The Hilliard Darby High School boys volleyball team had its worst game of the season during a Division I East Region final against Dublin Coffman on May 24 at Westerville Central.

But the top-seeded Panthers bounced back to defeat the sixth-seeded Shamrocks 25-19, 6-25, 25-13, 25-21 to improve to 25-2 and advance to the state tournament for the 14th consecutive season.

Darby will face Beavercreek or Kettering Fairmont in a state quarterfinal June 1 at Capital.

“I don’t think anybody on this team has ever lost a game like that, at least not for Darby,” Panthers junior setter Noah Platfoot said. “But it made us mad, not discouraged. We went out with a better mindset and got it done and I knew that’s how these guys would respond.”

Platfoot appeared to do a little more hitting as the match continued, joining Adam Ansel and Dominic Melchiorre for blocks and kills. Griffin Hart also began producing more kills from the outside in games 3 and 4.

“In game 1, we were doing the attacking and in game 2, (Coffman) was really serving well and we were on our heels,” Darby coach Evan Bell said. “We went back to throwing the punches in game 3, rather than taking the punches.”

Coffman, which finished 18-9, got strong net play from Cole Northup and Sean McDerment and Jack Proctor had a solid all-around game, including three aces.

“Darby is an aggressive serving team, but we countered by attacking them early in game 2 and not letting them serve to us. That’s how we were able to bump up the lead,” Shamrocks coach Shane Farrell said. “We didn’t get a point early in game 3 and had to play defensively and fell behind by four or five points early and we got down on ourselves. Game 4 was pretty tight most of the way, but Darby’s just very good.”

Mount Vernon 3, Dublin Jerome 0

The fourth-seeded Celtics lost to the second-seeded Yellow Jackets 25-23, 25-23, 27-25 in a Division I East Region final May 24 at Westerville Central to finish as a regional runner-up for the third consecutive season.

Jerome finished 17-9, while Mount Vernon improved to 25-2 and advanced to play in a state semifinal June 1 at Capital.

“We just needed to make a play here, a play there, and we missed them,” Celtics coach Phil Cagnoli said.

Jerome and Mount Vernon were tied at 20 in the second set, but the Yellow Jackets took a 24-21 lead and scored the winning point on a service error by the Celtics.

In the third set, Mount Vernon led 23-19 before the Celtics rallied to tie it at 24. A block by Andrew Shen and Cam Rich gave Jerome a 25-24 lead, but the Yellow Jackets scored the next three points to close out the match.

“They’re very physical,” Cagnoli said. “They’ve got a lot of great athletes on that team and they did a nice job.”

—Jarrod Ulrey

Division II

Watterson 3, St. Charles 2

Familiarity paid off for the second-seeded Eagles in a 25-21, 25-21, 14-25, 25-20, 15-10 victory over the top-seeded and defending state champion Cardinals in the Division II East Region final May 24 at Westerville Central.

Watterson improved to 16-9 and advanced to a state semifinal against Middletown Fenwick or Kettering Alter on June 1 at Capital, while St. Charles finished 21-5.

The Eagles had lost twice to the Cardinals in CCL play, falling 25-19, 25-12, 25-23 on April 4 and 25-22, 19-25, 25-17, 25-21 on April 16.

“Seeing them so much in the regular season and so much over the last few years is a big advantage,” Watterson coach Ryan Thompson said. “We had to catch them off guard once.”

Jack Page led the Eagles with 17 kills and two blocks, Jared Sommer added nine kills and two aces, Jake Maziarz had 31 assists and Brendan Foley had 14 digs.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times,” St. Charles coach Ned Gruber said. “They just weren’t making errors. They made more errors earlier in the year, but they played a great match.”

For the Cardinals, Jake Franz had 52 assists, Nathan Lancia had 26 kills and Alex McLane had 20 kills.

—Scott Hennen

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