Pacers outlast Cardinals in 5-set thriller


DELAWARE – Wednesday night’s 25-12, 25-17, 24-26, 22-25, 15-9 OCC-Cardinal win over Thomas Worthington was a microcosm of Delaware Hayes’ season.

“We’re just looking for consistency right now,” Hayes coach Raynard Martin said before adding, “consistency on the back row and consistency at the net with hitters. Consistency is key for us … just like you saw tonight.”

The Pacers looked dominating at times in the first two sets.

Natalie Davis had back-to-back kills and Lilly Lagando followed with another to spark a 10-1 rally to close out the first set.

Rebecca Rocassin scored on consecutive points and Anna Johnson followed with aces on three of the next four points during an 8-0 rally to give Hayes control in the second.

Hayes just couldn’t get over the hump in the third set. The Cardinals (3-11, 1-10) used a 10-4 rally to seize control in the third. Freshman Kaleigh Palmer had three kills and a block during that span to lead the way.

“They want to succeed more than anything,” Thomas coach Natalie Walter said. “Sometimes it’s a challenge to get past prior mistakes. Finally, in the third set we were able to find that rhythm and just start to play a little looser.”

Johnson served up two more aces to start the fourth and Davis added three kills as the Pacers scored nine of the first 12 to open the fourth.

But Thomas inched its way back in it before a block by Megan Peer started the decisive 7-1 rally. Grace Matthews served up a pair of aces and Elaine Ondo, Lily Beier and Palmer scored the last three points to cap the Cardinals’ set victory.

“Thomas competed hard,” Martin said. “They took that third set and ran with the momentum. At that point – we have to show that we want to fight and come right back. Thankfully, we were able to pull it out in the fifth.”

Rocassin had back-to-back kills and combined for a block with Bailey Christiansen as the Pacers scored five straight in the middle of the fifth and the Pacers never lost control again.

“I thought Becca, Hadlee and Bailey all did a nice job up there (on the block),” Martin said. “It was pretty important for us in the game with (Palmer) up front and we took care of the block when we needed to.”

Johnson led the Pacers (7-9, 3-7) with 29 assists and seven aces and added 14 digs.

Mia Thompson steadied the defense with 32 digs, Davis led with 14 kills and Rocassin added 12 kills and 11 assists for Hayes.

Hayes continues league play at Hilliard Bradley Tuesday night at 7 p.m.


Bexley 3, Buckeye Valley 1


Delaware Hayes 181, Buckeye Valley 194, Elgin 209. Medalist: Dye (DH) 33


Olentangy Liberty 3, Olentangy Berlin 2


Otterbein 1, Ohio Wesleyan 0


Ohio Wesleyan def. Mount St. Joseph 25-20, 25-22, 25-20

Hayes’ Natalie Davis fires a shot over the outstretched arms of Thomas Worthington’s Kaleigh Palmer (27) and Elaine Ondo (9) during Wednesday’s league showdown in Delaware.’ Natalie Davis fires a shot over the outstretched arms of Thomas Worthington’s Kaleigh Palmer (27) and Elaine Ondo (9) during Wednesday’s league showdown in Delaware. Ben Stroup | Gazette

By Michael Rich

For the Gazette

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at [email protected].

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