Boys Volleyball: Hilliard Bradley advances to state semi; Olentangy Liberty falls in quarterfinal
Hilliard Bradley 3, Massillon Jackson 1
The Bradley boys volleyball team reached new heights when it defeated seventh-ranked Jackson 18-25, 25-21, 25-9, 25-16 in a Division I state quarterfinal June 5 at Pickerington Central.
The sixth-ranked Jaguars improved to 19-3 and will play Cincinnati Moeller in a state semifinal at 10 a.m. June 6 at Central. The second-ranked Crusaders defeated eighth-ranked Centerville 25-22, 25-13, 25-17 in their quarterfinal.
The state final is at 4 p.m. June 6 against top-ranked Cincinnati Elder or Cleveland St. Ignatius.
Bradley had reached state only once before in 2012, and it lost to host Moeller 25-11, 25-15, 25-17 in a quarterfinal.
“I think there were a lot of nerves going into this match, and we were a little jittery since the last (Bradley) team that made it (to state) lost in the first round,” said outside hitter Jonah Gilbert, the state’s Division I Player of the Year who totaled 47 kills. “We had to get those jitters out of the way before we started playing our game.”
Setter Tak Tan had 58 assists for the Jaguars.
“We were definitely nervous but once we got into it, Jonah got his hits in and we were dominant,” Tan said.
Jackson coach Mike Ryan was well aware of Gilbert entering the match.
“(Gilbert) gets a lot of swings, and we knew what we were going up against,” Ryan said. “We knew he was going to get his kills, but we weren’t able to control the things that we can control.”
Kyle Evans had 10 kills for the Polar Bears, who finished 22-6. Carson Junker had 24 assists, and Owen Woolbert had five blocks.
Cleveland St. Ignatius 3, Olentangy Liberty 2
In a Division I state quarterfinal June 5 at Pickerington Central, Liberty couldn’t hang on to a two sets to one lead and lost to St. Ignatius 25-22, 19-25, 27-29, 25-18, 15-13.
In the fifth set, the Patriots were leading 10-7 before the Wildcats charged back.
“They called timeout when we were up 10-7 and then they just went on a little bit of a run and tied it up at 10-all,” coach Dave Hale said. “We sided out so it was 14-13 and then we served and their big outside hit it off our blocker. Really that’s how it was. Both teams were going back and forth the whole match.”
Andrew Pugh finished with 14 kills, Noah Koknat had 13 kills and Cole Young added 10 kills and four blocks, with Parker Budreau finishing with nine blocks.
Liberty finished 20-4 and St. Ignatius improved to 15-8 as it advanced to a state semifinal June 6.
“We lost the first set and we could have gotten down, but we came out and won set two convincingly and won set three,” Hale said. “We were right there and it kind of makes it hurt that much more because we were right there.”
Division II: Olentangy 3, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 0
Making their second state tournament appearance in three years, the Braves swept defending champion Walsh Jesuit 25-13, 25-18, 25-19 in a semifinal June 5.
Olentangy improved to 16-8 and will play Middletown Fenwick in the state final June 6.