Sophie Dahn has played a major role in the rise of the Olentangy Orange High School girls volleyball program.

The senior defensive specialist served 11 consecutive points as a freshman in 2014 to help secure the Pioneers' first postseason victory, a 25-23, 22-25, 21-25, 26-24, 15-10 decision over Hilliard Bradley in the first round. They went on to finish 14-11 for the program's first winning season.

Dahn has started the last three seasons. Orange won its first league championship by sharing the OCC-Capital Division title with Olentangy in 2015, and the Pioneers won their first outright league title and first district championship last fall by defeating Watterson 25-23, 25-22, 25-19.

On Oct. 10, they won their third consecutive league championship and second OCC-Buckeye title in a row by defeating Westerville North 25-17, 25-10, 25-5. They tied Liberty for the title at 9-1.

"In four years this program has come unbelievably far," Dahn said. "We have come from not being able to have a winning record to having our first winning record, winning OCC and then winning district. We broke so many records last year and that was just amazing to be a part of."

The Pioneers were 18-4 overall before opening the Division I district tournament Oct. 18 against 41st-seeded Westerville South in a second-round match. They were seeded fourth.

"Last year we went through so much blood, tears (and) sweat and through everything we stayed together," Dahn said. "This year, we are prepared for the worst. We are prepared to be down 0-2 and come back and win in five games. We were prepared to play those tough teams and win because we knew all of the hard work we put in would pay off."

That was the case Oct. 9 against DeSales, a program that Orange defeated for the first time last season. After losing the first two games (25-13, 25-8), the Pioneers rallied to win the next three (25-12, 25-18, 15-12).

Coach Katie Duy said Dahn is integral to helping her team excel in tough situations like that.

"Sophie has great tenacity and she never gives up," Duy said. "No matter what the situation, I think the girls rely on her a lot on the floor, especially when we're facing adversity. She brings a maturity and a focus that they can rely on."

If the Pioneers won their postseason opener, they would play 18th-seeded New Albany or 19th-seeded Lancaster in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Franklin Heights.

The district final is Oct. 28 at Franklin Heights.

"We are expected to do more this year. We're expected to come out and win," said Dahn, who has committed to Ashland. "I have 100 percent faith we can do what we have our minds set to do. We want to go further than we did last season and make it to the (state tournament)."

Girls golfers look to defend state title

The girls golf team won the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek, giving it a chance to defend the school's only state team title Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Ohio State's Gray Course.

On the same course last season, Orange and Medina Highland each shot 311 and the Pioneers won the state title by having the better fifth-player score.

Orange shot 304 at district to qualify for state along with runner-up Dublin Jerome (307).

"I feel like district is always the tough one because you know it's only two teams getting through (to state) and if you screw up on this one day that could be it for the season," coach Cari DiAngelis said.

"At state, the pressure lifts a little. Since we have been there two times now, I think they will go in and play their game."

Ashley Au was co-medalist at district, tying Gahanna's Kayla Davis as both shot 71.

"I was really steady on my ball-striking," Au said. "I hit a lot of the greens. I two-putted pretty much every hole, but I was able to finish strong."

Riley Dean (74) was next for the Pioneers, followed by Alyssa Kim (76), Natalia Sompolvorachai (83) and Emily Fisher (85).

Wintering runs to victory in league meet

Tommy Wintering of the boys cross country team won the OCC-Buckeye meet Oct. 14 at Hilliard Darby in 16 minutes, 17.5 seconds as the Pioneers finished second (46 points) behind Liberty (31) and ahead of South (84), Olentangy (103), Central (115) and North (172).

Andrew Schroff (sixth, 16:56.39) was next for Orange, followed by Jack Schiefelbein (eighth, 17:05.56), Tyler King (14th, 17:25.85), Brant Yocum (19th, 17:39.93), Cole Benishek (22nd, 17:43.14) and Cody Moore (33rd, 18:12.7).

