On the way to tying Olentangy for third in the OCC-Cardinal Division, the Westerville North High School girls volleyball team lost twice to eventual champion Westerville Central and runner-up Olentangy Liberty and split with the Braves.

On the way to tying Olentangy for third in the OCC-Cardinal Division, the Westerville North High School girls volleyball team lost twice to eventual champion Westerville Central and runner-up Olentangy Liberty and split with the Braves.

The Warriors will have an opportunity to avenge one of those losses when they play Liberty in a Division I district semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at Big Walnut.

North, which lost to the Patriots 25-12, 16-25, 25-11, 25-15 on Sept. 8 and 25-19, 25-16, 28-26 on Oct. 4, has a pair of strong district tournament performances to build on heading into the matchup.

Despite being the 15th seed, the Warriors swept eighth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 25-21, 25-23, 25-18 on Oct. 20 at Columbus East. They then defeated 12th-seeded Mount Vernon 25-22, 18-25, 25-16, 27-25 in the second round on Oct. 22 at Jonathan Alder to set up a third meeting with Liberty.

The Patriots are led by the OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year, outside hitter Morgan Tyree.

"As long as my girls show up to play, they can win," coach Maggie Stern said. "(Liberty has) a great outside hitter and they run the middle the way it's supposed to be run."

Despite Kilbourne's higher seed, Stern doesn't consider her team's first-round win to be a huge upset. Sara Marzola, Amber Salsburey and Anneke Price led the way for the Warriors.

Marzola believes the second loss to Liberty in league play helped provide postseason motivation for the Warriors.

"We were hoping to not lose as many (matches) as we did during the season, but I think we're all happy with (how we're playing in the tournament)," Marzola said. "When we're playing like we want, we're running a faster offense."

"I felt like we should have been right there at around 10 or 11 (seed-wise)," Stern said. "Our goal was to attack the middle and use our middles as well as we could. (Marzola has done) a really good job mixing it up."

•Central moved closer to its goal of a Division I district championship by opening the tournament with back-to-back wins.

The Warhawks played Watterson in a district semifinal Oct. 25 at Big Walnut, with the winner playing in a district final at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at Big Walnut against second-seeded Newark or Grove City. Central is the fourth seed.

Last season, Central beat Newark 25-21, 26-24, 25-23 in a district semifinal before losing to eventual state runner-up Dublin Coffman 25-10, 25-10, 25-13 in a district final.

Newark was 20-3 before playing Grove City in a district semifinal on Oct. 25 and is led by junior Anni Thomasson. A 6-foot-1 outside hitter, Thomasson has verbally committed to play for the University of Kentucky.

Grove City was 16-8 before playing Newark.

"(Thomasson) is tall, athletic and has been playing since she was a kid," coach Shaun Servick said. "They've got a good coach and a good program. We beat them last year, but we can't just think we'll go in there and beat them (easily) if we play them."

Central opened the postseason with wins over Westland (25-11, 25-13, 25-8 on Oct. 20) and Delaware (25-12, 25-21, 25-18 on Oct. 22) to advance to the match against Watterson.

According to Servick, Adrienne Agee has continued to lead the attack and Jayla McCrary and Hannah Hetterscheidt have been the top servers. Setters Kelly Piper and Megan Mills also have been standouts, Servick said.

"We're still trying to get better," Servick said. "We worked on some things (in our first two tournament matches) and most of our struggles were with the new stuff we've been putting in. We're trying to make our offense faster. I'm OK with that as long as we clean it up."