Madison Moll was emotional before the Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team played its final regular-season home match Oct. 10 against Westerville North.
The Pioneers entered the match already having clinched their fourth consecutive league title, and they defeated North 25-13, 25-7, 25-18 to finish 10-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division and entered the postseason at 18-4 overall.
Moll, a four-year varsity player, knows her prep career is winding down.
"I started to tear up during the announcements when I was going down the line hugging everyone," she said. "It's kind of crazy that it's already here (being a senior). I remember walking in here as a freshman and playing with the team and it was so cool and a great opportunity. I was intimidated by the upperclassmen, but I learned a lot."
Moll was moved up from j.v. when 2017 graduate Ashlan Riley was injured and the Pioneers needed an outside hitter. She had had 157 kills and 79 blocks last fall, and she has 124 kills and 114 digs this year.
"Madison has been there for everything over the past four seasons," coach Katie Duy said. "She has been a great leader for us and is a big part of what we do."
One thing the Pioneers do is win district championships. They earned the top seed in the district and began pursuit of their fourth consecutive district title Oct. 16 at home against 31st-seeded North in the second round. They also defeated North 25-12, 25-14, 25-8 on Sept. 17 in league play.
"We're really hoping to make it as far as we can, and we want to try to finally get to the (state tournament)," Moll said. "We have never been the first seed before and that means everything. There is going to be an 'X' on our backs but it makes us motivated to work even harder."
The second-round winner plays in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Central Crossing against 18th-seeded Canal Winchester, 24th-seeded Pickerington Central or 39th-seeded Briggs.
"Every year we play a tough schedule and work hard so being recognized (as the top seed) by the voters is an honor," Duy said. "Based on our schedule, we should be able to go out there and succeed and push further than last year."
Reed, Storrer reach state tennis tourney
The doubles team of Kortney Reed and Erin Storrer finished fourth in the Division I district girls tennis tournament Oct. 12 at Reynoldsburg to advance to their second state tournament.
The seniors went 2-2 at district, losing to Upper Arlington's Ella Hazelbaker and Wendy Shi 7-5, 6-1 in the consolation final.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. Last fall, Reed and Storrer went 1-1 in doubles at state.
"We complement each other," Storrer said. "I'm kind of the consistent player and Kortney's all over the net, putting stuff away.
"You definitely have to stay focused (at state). It's very distracting having all of the seats, everyone going around you and all of the speakers going. You have to stay focused and positive."
Caroline Sproule went 1-1 in singles at district, losing to Liberty's Maddie Atway 6-2, 6-0 in a state-qualifying match. Karol Korotkin also was 1-1, losing to Olentangy's Nour Khayat 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 in her state-qualifier.
Girls soccer team begins tourney
The third-seeded girls soccer team opened the Division I district tournament Oct. 16 at home against 40th-seeded Northland.
With a win, Orange would play host to 30th-seeded Watkins Memorial on Saturday, Oct. 19, in the second round. That winner plays in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, against 13th-seeded Big Walnut or 43rd-seeded Mifflin at the home of the better seed.
Orange finished the regular season 10-2-4 overall and went 5-0 in the OCC-Buckeye to win its second league title in three seasons. Samantha Fedio scored and goalkeeper Amanda Poorbaugh had seven saves in a 1-0 win over Westerville North on Oct. 10.
"We're playing well right now, shutting out the fourth (North) and fifth (Olentangy) seeds to close out the regular season," said coach Tim Lawrence, whose team defeated the Braves 1-0 on Oct. 3. "Both of those wins set us up to win the league. We're playing good, solid soccer in the middle of October, which is critical for us."
Boys runners win 2nd consecutive OCC title
The boys cross country team won its second consecutive OCC-Buckeye title Oct. 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
Alex Kenish was second in 16 minutes, 16.2 seconds as the Pioneers outlasted Liberty 32-42 for the title. Jake Etheridge (fourth, 16:19.8), Cole Benishek (fifth, 16:34.3), Bryan King (eighth, 16:39.1) and Cody Moore (13th, 16:47.8) also scored.
Abby Schroff (19:14.1), Paige Benecke (19:15.4) and Corinne Hazel (19:19.4) finished in the top three spots in the girls race, but Liberty edged Orange 38-39 for the championship. Media Patria (16th, 20:30.0) and Abby Wells (17th, 20:33.6) also scored.
The teams compete in the Division I, district 1 meet Saturday, Oct. 19, at Hilliard Darby. The top five teams and top 20 individuals qualify for regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Field hockey team opens district play
The eighth-seeded field hockey team opened the district tournament with a 1-0 win over visiting and 13th-seeded Hartley on Oct. 14.
Mia Jakubowski scored for the Pioneers, who improved to 8-6-2 overall.
Orange plays at seventh-seeded UA on Thursday, Oct. 17, in the second round. Orange lost to UA 2-1 on Sept. 25.
The district semifinal is Tuesday, Oct. 22 against third-seeded Watterson or 16th-seeded Lancaster. The Pioneers lost to Watterson 3-0 on Sept. 7.
Orange finished 6-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West after beating Liberty 2-1 in overtime Oct. 9. It was the first time the Pioneers have beaten Liberty, and they also defeated Olentangy 3-0 on Sept. 30 and Berlin 3-0 on Sept. 18.
Boys soccer team begins district play
The eighth-seeded boys soccer team improved to 11-4-2 overall by defeating 47th-seeded Columbus West 9-0 at home Oct. 14 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
The Pioneers played 48th-seeded Zanesville on Oct. 16 in the second round at home.
The district semifinal is Tuesday, Oct. 22, against 12th-seeded Reynoldsburg, 14th-seeded New Albany, 16th-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 52nd-seeded Independence at the home of the better seed.
Orange finished 3-1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye after defeating Westerville North 3-1 on Oct. 10. Jack Kossoudji scored twice and goalie Kellen Sargent had three saves.
Boys golfers fall short of state
The boys golf team finished fifth (310) in the Division I district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley as Dublin Jerome (300) and Liberty (303) qualified for state.
Juniors Corbin Bentley and Nathan Brown each shot 74 to lead the Pioneers, followed by juniors Jonathan Green (80) and Mitch Perdue (82) and sophomore Luke Johnson (90).
"I had 13 pars without a birdie," Bentley said. "You have to play good to advance, so if your putts don't drop you are pretty much out of it."
Orange finished second (17-3) in the OCC-Buckeye behind Liberty (19-1). Bentley (75.25 four-round average) was first-team all-league, Green (75.75) and Johnson (77.75) were on the second team and Perdue and Brown (both 80.75) were honorable mention.