The girls team was runner-up (56) behind Liberty (36) and ahead of Olentangy (62), Central (83), North (134) and South (174).

Allison Guagenti (third, 18:37.69) led Orange, followed by Lindsay Ott (fifth, 19:22.96), Zoe Bond (seventh, 19:28.4), Grace Frye (10th, 21:07.34), Olivia Dieckmann (23rd, 21:27.42), Paige Benecke (25th, 21:41.21) and Natalie Johnson (36th, 22:19.35).

Boys golf coach pleased with season

The boys golf team finished sixth (317) in the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Apple Valley as Jerome (294) and Liberty (307) advanced to state.

Junior Alex Cabungcal and freshman Jonathan Green both shot 76 to lead Orange, followed by freshman Nathan Brown (79) and seniors Nate English (86) and Connor Cummins (93).

"Our building opened in 2008 and we made state at the Division II level (that year)," second-year coach Andrew Fraley said.

"The following year we moved to the Division I level and we've never had a team make district since that time, so we are incredibly proud that this team made it to the district level and played very well. It's huge. We were competitive and we met all our goals."

Orange shot 311 to finish third behind champion Liberty (304) in a sectional Oct. 3 at Turnberry.

The Pioneers were fourth (10-10) in the OCC-Buckeye behind Liberty (20-0), Olentangy (14-6) and Westerville Central (12-8) and ahead of Westerville North (4-16) and Westerville South (0-20).

English was second-team all-league and Green was honorable mention all-league.

Doubles team falls short of state tourney

The doubles team of juniors Hannah Logan and Kortney Reed lost its Division I district opener to Pickerington Central's Semmie Moore and Jillian Stang 6-3, 7-5 on Oct. 12 at Bradley, ending the season for the girls tennis team.

Logan and Reed finished third in a sectional Oct. 6 and 7 at Reynoldsburg.

Playing singles at sectional were sophomores Grace Bezold and Erin Storrer and freshman Caroline Sproule. Junior Livie Mauger and sophomore Abby Butler were the other doubles team.

The Pioneers finished 15-3 overall and were second (4-1) in the OCC-Buckeye behind Liberty (5-0) and ahead of Olentangy (3-2), Central (2-3), North (1-4) and South (0-5).

Boys soccer team opens tourney

The 19th-seeded boys soccer team was 6-7-3 before opening the Division I district tournament Oct. 18 at home against 35th-seeded Dublin Scioto.

The winner plays Saturday, Oct. 21, at home against 47th-seeded Newark, and that winner advances to a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, against top-seeded Liberty, 32nd-seeded Central Crossing or 40th-seeded Whetstone at the home of the better seed.

Orange lost to Liberty 4-0 on Sept. 12 in OCC-Buckeye play.

The district final is Oct. 28 at a site to be determined.

The Pioneers finished 1-3-1 in the league after defeating North 2-1 on Oct. 10. Joey Brooks and Simon Tesfagaber scored.

Girls soccer team set for postseason

The ninth-seeded girls soccer team is 9-6-1 and opens the Division I district tournament Thursday, Oct. 19, at home against 27th-seeded Pickerington Central in a second-round game.

The winner plays second-seeded Dublin Coffman or 41st-seeded Briggs in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the better seed.

The district final is Oct. 28 at a site to be determined.

Delaney Earl and Aurelia Johnson both scored two goals as the Pioneers closed the regular season with a 5-0 win over Canal Winchester on Oct. 14.

Postseason begins for field hockey team

The ninth-seeded field hockey team was 8-7-1 before opening the district tournament Oct. 17 against seventh-seeded Upper Arlington.

The winner advanced to a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at second-seeded Columbus Academy or 15th-seeded Coffman.

The district final is Oct. 28 at Liberty.

The Pioneers defeated Hartley 2-1 on Oct. 11 as Hannah Lower and Sydney Lowry both scored.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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