The Olentangy Liberty High School girls volleyball team ended Dublin Coffman’s run of three consecutive Division I state tournament appearances.
The Patriots rallied to beat the Shamrocks 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 14-25, 15-11 in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Worthington Kilbourne to improve to 26-0 and advance to play Olentangy Orange in a regional final Nov. 3 at the same site.
Coffman, which hadn’t lost a regional match since 2014, finished 23-4.
“This group is just gamers,” Liberty coach Jen Chapman said. “I felt we had a pretty good matchup watching Coffman play a little bit. What we’ve done all season is serve aggressively. If we could play scrappy defense and keep the ball alive and keep pushing back at them, we could score some points.”
A block by Taylor Karlo gave Liberty a 19-18 lead in the third set and the Patriots gradually pulled away to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five match, only to see Coffman build an 11-3 lead in the fourth set on a kill by Mackenzie Curry and close the set on an 8-1 run to tie the match.
In the fifth set, the Patriots led 6-3, but the score was tied at 7 and 10 before a serving error by the Shamrocks gave Liberty an 11-10 lead. Claranne Fechter then scored three of the Patriots’ final four points on kills.
“Everyone was on tonight,” Fechter said. “It was just a team effort.”
Olentangy Orange 3, Watterson 0
Five days after winning its third consecutive district championship, Orange posted its first victory at the regional level by defeating Watterson 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 in a Division I regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Kilbourne.
The Pioneers, who lost to Gahanna 25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 25-12, 15-7 in 2016 and Coffman 25-15, 26-24, 25-11 last year in regional semifinals, improved to 21-5 and advanced to play Liberty in a regional final Nov. 3 at Kilbourne.
Watterson finished 19-8.
“We came out and spread things around really well,” Orange coach Katie Duy said. “We had three players in double digits for kills. We tried to get everyone involved.”
London Davis led the Pioneers with 12 kills, followed by Taylor Metzler with 11 and Madison Moll with 10. Megan McCollum had 16 digs, Carrigan O’Reilly had 28 assists, Hanna Borer had 10 assists and Tazmin Appiah had eight blocks.
—Scott HennenDivision II
Hartley 3, Jonathan Alder 1
During Jonathan Alder’s run to a Division II state runner-up finish in 2015, the Pioneers beat Hartley in a regional semifinal.
The Hawks returned the favor in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Heath, beating Jonathan Alder 28-26, 18-25, 25-23, 25-9 to improve to 20-6 and advance to a regional final against Gnadenhutten Indian Valley on Nov. 3 at Heath.
The Pioneers finished 22-5.
“I don’t know if it was nerves coming up or if it was because we had two grueling matches (at the district tournament) and Jonathan Alder is a great team, but we pulled out two very tough sets and kind of settled down in the fourth set,” Hawks coach Mike Rahe said. “We got our legs underneath us and played a great fourth set. I’m proud of them.”
Indian Valley improved to 24-3 with a 25-17, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22 win over Thornville Sheridan in the other regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Heath.
Against Jonathan Alder, Kayla Malone led the way offensively and defensively, according to Rahe, and Ashley Tipton served 12 consecutive points in the fourth set.
“(Indian Valley has) two really nice players,” Rahe said. “Defensively, they move well. They’ve got two really good swings and a couple complementary swings on the outside. It doesn’t get any easier.”