All roads throughout the Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team’s history go through Bishop Watterson.
The Pioneers beat Watterson to capture the school’s first district title in 2016 and Orange beat the Eagles again in Thursday night’s Division I regional semifinal to make it to the school’s first regional title game.
Orange had its 2016 run stopped in the regional semifinal by Gahanna Lincoln and Dublin Coffman in the same round last year.
“I feel like the last four years have been leading up to this,” Orange coach Katie Duy said. “Our experience the two years here … I think that came into play a lot. We’ve had a long season; we’ve had some adversity and it just feels good right now.”
This time around, the Pioneers got a balanced effort from London Davis, Taylor Metzler and Madison Moll en route to a solid 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 win over Watterson in a Division I regional semifinal Thursday night.
“I think we did a good job of spreading it out and getting everybody involved,” Duy said. “From top to bottom – we have a lot of quality options and we want to be able to utilize them all.”
The Pioneers got off to slow starts in each set before rallying for the wins.
Kills by Sydney Gossard and Davis highlighted a 5-0 run to give Orange a 13-10 lead in the first set before Metzler, Moll and Carrigan O’Reilly scored on consecutive points in a 6-0 run late in the set.
Metzler had three kills and Hanna Borer added an ace in a 6-1 run to help the Pioneers gain control in the second set.
Davis and Moll had back-to-back kills to start a 5-1 rally to give Orange the lead for good in the final set.
“It’s incredible,” Moll said. “It’s been an amazing run. We’ve worked so hard for this and the payoff is just unbelievable.”
O’Reilly had 28 assists and Borer added 10, Megan McCullum led with 16 digs and Tazmin Appiah had 8.5 blocks to lead the Pioneers (21-5), who will try to avenge two losses to rival Olentangy Liberty in the regional final Saturday at 2 p.m. at Worthington Kilbourne.
“I wasn’t really thinking about (our next opponent),” Duy said. “At this point, I think we’re focused on what we need to do and not so much the name on the jersey across the net.”
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