Dublin Scioto High School boys volleyball coach Doug Arden is pleased with his team's development this season despite its record.
The Irish, who are 3-14 overall, are seeded seventh of 10 teams in the Division II East Region tournament and play fourth-seeded Briggs on Saturday, May 19, in a quarterfinal at St. Charles. The winner plays top-seeded St. Charles, eighth-seeded Northland or 10th-seeded Eastmoor Academy in a semifinal Tuesday, May 22, at Worthington Kilbourne.
The regional final is May 25 at Westerville Central.
Last season, Scioto made its first state tournament appearance since 2003, falling to Akron Hoban 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-14 in a semifinal to finish 20-4. The Irish lost 10 players from a year ago to graduation and returned only two players with limited varsity experience in senior outside hitter Cole Hussey and junior setter Cameron Gastaldo.
"We started the season with a lot of guys that we felt played the same position, so they've had to learn where they belong on the court and how to work together a little bit," Arden said. "So there's been a lot of improvement in what the big picture actually looks like for us as a team."
The Irish's 15-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-25, 15-13 victory over Thomas Worthington on May 1 in an OCC-Cardinal Division match is evidence of their improvement, as they had lost in five games to the Cardinals on April 10.
Scioto went 3-9 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish sixth, behind champion Hilliard Darby (12-0).
"We've built a lot since the beginning of the season," Gastaldo said. "We improved a lot and anyone in this gym can see that. It makes me feel really good, because being a junior, it makes me really excited for next year because we're going to see what else can we do, what more can we do. I see us growing in practice every day and it makes me excited and happy to work with these guys."
Scioto was swept in the Battle of Dublin on May 4 at home, losing to Jerome 25-12, 25-23 and Coffman 25-22, 25-17. The Celtics defeated the Shamrocks 25-23, 21-25, 26-24 to win the event.
The Irish also lost twice to Jerome in OCC-Cardinal play, including 25-17, 27-25, 25-13 on May 8 in their league finale.
Scioto closed the regular season with a 25-15, 25-12, 25-18 loss to St. Charles on May 10.
"We're getting much better," sophomore outside hitter Dedar Mergaye said. "We want to finish off strong and have fun out there."
Through 16 matches, Mergaye led the Irish in kills (68) and digs (38), Gastaldo led in assists (120) and aces (13) and senior middle hitter Youssef Nagaty led in blocks (10).
"Last year was really fun," Arden said. "This has been really fun in a different way because everybody is brand new. You saw that coming a little bit that it wasn't going to be like last year. There's a little frustration. ... These guys have had a bunch of chances. They work really hard, they play really well. You want to see them get rewarded for that sometimes and it doesn't always happen on the scoreboard."
Track teams competing in district meet
The boys and girls track and field teams are competing this week in the Division I, district 1 meet at Darby.
The meet began continues Thursday, May 17, and concludes Saturday, May 19, with the top four finishers in each event advancing to regional Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North.
Scioto competed in the OCC-Cardinal meet May 10 and 12 at Coffman.
Finishing first for the girls team were Folake Olujide-Ajibade in the 100-meter hurdles (14.93 seconds) and the 400 relay of Foluke Olujide-Ajibade, Brooklyn Richardson, Meg Tysen and Erin Holsinger (50.66).
Scioto scored 116 points to finish third, behind Darby (146.5) and Thomas (141) and ahead of Delaware (93), Jerome (63.5), Kilbourne (39.5) and Hilliard Bradley (31.5).
Winning for the boys team were the 3,200 relay of Cesar Arellano, Trevor Page, Sam Thomas and Tyler Mielke (8:10.31) and Max Eveland in the pole vault (13 feet).
Scioto scored 77.5 points to finish fifth, behind Bradley (143.5), Darby (128.5), Thomas (104.5) and Jerome (98) and ahead of Kilbourne (42) and Delaware (35).
