Crusaders rally past Patriots in state final

The Olentangy Liberty boys volleyball team won the first two sets of Sunday’s Division I state championship at Pam Evans Smith Arena in Springfield, but Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller rallied to take the last three on the way to a five-set win on the state’s biggest stage.

The Patriots (23-5) won a competitive first set, 25-19, before taking the second, 25-16 — a set they led virtually the entire way. A Brody Threm kill evened things at six, but Liberty reeled off the next eight points to take control — a stretch capped by a Caden Whiteside kill.

Things turned in the third, though, a set that featured 14 ties and seven lead changes, as the Crusaders won a back-and-fourth battle, 25-23, thanks to a set-securing kill by Will Patterson.

Moeller (23-4) won another tight one in the fourth, taking its second-straight set by a slim 25-23 margin before securing the fifth and final set by another ultra-competitive, two-point spread, 15-13.

Whiteside led the Liberty attack, finishing with a match-high 28 kills. Ryan Severson and Jack Torson also finished in double figures, closing with 16 and 10, respectively.

Connor Severson quarterbacked the offense with 54 assists while Jack Sullenberger anchored the defense with 24 digs.

Patterson and Threm led Moeller with 21 and 15 kills, respectively. Ben Marcum finished with a match-high 52 assists while Tyler Wong closed with a team-leading 17 digs.

While the championship match proved to be an absolute grind, the Patriots cruised in Saturday’s semifinal, sweeping away Dublin Jerome, 25-13, 25-17, 25-16.

Connor Severson had eight assists while Whiteside finished with three kills to lead the way in a 25-13 opening-set win.

Liberty won the second, 25-17, then took care of the Celtics by a convincing 25-16 margin in the third to complete the sweep.

Ryan Severson finished with a match-high 10 kills while Whiteside and Jake Koch closed with nine and eight, respectively. Connor Severson collected 30 assists in the win over Jerome while Jack Sullenberger closed with 13 digs.

Aidan Eberhardt led Jerome with six kills while Connor Kemp finished with 22 assists.

In the D-II state final, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary won the first set before St. Francis DeSales won three straight to take the title, 21-25, 27-25, 25-17, 25-22.