This time, the Olentangy High School boys volleyball team didn’t leave Westerville Central looking to next year.

The Braves still have next weekend to prepare for.

Olentangy won the program’s first regional championship May 25, defeating seventh-seeded Olentangy Liberty 22-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-8 in a Division I East Region final.

Jamir Benton had 11 kills, Mitchell Postak 10, Kurt Freeman nine and Aaric Gossett eight for the second-seeded Braves, who committed 16 unforced errors in the first game but ensured that the next three games looked more like the two regular-season matches they swept from the Patriots in OCC-Buckeye Division play.

“We came together very well. We brought the energy for the rest of the (match after the first game),” Benton said. “I had an error on the very first play of the game … but eventually we just started smashing them.”

The Braves had lost in regional finals each of the past two years on the same floor, to Hilliard Darby in 2016 and OCC-Buckeye rival Westerville South last year.

Olentangy improved to 23-4 and will play Cincinnati Moeller or Loveland in a state quarterfinal June 2 at Capital University. The semifinals and final are June 3.

Trent Trees had 24 assists and Bentley Azbell had 23 digs for the Braves.

“We passed the ball really well in the first (game) and that helped set up our offense,” said Liberty coach Dave Hale, whose team finished 14-7. “They’re a team that if you let them go on the offensive, let them attack, they can throw the ball down pretty hard and there’s not a whole lot you can do.”

Hilliard Darby 3, Dublin Jerome 0

Top-seeded Darby defeated fifth-seeded Jerome 25-22, 25-11, 25-10 in a Division I East Region final May 25 at Westerville Central to advance to state for the 13th consecutive season.

The Panthers improved to 19-8 and will play Cincinnati Elder or Cincinnati St. Xavier in a state quarterfinal June 2 at Capital.

“Jerome gave us a bit of a challenge in the first game, but we stayed focused and competed as a team and that carried us through,” Darby coach Evan Bell said. “… This gets us one step closer to our big goal. We’re fired up about the opportunity to get back to Capital.”

Darby won state titles in 2013 and 2015 and was state runner-up last season, falling to Cleveland St. Ignatius 25-18, 26-24, 25-19 in the final.

“I think everyone is playing well in general, but tonight I’d have to say our setter, Noah Platfoot, was excellent and made wise decisions, and Dominic Melchiorre was strong in the middle and Collin Buelow was strong on the outside,” Bell said.

Jerome finished 18-6.

—Brad Emerine

Division II

St. Charles 3, Watterson 0

Top-seeded St. Charles beat third-seeded Watterson 25-20, 25-19, 25-11 in a Division II East Region final May 25 at Westerville Central to win its first regional title since 2011.

The Cardinals improved to 22-5 and advanced to play Cincinnati La Salle or Hamilton Badin in a state semifinal June 2 at Capital.

“One of the biggest things is keeping a steady mindset no matter what the score is,” St. Charles coach Ned Gruber said. “We don’t go out and play with a lot of bravado. We just go out and execute.”

Nathan Lancia led the Cardinals with 14 kills and two blocks. Alex McLane added 12 kills and two aces, while Jake Franz had 27 assists and four kills and Kevin Gallagher had 22 digs.

Watterson finished 15-7.

—Scott Hennen

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