During nearly two decades of coaching high school tennis that included stops at Sylvania Southview and Troy as well as in South Carolina, Delaware Hayes girls tennis coach Dede Hibinger has had teams that have bonded.
Still, the fourth-year Pacers coach has been impressed by her team's fusion of sophomore Evelyn Mignanou at first singles, several juniors in key roles and a trio of seniors who primarily have played doubles.
"We do everything together," Hibinger said. "This is my 18th year, and in 18 seasons this is by far the most melded team I've had. When you work with girls, that's what you want. They all like each other and they all pull for each other. I see kids that are working hard all year long."
Delaware lost to Marysville 4-1 on Sept. 24 and was 7-7 overall before facing Caledonia River Valley on Sept. 26. The Pacers are 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division entering their league finale Tuesday, Oct. 1, at home against Hilliard Bradley.
Delaware's match against Reynoldsburg on Sept. 18 didn't start until after 5 p.m. and ended up being suspended because of darkness with the score tied at 2. The only court not finished is second singles, where junior Alana Kay is tied with the Raiders' Hope Chaffin at 4-6, 7-5, 4-4. The teams are hoping to complete the match.
Delaware beat Buckeye Valley 3-2 on Sept. 23. Winning were Kay at second singles, junior Lily Tope at third singles and seniors Abbey Eyerman and Sydney Wolf at second doubles.
The Pacers also are preparing for a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Bradley.
In singles, Mignanou will face Hilliard Davidson's Kaitlyn Quinn and Tope will play Westerville Central's Audrey Rupp in first-round matches and Kay will open against Grove City's Emma Smith in a feed-in match.
In doubles, Eyerman and Wolf have a first-round bye and juniors Grace Martin and Meredith Keller will face Davidson's Ella McWherter and Olivia Temelkoff in the first round.
Football team seeking consistency
After bouncing back from a Week 2 loss to beat Westland 49-6 on Sept. 13, the football team led host Olentangy Berlin by two scores after three quarters on Sept. 20 but couldn't hang on and lost 32-21.
The Pacers were 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before facing Dublin Scioto on Sept. 27 and will continue league action Friday, Oct. 4, at Worthington Kilbourne.
"(Scioto is) a good team and I thought coming into the season they might be one of the league favorites," coach Scott Wetzel said. "(Hilliard) Darby and (Dublin) Jerome are strong. It's a tough league. In the OCC, you never know, but year in, year out, it's a strong league."
Against Berlin, junior quarterback Blake Eiland was limited to 73 yards passing but rushed 19 times for 91 yards and senior running back Jahi Broussard-Nash had 13 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Pacers have been led by a linebacking corps that includes seniors Jacob Hunsaker and Sebastian Meehan and junior Kaleb Shaw.
They'll face a Kilbourne offense that has attempted to be balanced, with quarterback Mitchell Tomasek completing 13 of 26 passes for 50 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions and running back Terrique Gray rushing 12 times for 60 yards in a 20-13 loss to Thomas Worthington on Sept. 20.
The Wolves were 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the league and had lost nine games in a row before playing Berlin on Sept. 27.
Runners getting ready for OCC meet
The cross country teams have one meet remaining before competing in the OCC-Cardinal meet Oct. 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
In the Celtic Clash on Sept. 21 at Jerome, the girls finished 15th (413 points) of 22 teams behind champion Buckeye Valley (98) and the boys were 15th (416) of 24 teams behind champion Chillicothe Unioto (44).
Freshman Rowan Hering led the girls with a 62nd-place finish (21 minutes, 49.1 seconds). Also scoring were sophomore Miranda Gemberling (85th, 22:30.1) and freshmen Molly Wells (93rd, 22:43.5), Danica Davelli (104th, 23:06.4) and Beth Atanosian (113th, 23:06.4).
In addition, freshman Ashley Sallows won the open race in 21:47.4 for the Pacers' fastest performance of the day.
Senior Brian Frisch led the boys with a 29th-place finish (17:21.7), with freshman Blake Frisch (65th, 17:55.9), junior Padraig Mumper (83rd, 18:08.5) and sophomores Juan Tello (136th, 19:08.2) and Sebastian Stewart (147th, 19:22) also scoring.
The Pacers will compete in the Les Eisenhart Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Thomas.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Turnberry. Top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Oct. 1 -- Division I sectional at Royal American. Top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.
Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Watkins Memorial
*Oct. 3 -- At Dublin Jerome
Oct. 1 -- At Watkins Memorial
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Jerome
Sept. 30 -- At Marion Harding
*Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
Oct. 3, 5 -- Division I sectional at Hilliard Bradley. Top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 10 and 12 at Reynoldsburg.
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Jerome. The Pacers lost to the Celtics 25-9, 25-21, 26-24 on Sept. 5.
Oct. 5 -- At Delaware Christian