The Delaware Christian girls volleyball team didn't back down from challenges in the Division IV district tournament.

The Delaware Christian girls volleyball team didn't back down from challenges in the Division IV district tournament.

After injuries late in the regular season forced first-year coach Jessica Miser to adjust her lineup, the Eagles reached a semifinal before losing to third-seeded Fisher Catholic 25-19, 25-23, 25-15 last Thursday at Worthington Christian.

"We made some mistakes late in the second game and had a chance to win it," Miser said. "If we win the second game, that changes the momentum and puts us in good position to put all of the pressure one them."

Delaware Christian, which finished 15-9, had upset seventh-seeded Danville 19-25, 25-20, 12-25, 25-18, 15-11 on Oct. 18 at Olentangy Liberty.

"After we beat Danville, I just knew the girls wouldn't come out against Fisher Catholic and be intimidated," Miser said. "I'm so proud of these girls. You never want to lose, but I'm proud of the way they played all season and in the tournament. If you're going to lose, you hope you go down playing your best."

Miser was thrilled with the improvement her team made in digging.

"We worked real hard all week to prepare for Fisher Catholic's powerful hitting and just digging them up," she said. "We did a tremendous job of that and made Fisher Catholic work hard to beat us."

Against Danville, the Eagles began slowly and were a little tentative.

"We were a little intimidated early, but the girls played really well, especially the last two games," Miser said. "The girls were on fire with their hitting -- Heidi Evans, Caitlin Newell and Jackie Miser -- all were fantastic. Mary Zimmerman was strong at setting. She's really, really improved throughout the season.

"We rallied to win the fourth game and Newell served the last seven or eight points to give us momentum heading into the fifth game, which was point to point."

•The boys soccer team fell one game short of its tournament goal when it lost to Horizon Science 2-1 in the second round of the Division III district tournament Oct. 18.

The Eagles finished 8-8-1 overall.

"After the tournament draw, we set a goal of winning two games and reaching the (district) semifinal against Worthington Christian," coach Aaron Welsh said. "Unfortunately, we had two lucky goals scored against us. It's disheartening, but it happens like that in soccer sometimes."

Horizon Science scored both of its goals in the first half and the host Eagles made it 2-1 with 22 minutes, 46 seconds remaining when Jeremy Buchanan converted on an assist from Austin Hill. All three goals were scored into the wind.

Delaware Christian had the better opportunities in the second half with the wind at its back. Evan Callis hit the crossbar in the 16th minute and two close chances were denied with 9:45 and 1:03 remaining.

"In the second half, in addition to the wind, we changed our formation and got more pressure," Welsh said. "(Hill) was getting eaten alive in the first half and marked by several defenders, so we needed to give him some help."

The Eagles opened 4-1 before facing the tough portion of their schedule. After his team dipped to 5-6-1 and lost confidence, Welsh changed the formation and his players responded by going 3-2 the rest of the way, with the losses being to Worthington Christian (1-0 on Oct. 2) and Horizon Science.

Delaware Christian opened the tournament by beating Liberty Union 2-1 in overtime Oct. 14 when Hill scored goals off assists from Arvin Griffin and Callis.

Hill was the Player of the Year in the MOCAL and was first-team all-district. Callis and Rob Baeppler were second-team all-league and Buchanan was honorable mention.

The Eagles finished third at 3-2 in the MOCAL behind Tree of Life (5-0) and Madison Christian (4-1).

Baeppler was the lone senior on the roster.

"He will be missed big-time next year," Welsh said. "But having everyone else back is a great feeling. This year was about improving our skills, working together and getting our base structure down. We'll work hard on conditioning next year and continue to work as a team."

Expected to return are juniors John Bocanegra, Callis, Austin Conn, Quinn Davenport, Arvin Griffin, Josh Griffin, Hill, Daniel Kayano and Ben Wells, sophomores Jason Art, Brandon Carrol and Paul Haberman and freshmen Buchanan, Trent Martin and Michael Sullivan.

"The difference between the beginning and end of this year is tremendous," Welsh said. "We want to start next year at, or even ahead of, the level we finished this year."