Delaware Hayes volleyball coach Liz Kaylor-Palmer pumped her fist and smiled at her junior varsity team sitting in the stands across the floor from the bench.
The girls were battling each other to see who could do the loudest and the longest Ric Flair woo. The kind of engagement and excitement that warrants a coach’s approval.
The Pacers are having a lot of fun these days.
They should be having fun.
Hayes has come a long way since winning a combined five games in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
“My first year, we won (three) games – it wasn’t very fun,” Kaylor-Palmer said. “It was a lot of scramble for us last year trying to figure out how to feel comfortable.”
Four of the five seniors were on the 2015 varsity squad – Kaylor-Palmer’s first at the helm.
“This year, to have the starting lineup we really want and to play against a tough opponent like Delaware Christian and play the way we did, it was a fun day,” Kaylor-Palmer said.
It’s the senior class that’s leading the way for the Pacers (12-4) this season, and it showed in the 25-13, 25-14, 25-16 win at DCS.
Senior Lauryn Rocassin did a lit bit of everything for Hayes in the win. She had 23 assists, six kills, six digs and a pair of aces to lead the way.
“She’s one of our go-to (players),” Kaylor-Palmer said. “She plays all six of our rotations for us. She does it all. I don’t pull her off the floor … and for a very good reason. She just keeps things really consistent for us. We rely on her a lot.”
Senior Julia Justice led with nine kills, senior Audrey Hannahs led with 12 digs and senior Julia Kaylor added five kills and five digs in the win, the first in three tries against DCS, a much smaller school with a highly decorated volleyball program.
“At this point, we’re well on our way to the goals we set this season,” Kaylor-Palmer said. “We wanted to place top two in the (OCC-Cardinal), three at the least. We’re at that point. We wanted to finish over .500, at least at .750 … we’re there. So, at this point the girls are just going out there and having fun.”
DCS is looking to wrap up its fourth straight Mid-Ohio Christian Athletic League title and its sixth in the last seven years.
The Eagles won in five sets last season at Hayes and straight sets two years ago at home.
“I got chills after the game because the last two years (were) great games,” Rocassin said. “This year, to beat them in three, we’re all so happy and giddy. We’ve gone a long way.”
“(Hayes has) improved a lot,” DCS coach Jackie Boggs said. “We see them all summer long in summer league and we go to the same tournament. They are just much faster than us this year. (Kaylor-Palmer has) done a really nice job over there.”
DCS had a lead in each of the three sets, but couldn’t keep up with the Pacers.
“This is a different level and that’s where we want to be,” Boggs said. “We want to play fast like that, but we’re young. We’re just not there yet.”
Sophomore Lyssi Snouffer had 11 digs, 10 kills and a pair of blocks to lead the Eagles (9-4).
“They were smart – they kept everything away from Lyssi,” Boggs said. “They didn’t hit at Lyssi, they didn’t serve at Lyssi.”
Senior Sarah Rosato had eight digs, four kills and a pair of aces and freshman Erin Bauslaugh had 14 assists to go with five digs to lead DCS.
Boggs is hoping that playing tough competition will prepare her squad for tournament time.
“We played Fairbanks, we’re getting ready to play Centerburg, we play Grandview Heights, Buckeye Valley (and) we’re going to play Elgin,” she said. “So, our non-league schedule – there’s nobody easy on there — and that’s what we want.
“We knew we weren’t going to be as strong as we were last year, but this is how we get there. By tournament time, we should be able to handle anything that comes at us.”
Next up, both teams return to league play Tuesday. DCS travels to Shekinah Christian in MOCAL action while Hayes hosts Thomas Worthington in OCC-Cardinal play.