WHITEHALL – Senior Carrigan O’Reilly hasn’t had the season she dreamt about. A knee injury suffered just before the season started cost her 10 games and it took another nine to regain her form.
But, she’s found it again and it was on full display Thursday night at Whitehall-Yearling High School.
O’Reilly had 21 assists, six kills and three blocks to help the Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team to a 25-6, 25-9, 25-14 win over Delaware Hayes in a Division I district semifinal.
She has always been a quality setter. But, this season, she’s added to her game.
“It’s actually kind of neat,” she said. “I’m not limited to one thing … adjusting myself and trying to put myself in a different situation and hopefully that will work out for the team.”
“Her presence on the floor is such a difference-maker for us,” Orange coach Katie Duy said. “She can hit, she can set, she blocks and her I.Q. is so high. She’s worked extremely hard to get back to this position.”
Her tumultuous season happened because a bar fell on her right knee while working out in the weight room. It didn’t seem at the time that it would be that costly, but an x-ray revealed a bone chip.
“It was unexpected and it was random,” O’Reilly said. “I thought it was just a little bruise.”
She returned for the first Olentangy game Sep. 20. But, it wasn’t until the second Olentangy game Oct. 9 that she started feeling like her old self.
“Each game is kind of, for me, a new experience,” O’Reilly said. “It’s a new baby-obstacle that I overcome. Each game, I’m getting stronger, I’m getting more used to it and feeling safer on the court or in control. That’s an awesome feeling and I hope it continues to happen.”
“No one works harder than Carrigan,” Duy said. “She’s the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. She gets every rep in that she can and leads by example and makes everyone else want to work as hard.”
She had dreams of an OCC-Buckeye title, but the Pioneers had already lost to Liberty without her and she hadn’t fully recovered by the time the teams played again.
So, O’Reilly has turned her attention to other goals – winning a third district championship and then the school’s first regional title.
“This is our last year and we want to make it memorable,” O’Reilly said. “We didn’t win the OCC and that (was upsetting). That’s going to continue to motivate us (in the postseason).”
Next up, the fourth-seeded Pioneers face 13th-seeded Watkins Memorial at Whitehall Saturday at 4 p.m.
“This is the fourth year in a row we’ve been in the district semifinal round,” Duy said. “I think (the seniors’) experience and leadership is helping out right now.”
Orange has won back-to-back district titles, but fell in the regional semifinal round both times.
London Davis had nine kills and Sydney Gossard had five, Hanna Borer helped out with 14 assists, Megan McCollum had 12 digs and Brooke Little led with three aces for the Pioneers (19-5).
“Delaware is a great team and they play a tough schedule,” Duy said. “They’re in a tough conference. I thought we did a good job of serving and keeping them out of system and then taking advantage and moving our offense around just trying to keep the blockers guessing on their side.”
“I think they had that determination to not let a ball drop on their side,” Hayes coach Raynard Martin said. “We’d put a good swing on it and they’d get a platform on it and get the ball up and everybody else is ready to put a good second touch on the ball. Even when it wasn’t an ideal ball – they still took an out-of-system second-ball and turned it into offense for their team. They’re a good team and they played really well.”
And while the result was the same, Martin appreciated the effort his team gave – particularly in the third set.
“We lost the first two with pretty good margins and they turned right around and started fighting really hard in that third set and it’s tight until the middle of that set,” Martin said. “I couldn’t ask for more than the effort (they) gave.”
Becca Rocassin had seven digs and five assists, Anna Johnson and Mia Thompson had five digs apiece and Sydney Krewson had three kills to lead the 15th-seeded Pacers (16-9).
DELAWARE CHRISTIAN 3, SHEKINAH CHRISTIAN 2
It wasn’t easy — it never is with Shekinah Christian — but fourth-seeded DCS outlasted the second-seeded Flames in a five-set thriller to advance to Saturday’s Division IV district championship game back at Worthington Christian Middle School.
The Eagles won the first set 25-16, lost a tight second 25-27, won the third 25-18, lost the fourth 15-25 and rallied to take the fifth and final set by a 16-14 margin.
“Of course it was a battle, like all of our games with them have been,” Delaware Christian coach Jackie Boggs said. “Really great team effort by everyone. They all stepped up and did what they needed to do. We were down 12-14 in Game 5 and Abbi Mauer served an ace and Lyssi Snouffer finished it up with some kills.”
Snouffer had a monster game, collecting 28 kills to go with 40 digs. Other Eagle standouts included Maggie Broadfoot, who had 15 digs, 10 kills and two blocks; Allison Grover, who finished with 10 kills and five blocks; Grace Williams, who had 31 assists and 12 digs; and Mauer, who had nine assists, six digs and two aces in the win.
Next up, DCS plays top-seeded Fairfield Christian in Saturday’s final. Action is set to start at 2 p.m.
Also: Big Walnut 3, London 0
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.