Notebook: Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team continued run of success

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Orange senior London Davis (7) blocks Watterson’s Gina Grden during the Pioneers' 17-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 loss in the Division I regional final Nov. 7 at Hilliard Darby. Davis, a Kansas recruit, was first-team all-district and the OCC-Central Division Player of the Year.

Correction: Due to a reporter's error, the Liberty field hockey team's postseason results were incorrect in the story and wrap box. The number of players who received second-team all-league honors also was incorrect.

Through a difficult season, the Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team found success.

The Pioneers had their season delayed by positive tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Despite that, they were able to earn the top seed in the Division I district tournament and win their fifth consecutive district championship.

They weren’t able to reach the program’s first state semifinal, however, as they lost 17-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 to Watterson in a regional final Nov. 7 at Hilliard Darby.

“They have a couple great seniors and we got a little hesitant in the second set,” said sixth-year coach Katie Duy, whose team lost in a regional final for the third consecutive season to finish 21-4 overall. “We told them to go out and be aggressive, but we got a little tight and Watterson took advantage of it.”

Orange won its district championship by defeating eighth-seeded Westerville Central 25-16, 25-9, 25-13 on Oct. 31 at home. It also won its fifth league title in six seasons by going 10-0 in the OCC-Central Division.

Senior outside hitter London Davis was first-team all-district and league Player of the Year. The Kansas recruit led the Pioneers with 301 kills and had 35 blocks and 102 digs. 

Senior middle hitter Tazmin Appiah (honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league) had a team-leading 49 blocks to go with 162 kills.

Senior libero Addie Evans (honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league) had a team-high 370 digs and had 33 aces, and senior Arianna Jackson added 93 kills and 22 blocks. 

“In a year with a lot of uncertainty, they’ve handled every challenge and the adversity with maturity, and they’ve had the most successful season in the program’s history,” Duy said. "I can’t say enough about what they’ve done.”

The Pioneers expect to return junior setter Hanna Borer, who was first-team all-district and all-league after totaling a team-high 704 assists and 39 aces as well as 97 kills, 34 blocks and 286 digs. Junior outside hitter Molly Shomock, an Eastern Kentucky recruit who was honorable mention all-league, had 183 kills and 44 blocks.

Junior right-side/middle hitter Olivia McAtee had 124 kills and 25 blocks.

“We have one of the best setters in the state coming back (in Borer), and we have an extremely talented junior class,” Duy said. “Molly Shomock is a two-year starter and a Division I (college) recruit to Eastern Kentucky. We have a strong junior class and a strong freshman class.”

•Senior Jake Ethridge finished 55th (16 minutes, 27.3 seconds) in the Division I state meet Nov. 7 at Fortress Obetz as the lone participant for the Orange cross country program.

“Overall, Jake capped off a great season, and he was the fifth individual qualifier that we’ve had in the program,” said boys coach Adam Walters, who completed his seventh season. “We only had a few before him, and he worked hard to make it there. He was 18th at regional, which correlates to being around 88th at state, so I thought he did pretty well.”

Ethridge qualified for state by finishing 18th (16:35.3) in the regional meet Oct. 31 at Pickerington North. The boys team was seventh (217 points), as the top five teams advanced to state in both the boys and girls races.

Freshman Saketh Rudraraju (16:54.8), junior Bryan King (42nd, 17:14.1), sophomore Carter Giacomelli (84th, 17:48.1) and junior Jack Helmer (92nd, 17:52.1) also scored.

The girls team finished ninth (231) at regional. Freshman Mairin O’Brien (23rd, 19:58.9) led the way, followed by senior Medha Patria (43rd, 20:32.4), junior Abby Schroff (50th, 20:38.4) and sophomores Lainey Garling (78th, 21:12.7) and Kayla Sucharski (100th, 21:43.0).

—Scott Hennen

•The Liberty cross country program had its season end at the regional level, but both the boys and girls teams are expected to return a large number of key runners.

For the girls, freshman Julia Bockenstette finished 24th (20:04.4) in the regional Oct. 31 at Pickerington North as the Patriots were seventh (212), but only the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to state.

Haley Kruest, Elizabeth Okonak and Audrey Piero were seniors in the girls team’s regional lineup, and juniors Ashley Boettcher, Allison Westfall and Rachel Ziel also competed.

Senior Kathryn Durtschi and juniors Sarah Gilbert and Katelyn McDonnell also were key contributors.

Seniors R.J. LaRosa and Tanner Sutton led the boys team, which also had its season end at regional, where the Patriots finished 16th (355).

Juniors Jacob Bockenstette and Zach Warrick, sophomores Andrew Lee, Mitchell Martz, Jacob Rygielski and Luke Schmitt and freshman Noah Miller are others eligible to return.

