a team everybody looks at every year and a team everybody looked at this year. They got after us pretty good and it took everything we had to stay in it, and that wasn’t enough. They had a heck of a day.”