Doubles team advances to district
Kunal Aria and Santhusht Prasad of the boys tennis team advanced to the Division I district tournament in doubles after finishing fourth at a sectional held May 10 and 12 at Upper Arlington.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles qualified for district Thursday, May 17, at Hilliard Bradley, and Saturday, May 19, at UA. At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to state May 25 and 26 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Aria and Prasad, who were paired together late in the regular season, lost to Thomas' Deep Gupta and Aaron Zeller 6-2, 6-1 in the third-place match to finish 3-2 at sectional.
Also at sectional, Joe Hill went 2-1 and Shivam Patel and Jonathan Steinke each went 1-1 in singles, while Dylan Mathess and Conner Page went 1-1 in doubles.
Postseason begins for girls lacrosse team
The sixth-seeded girls lacrosse team was 11-3 before playing 10th-seeded Darby in its Division I, Region 3 tournament opener May 15.
The winner plays at fourth-seeded Springboro or 13th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in a quarterfinal Friday, May 18. That winner likely plays at top-seeded UA or eighth-seeded Pickerington North in a semifinal Monday, May 21. UA is the three-time defending state champion.
The regional final is May 24.
The Irish won three consecutive games heading into the postseason, including a 12-6 win over Big Walnut on May 9.
Allie Vogel had three goals and Jessie Hartman, Kiersten Jennings and Ashleigh Rothe each scored two against the Golden Eagles while Aubrey Webb had 15 saves.
Boys lacrosse team opens postseason
The 13th-seeded boys lacrosse team was 3-14 before playing second-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the first round of the Division I, Region 1 tournament May 15.
The winner plays host to seventh-seeded Medina or eighth-seeded Olentangy Orange in a quarterfinal Friday, May 18. That winner plays host to third-seeded Olentangy, fifth-seeded Whitehouse Anthony Wayne, ninth-seeded Perrysburg or 10th-seeded Strongsville in a semifinal Tuesday, May 22.
The regional final is May 25.
Baseball team edged by Golden Bears
The 30th-seeded baseball team lost 5-4 in nine innings at fifth-seeded UA in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 9 to finish 14-12 overall.
"It's been rough, but no regrets. I'm proud of the guys," coach Ryan Longbrake said. "They played their tails off. We wanted that win really badly. We prepared for it mentally on the practice field. We felt confident and we played a really good game. We had our chances and we probably should have won the game with the chances we had, so that's what stings the most."
Scioto, which defeated 29th-seeded Whetstone 5-0 in the first round May 7, had an eight-game winning streak late in the regular season. The Irish went 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Bradley for second, behind Darby (9-3) and ahead of Thomas and Kilbourne (both 6-6), Jerome (4-8) and Delaware (3-9).
"We ended the year on a fantastic note," said Longbrake, whose team is losing six seniors. "We finished second in our league, which is huge behind Darby, who's a very good baseball team. Hopefully, we can continue that momentum and win the league next year. That eight-game win streak was awesome."
Senior Matt Magno (C) and junior Kyron Rogers (P/SS/OF) each batted .407, followed by junior Aidan Lao (.352, 2B/P/C) and seniors Louis Lipthratt (.333, SS/P) and Nick Hopper (.316, 1B). Lao led the team in runs scored (19) and RBI (18).
Others eligible to return are juniors Braytton Krock (P/OF), Cayson Pfeiffer (C/OF), Chad Ray (3B/P/OF) and Andrew Whetstone (P/1B) and sophomores Nash Densel (P/OF), Maurice Fernandez (3B/1B/P) and Marty Neuhardt (1B/P/OF).
Softball team ousted by Warhawks
The 25th-seeded softball team lost at 19th-seeded Westerville Central 12-1 in five innings in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 9 to finish 10-13. Scioto trailed 7-0 after the first inning.
"You have to come out better than that in a game like this," coach Larry Howell said. "You can't start that way. We didn't hit like I thought we could."