The Delaware Hayes High School girls volleyball team posted double-digit wins for the second season in a row and for just the third time since before 2000.

The Delaware Hayes High School girls volleyball team posted double-digit wins for the second season in a row and for just the third time since before 2000.

The Pacers finished 12-9 overall after losing to ninth-seeded Upper Arlington 29-27, 25-18, 12-25, 25-18 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20 at Big Walnut.

Delaware will lose seven seniors, including five who helped the team go 15-7 last season after the program had just one winning season the previous eight years.

"I'm proud to be part of a senior class that helped turn the program around and I believe the underclassmen will continue to maintain things and hopefully build on what we've been able to achieve," said senior outside-hitter Ashley Sprau, who will play at Ohio Dominican next season. "They saw what it takes to be successful, the time and effort we put in."

The Pacers finished 2-21 in 2006, the first season under coach Doug Franz and 3-18 in 2007. They went 0-10 in the OCC-Central Division both seasons and lost 25 consecutive league matches before winning their conference opener last season.

Delaware went 8-4 in the OCC-Capital last season to finish third and followed that by tying for third place this season with a 7-5 mark.

"This senior class helped us get over the hump," Franz said. "They took us from a combined five wins in two seasons to 15 and 12 wins the past two years. That's a big leap and they deserve the credit, because they put in the work during the offseason by playing club and doing things together. They can pass the torch with pride.

"The beauty of it is that they're great people who want to see the underclassmen carry if further. They put the responsibility on the underclassmen."

Other senior starters included middle hitter Liz Palmer, outside hitter Megan Swan, libero Hilary McGinnis and right-side hitter Hannah Howser. Rounding out the class were defensive specialists Mo Flahive and Emily Stout.

Sprau was named a first-team all-OCC-Capital and first-team all-district selection. She had 248 kills (3.4 per game in 72 games), 54 blocks and 36 aces. Palmer was second-team all-league and second-team all-district. She had 214 kills (3.0) and a team-high 140 blocks, including 61 solo blocks.

Swan had 137 kills in her 66 games (2.1) with 41 blocks and 20 aces. She was second-team all-league. McGinnis had 274 digs (3.8). Howser added 160 digs, 48 blocks and 38 assists. Flahive was the team's OCC-Capital scholar-athlete honoree.

"I really hope what we've done is just the start of where the program is headed," Palmer said. "I have faith in the younger girls that they won't let it slip. I think if they come back and follow our lead in terms of work and effort, they'll come back and win some tournament matches next season."

That's the one downfall during the Pacers' resurgence. They have not won a postseason match since 2004. That season, Delaware was seeded sixth and beat No. 11 Westerville North 25-16, 25-22, 20-25, 25-20 in the second round before losing to fourth-seeded Dublin Scioto 25-17, 25-21, 25-23 in a semifinal to finish 15-8.

After opening 3-5 this year, the Pacers gathered momentum for the postseason by winning nine of their final 12 in the regular season.

"In the last two weeks of the regular season, we started to make that push," Franz said. "The girls did a great job in the second round of league play and then we finished second in the Pickerington North tournament, which had some pretty strong teams. So, we entered (the district tournament) confident and comfortable, but just tried to play too perfect rather than relaxing and playing our game."

Big Walnut went 12-0 to win the league, ahead of Hilliard Bradley, which was 10-2. Delaware tied New Albany at 7-5. Olentangy Orange and Mount Vernon both were 3-9 and Watkins Memorial was 0-12.

The Pacers and Eagles split league matches and both were swept by Big Walnut and Bradley.

Delaware lost to New Albany 25-14, 23-25, 13-25, 26-24, 15-9 in the first round and won 22-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-13 in the rematch. It lost to Big Walnut in four games in the first round and three games in the second. Against Bradley, the Pacers lost in three games the first time before falling 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 23-25, 15-9 in the rematch.

Expected to return are juniors Chelsea Amato (defensive specialist), Abby Kremer (middle hitter) and Carly Shaw (setter). Kremer and Shaw were starters. Shaw was honorable mention all-league. She had 592 assists (8.2), 54 blocks and a served at 97.7 percent.

Kremer totaled 78 kills and 59 blocks.

"The underclassmen are very coachable, have experience and understand how we want to do things," Franz said. "Plus we had some talent in the j.v. team that we know can move up and help right away."

Hayes' Keshawan Ximines (10) and Liz Palmer go up for a block against New Albany's Madi Miller on Oct. 13. The Pacers have posted back-to-back winning seasons.

At a glance

•Record: 12-9 overall, 7-5 OCC-Capital (tied for third)

•Seniors lost: Mo Flahive, Hannah Howser, Hilary McGinnis, Liz Palmer, Ashley Sprau, Emily Stout and Megan Swan

•Key returnees: Chelsea Amato, Abby Kremer and Carly Shaw