Notebook: Olentangy volleyball squad set to go distance

DAVE PURPURA
dpurpura@thisweeknews.com
Olentangy's Sophie Flowers (15) and Trinity Swearengen go up for a block during a 25-23, 26-24, 25-18 victory over host Thomas Worthington on Sept. 15.

Olentangy girls volleyball coach Travis Weitthoff has a quick reply for anyone who might downplay the significance of his team playing three five-game matches in a row and four more four-gamers to start the season.

"It's an equivalent of going to overtime or double overtime pretty much every time out," Weitthoff said. "I always ask the girls if they're ready for five games from a conditioning standpoint and they tell me they feel prepared mentally and physically because we've been there so often already. You can't simulate that kind of thing in practice."

The Braves were 5-4 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division after defeating Hilliard Darby in three games Sept. 17.

They had gone the distance in three consecutive matches, winning two of them over Upper Arlington (19-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-23, 15-13 on Sept. 8) and Berlin (27-25, 25-21, 20-25, 17-25, 15-11 on Sept. 10) before sweeping Thomas Worthington 25-23, 26-24, 25-18 on Sept. 15.

*With senior Priyanka Agochiya leading the way at first singles at the top of a deep, flexible lineup, the Olentangy girls tennis team was 6-5 overall before playing Liberty on Sept. 22 and finished 4-1 in the OCC- Cardinal.

Sonia Chirravuri, Sydney Nickel, Shriya Palusa and Archita Sriram have seen time at second and third singles.

Coach Jeff Luxenburger also has rotated doubles teams among Breanna Ball, Chirravuri, Ava Estep, Mimi Kekalainen, Nickel and Isha Sawhney.

Olentangy's first three losses were to state-ranked teams in Wellington (5-0 on Aug. 12), Dublin Jerome (5-0 on Sept. 3) and Orange (3-2 on Sept. 10). Jerome was ranked ninth in Division I and Wellington seventh in Division II in OhioTennisZone.com's first poll of the season earlier this month.

--Dave Purpura

*The Liberty boys soccer team was one of three squads from central Ohio ranked in last week's Division I state poll. The Patriots were No. 5, while Pickerington North was fourth and Berlin was 10th.

The top-ranked team was Cleveland St. Ignatius, which beat Liberty 4-0 in last year's state title game.

The Patriots were 6-0-1 overall after beating DeSales 2-1 on Sept. 17 and 1-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Upper Arlington on Sept. 22. The only game Liberty did not win was a scoreless tie against Olentangy on Aug. 29.

Goalie Andrew Bartosik gave up just two goals through seven games, posting 17 saves.

Riley Carrier had five goals and one assist, Jacob Maissonueve had two goals and two assists and Jack Cruise had one goal and two assists.

Carrier and Cruise were among the few returning players who had key roles last season.

"We're starting what was essentially our (junior varsity A) team last from," first-year coach Ricky Konkolewski said. "The guys have been great."

--Jarrod Ulrey

*During each of the Liberty football team's first three games, five players caught at least one pass from senior quarterback Mitch Fields.

After Chase Brecht and Matt Hale both had five receptions in a 35-21 victory over Berlin in the opener Aug. 28, Cam Barcus led with 10 receptions for 65 yards and Brecht had three catches for 90 yards in a 24-17 loss to Dublin Coffman on Sept. 4. Then in a 21-14 victory over Upper Arlington on Sept. 11, Hale had five receptions for 30 yards.

The multiple options have helped Fields settle in after he started for the junior varsity last year while 2020 graduates Corbin Parrish and Jackson Roberts split time on varsity.

Liberty was 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Central after defeating Hilliard Bradley 38-17 on Sept. 18.

--Jarrod Ulrey

*The Berlin boys golf team had Brady Casto and Bryce Reed earn first-team all-league honors, as they tied for fourth in the OCC-Cardinal with an average of 75.33. Individual league awards were based on golfers' averages from their top three rounds in the four-round tournament.

The Bears finished second (16-4) behind Dublin Jerome (20-0). The Celtics' Tyler Groomes and Ethan McDonald were co-medalists with a 72 average.

The Bears' Ethan Hegg (78.67) and Kyle Smetiouk (81.33) were honorable mention all-league.

--Scott Hennen

*Mia Raines led the Berlin girls golf team in OCC-Cardinal competition.

The freshman averaged 75.5 in league play to finish third overall and earn first-team all-league honors. Haley Dye of Delaware and Audrey Ryu of Jerome were co-medalists, both averaging 75.0.

Reagan Clifton (88.7) was third-team all-league for the Bears, who finished fourth (16-12) in the league behind champion Jerome (28-0). Michele Starner (98.7) was honorable mention.

--Scott Hennen

*The Orange boys golf team won its first league championship by tying Liberty for the OCC-Central title.

Both the Pioneers and Patriots finished 18-2 after four rounds of league play. All five players in the Orange lineup earned all-league honors.

Corbin Bentley was the individual runner-up with a 72.67 average, behind Hilliard Davidson's Zach Burton (70.0). Bentley was first-team all-league along with teammate Jonathan Green (73.0), who was third overall.

Luke Johnson (74.67) was second-team all-league and Nathan Brown (76.0) and Mitch Purdue (78.0) were honorable mention.

--Scott Hennen

*The Orange girls golf team finished fourth in the OCC-Buckeye after a last-place finish last fall.

The Pioneers were 8-12 in the fourth rounds of league competition, behind champion Liberty (20-0).

Natalie Au was first-team all-league with an 82.67 average. She was third overall behind the Liberty duo of Gracie Baun (77.67) and Taya Buxton (80.0).

Lauren Muffley was honorable mention all-league with a 99.33 average.

--Scott Hennen

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Natalie Au of the Orange girls golf team averaged 82.67 to earn first-team all-league honors in OCC-Buckeye play.