The Olentangy Berlin girls volleyball team continues to build, following up its best regular season in program history with a convincing straight-set win over visiting Canal Winchester to open the Division I district tournament Tuesday night in Delaware.
The Bears, who finished 16-6 in the regular season and second in the OCC-Cardinal Division, set the tone with a dominant 25-9 first-set win. With the score knotted 2-2 in the early going, Berlin scored the next four straight thanks in part to a kill from Courtney Higgins and ace from Maddie Cropper to take control.
A kill from Natalie Pedigo made it 10-4, prompting the Indians to call a timeout, but the break didn’t do much to break the momentum. An ace ballooned the lead to 12-5 before a kill from Rozalyn Zielinski made it 14-5.
A Berlin service error gave the Indians some late life, but the Bears kept coming. They led 20-7 thanks to an ace from Elise Brown and, after a combo block by Lauren Young and Avery Callison made it 23-9, back-to-back aces by Zielinski put the finishing touches on the lopsided first-set win.
Canal, as it did in the first set, opened the scoring in the second, but Berlin reeled off the next four before a kill by Brown gave her team a 5-2 edge.
The Bears continued to pad their lead with a kill by Ella Showalter and ace on a well-placed serve from Young, then scored seven of the next nine points to take a 14-6 lead.
A Canal ace cut the deficit to 20-13, but Berlin scored five of the next six points to secure the second set, 25-14.
Sensing the sweep, the Bears started the third set with a 4-0 run. After the Indians scored to stop the bleeding, a kill by Higgins and ace by Taylor Walker made it 6-1.
The Indians didn’t go down without a fight, getting as close as two, 12-10 in the third set, but the Bears surged down the stretch on the way to a 25-15 match-clinching win.
A perfectly placed touch shot off the hand of Showalter made it 23-15 before back-to-back Canal hitting errors accounted for the final margin.
Next up, fifth-seeded Berlin will host ninth-seeded Pickerington Central in Thursday’s sectional final.
Defending state runner-up Olentangy started this year’s postseason in style, blanking visiting Westland 12-0 in a Division I sectional semifinal Tuesday night in Lewis Center.
Lexi White scored three straight goals, the first two set up by Reagan Ross, to lead the top-seeded Braves to a 5-0 advantage in the early going.
Olivia Heskett followed White’s hat trick up with a goal of her own to balloon the lead to 6-0 and the Braves never looked back.
Olentangy returns to action Saturday, hosting 43rd-seeded Columbus Northland in a sectional final. Action is set to get underway at 7 p.m.
Drew Neville opened the scoring less than four minutes into the action and host Olentangy Orange rolled from there, using six second-half goals to pull away for an 8-0 Division I sectional semifinal win Tuesday night in Lewis Center.
Chewy Koo scored back-to-back tallies two minutes apart to swell the lead to 5-0 before Jack Behre scored two straight to make it 7-0 and all but seal the deal.
Delaware Hayes 8, Licking Heights 2
Peyton Fowler scored four goals and Dylan Ashworth tallied four assists to lead the Pacers to a lopsided tournament-opening win Tuesday night in Delaware.
Brayden Shorter, K.C. Howard, Abdul Kawa and Ashworth also scored in the win.
Next up, 28th-seeded Hayes will travel to take on fourth-seeded Olentangy Berlin in Thursday’s sectional final.
Big Walnut 4, Columbus Mifflin 3
Andrew Borcila scored the winning goal in overtime to lift the 22nd-seeded Golden Eagles to a thrilling Division I sectional semifinal win over the visiting Punchers Tuesday night in Sunbury.
With the win, Big Walnut advances to Thursday’s sectional final against host Gahanna Lincoln. Action is set to start at 7 p.m.
Lucy Keeler and Lily Weis scored two minutes apart in the fourth quarter to help seventh-seeded Olentangy Liberty pull away for a 4-0 win over visiting and 12th-seeded Olentangy Berlin in the first round of the Division I regional tournament Tuesday night in Powell.
Next up, the Patriots will play top-seeded Bishop Watterson on Tuesday night at a time and place to be determined.