The Olentangy Orange High School girls volleyball team seems to be at ease heading into its Division I regional semifinal, which has been a difficult hurdle the past two seasons.
The fourth-seeded Pioneers won their third consecutive district championship Oct. 27 at Whitehall, defeating 13th-seeded Watkins Memorial 25-19, 20-25, 25-15, 25-15 to improve to 20-5.
Orange lost to Gahanna 25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 25-12, 15-7 in a regional semifinal in 2016 and Dublin Coffman 25-15, 26-24, 25-11 in that round last fall.
The Pioneers get their chance at redemption when they face Watterson on Thursday, Nov. 1, at Worthington Kilbourne. Senior setter Carrigan O'Reilly said the team is ready.
"I think it's the opportunity that we have," she said. "We're finally realizing that this is our last season for us six seniors, and this tournament is the end. You don't know which match will be your last so we're playing fearless, and we're playing our best volleyball right now."
The winner plays fifth-ranked Coffman or seventh-ranked Liberty in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 3, at Kilbourne. The Pioneers lost to Liberty 12-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 on Sept. 4 and 20-25, 25-19, 30-28, 25-20 on Sept. 27 in OCC-Buckeye Division play, and they lost to Coffman 23-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-22 on Aug. 28.
"This means a lot to Carrigan, Megan (McCollum), Taylor (Metzler), Sidney (Gossard), Brooke (Little) and Meara (Reeder)," coach Katie Duy said. "These seniors have all been part of building this success and helping to build the program. It means a lot for them to be back in this position, and they have worked hard to get back here."
Against Watkins Memorial, Metzler had 15 kills and five blocks, and London Davis had 12 kills. O'Reilly had 25 assists and seven blocks, and McCollum added 16 digs.
O'Reilly had 21 assists as Orange defeated 15th-seeded Delaware 25-6, 25-9, 25-14 on Oct. 25 in a district semifinal at Whitehall. Davis had nine kills and Gossard added seven.
"I think this time of year, experience plays a huge role," Duy said. "We have seniors who have been a huge part of this program for the past four years and been through this before. I feel like we're playing well at the end of the season, and that's what you always strive to do."
Cross country teams send runners to state
The boys and girls cross country teams both will have one individual competing in the Division I state meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at National Trail Raceway.
In the regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North, Andrew Schroff was fifth in 16 minutes, 6.0 seconds to lead the boys team, which placed eighth (198 points) behind champion Hilliard Davidson (95).
The top five teams and top 20 individuals qualified for state.
"I wanted to hang with the top pack, but it was a tough race with all of the mud," Schroff said.
Also scoring were Alex Kenish (23rd, 16:44.9), Brant Yocum (60th, 17:19.9), Lincoln Weber (68th, 17:26.8) and Merek Helmer (79th, 17:33.2).
Allie Guagenti was sixth (18:58.1) to advance for the girls team, which finished sixth (167) behind champion Davidson (38) and just five points behind the final state qualifier, Lancaster.
Lindsay Ott (27th, 20:00.4), Paige Benecke (49th, 20:42.7), Abby Schroff (52nd, 20:44.2) and Corinne Hazel (63rd, 21:101.2) also scored.
Girls soccer team loses district final
The 10th-seeded girls soccer team finished 11-6-2 overall, falling to fifth-seeded Olentangy 2-1 on Oct. 27 in a Division I district final at Grandview.
It was the second 2-1 loss to the Braves this season, having also lost Oct. 13 at home in a battle for the OCC-Buckeye championship. The Pioneers finished second (4-1) in the league behind Olentangy (5-0).
In the district final, junior midfielder Sophia Leonetti scored and sophomore goalkeeper Amanda Poorbaugh had six saves.
Orange reached the game by defeating fourth-seeded and host Coffman 1-0 on Oct. 23 in a district semifinal. Senior midfielder Aurelia Johnson (second-team all-league) scored off a pass from senior mid-fielder/forward Shazia Waggoner (second-team all-league), and Poorbaugh had four saves.
Johnson led the Pioneers in scoring with seven goals and six assists, and Leonetti (first-team all-league) had seven goals and one assist. Waggoner had six goals and three assists, and freshman midfielder/def-ender Maia Kaufman had five goals and one assist.
Junior midfielder Grace Poorbaugh (first-team all-league) had three goals and four assists, senior midfielder Grace Weidenhamer (second-team all-league) had two goals and six assists and sophomore midfielder/forward Morgan Scott had two goals and three assists.
Sophomore defender Liz Woo was special mention all-league, and junior defender Keeley Galloway was honorable mention all-league.
Field hockey team falls in district semi
The sixth-seeded field hockey team finished 11-4-3 overall, losing at fourth-seeded Watterson 4-2 on Oct. 23 in a district semifinal.
Junior forward Josie Vance and sophomore forward Sydney Lowry scored, and sophomore goalie Chloe Fuller had five saves.
Lowry (10 goals, 2 assists) and Vance (8 goals, 3 assists) led the Pioneers in scoring. Senior midfielder Abby Stedman and junior forward Averie Ogden both had three goals and one assist.
Junior midfielder Hannah Brown led in steals (121) and interceptions (147). Senior defender Emily Noble had 114 interceptions, and junior defender Mia Jakubowski added 101 interceptions.
The Pioneers tied Upper Arlington for third (5-2-1) in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West behind champion Thomas Worthington (8-0).