Braves, Patriots advance to regional volleyball final

By Ben Stroup - [email protected]

The Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy boys volleyball teams took care of business Tuesday.

Both won their respective Division I regional semifinals at Olentangy High School. Their reward? A trip to Friday’s final at Westerville Central … against each other.

The Patriots beat Gahanna Lincoln in straight sets to punch their ticket. They won the first set 25-20 before sealing the deal with wins of 25-21 and 25-22 in the second and third, respectively.

“We did a great job of passing and not making any unforced errors,” Liberty coach Dave Hale said.

Nick Irelan led the way with 17 kills while Llwyatt Hofer added nine and Rithvik Potluri finished with five.

Sean McCabe helped facilitate the solid ball movement with 36 assists while Shiva Dubbaka and Potluri had nine digs apiece.

In order to keep things rolling against Olentangy, Hale said his guys just need to keep doing what they’re doing.

“We need to play similar to (the way we played) tonight,” he said. “We need to pass well to run our offense and keep them off-balance.”

The Braves, meanwhile, lost the first set of their match against visiting Westerville Central 20-25, but rebounded to take the next three 25-21, 25-14, 25-13.

“We had nine missed serves and eight hitting errors in sets one and two,” Olentangy coach Karen Kochheiser said. “In sets three and four, we went back to using our middles and being smart with where we were placing the ball. We also only had four missed serves and four hitting errors (in sets three and four).”

Aaric Gossett finished with a team-best nine kills, Jamir Benton and Jack Spohn had eight each and Kurt Freeman added seven.

Freeman, Spohn and Benton all added three blocks, Trent Trees had 22 assists and Bentley Azbell finished with 14 digs.

Friday’s regional final is set to start at 6:30 p.m. at Westerville Central High School.

By Ben Stroup

[email protected]