The Division I regional tournament was filled with drama for the Olentangy Liberty High School girls volleyball team.
The Patriots survived a five-set match to beat three-time defending regional champion Dublin Coffman on Nov. 1 and ran into another difficult opponent Nov. 3 when they faced Olentangy Orange for the third time this season.
As was the case in two OCC-Buckeye Division matches, Liberty came out ahead against the Pioneers in a regional final, pulling out a thrilling 31-29, 21-25, 25-17, 13-25, 15-13 victory at Worthington Kilbourne to advance to the state tournament for the first time.
“We really worked hard and it was a tough one,” Patriots junior outside hitter Claranne Fechter said. “We really fought hard at the end, especially when it was close. Our defense picked up and we actually starting putting balls down.”
Liberty improved to 27-0 and will play defending state champion Cincinnati Ursuline Academy (25-2) in a state semifinal at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 at Wright State.
In the fifth set against Orange, Liberty trailed 7-4, 8-5, 10-7 and 11-8 before finally seizing the momentum.
After a serving error by the Pioneers cut the Patriots’ deficit to 12-11, Taylor Karlo scored to tie the game at 12 and Fechter followed with back-to-back kills.
Orange cut it to 14-13, but a block by Fechter ended the match.More video
•Olentangy Liberty's Claranne Fechter
Carrigan O’Reilly had 44 assists, Addie Evans had 22 digs and London Davis had 16 kills to lead Orange, which finished 21-6.
“It was a battle,” Pioneers coach Katie Duy said. “They’re a great team. They played a great match and give a lot of credit to them. We made some adjustments and a couple balls went their way and they finished it off.”Division II
Hartley 3, Gnadenhutten Indian Valley 0
Hartley is heading to the Division II state tournament for the second time in three seasons and seventh time overall.
The Hawks beat Indian Valley 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18 in a regional final Nov. 3 at Heath to improve to 21-6.
“I was really worried about this match because Indian Valley has two kids that are really athletic and it’s not conventional volleyball,” Hartley coach Mike Rahe said. “Whether it’s a push or whether it’s a dump, they don’t get up and swing.”
The Hawks will play Mentor Lake Catholic (16-11) in a state semifinal at 2 p.m. Nov. 9 at Wright State.
According to Rahe, Colleen Sweeney, Ashley Tipton and Alexa Wilson were among the Hawks’ standouts against Indian Valley.