—Jarrod Ulrey

Sophomore forward Lucy Keeler is expected to be among the top returnees for the Liberty field hockey team.

•With a 3-1 loss to eighth-seeded Olentangy on Oct. 20 in the second round of the district tournament, the Liberty field hockey team finished 7-7-2 overall.

“It was definitely an odd and challenging year dealing with the pandemic,” coach Greg Siehl said. “The coaches, parents and most of the all the players were ecstatic to have gotten the opportunity to play the season. The players were a very unified group.”

Liberty loses a six-player senior class that was led by Kelsey Eckhert (midfielder), Grace Hughes (midfielder) and Reese McClelland (forward). McClelland had a team-high nine goals.

Juniors Lauren Belt (defender), Sahana Mehta (midfielder), Anna Pione (midfielder) and Carlie Quillin (defender) and sophomores Lucy Keeler (forward) and Makenna Harrington (forward) are expected to lead the returnees.

Hughes was first-team all-COFHL-West and Eckhert, Keeler and McClelland were second-team all-league as the Patriots finished third at 5-2-1.

Others eligible to return include junior Alli Hamilton (midfielder), sophomores Payton Carrier (defender), Sydney Frantz (midfielder) and Annie Lorenz (goalie) and freshman Alayna Bogner (goalie).

—Jarrod Ulrey

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LIBERTY CROSS COUNTRY

OCC-Central standings: Boys — Hilliard Davidson (32), Dublin Coffman (68), Orange (86), Upper Arlington (90), Hilliard Bradley (115), Liberty (133); Girls — Davidson (18), Coffman (67), UA (80), Orange (98), Liberty (100), Bradley (190)

Seniors lost: Boys — R.J. LaRosa and Tanner Sutton; Girls — Kathryn Durtschi, Haley Kruest, Elie Okonak and Audrey Piero

Key returnees: Boys — Jacob Bockenstette, Andrew Lee, Mitchell Martz, Noah Miller, Jacob Rygielski, Luke Schmitt and Zach Warrick; Girls — Julia Bockenstette, Ashley Boettcher, Sarah Gilbert, Katelyn McDonnell, Allison Westfall and Rachel Ziel

Postseason: Boys — Sixth (228) at district behind champion Lancaster (91), 16th (355) at regional behind champion Davidson (57); Girls — Second (82) at district behind UA (70), seventh (212) at regional behind champion Davidson (42)

ORANGE CROSS COUNTRY

Seniors lost: Boys — Nick Allen, Cole Benishek, Noah Bennison, Jake Ethridge, Joe Gargasz, Grant Harris, Hunter Jones, Joe Kabealo, Ethan Knecht, Alexander Lima, Justin Nichols, Christopher Rores and Lincoln Weber; Girls — Noel Frye, Anna Godoy, Kylie Hanson, Casey Homorody, Kylan Mitchell, Jordyn Murray, Medha Patria and Megan Russell

Key returnees: Boys — Connor Giacomelli, Jack Helmer, Bryan King and Saketh Rudraraju; Girls — Lainey Garling, Mairin O’Brien, Abby Schroff and Kayla Sucharski

Postseason: Boys — Fourth (99) at district behind champion Dublin Jerome (73), seventh (217) at regional behind champion Davidson (57); Girls — Second (127) at district behind Coffman (55), ninth (231) at regional behind champion Davidson (42)

LIBERTY FIELD HOCKEY

Record: 7-7-2 overall

COFHL-West standings: Thomas Worthington (8-0), UA (7-1), Liberty (5-2-1), Jerome (4-2-2), Olentangy (4-4), Orange (3-4-1), Coffman (1-6), Dublin Scioto (1-6), Berlin (0-8)

Seniors lost: Anna Bohrer, Kelsey Eckhert, Grace Hughes, Jordan Lindsey, Reese McClelland and Rahegan Webb

Key returnees: Lauren Belt, Makena Harrington, Lucy Keeler, Sahana Mehta, Anna Pione and Carlie Quillin

Postseason: Lost to Olentangy 3-1 in second round of district tournament

ORANGE GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Record: 21-4 overall

OCC-Central standings: Orange (10-0), Coffman (6-4), Liberty (5-2), UA (3-6), Bradley (2-7), Davidson (1-8)

Seniors lost: Tazmin Appiah, London Davis, Addie Evans and Arianna Jackson

Key returnees: Hanna Borer, Olivia McAtee and Molly Shomock

Postseason: Def. Big Walnut 25-11, 25-11, 25-15; def. Westerville Central 25-16, 25-9, 25-13; def. Liberty 25-21, 25-9, 25-16; lost to Watterson 17-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 in Division I regional final