COLUMBUS – It was only appropriate that the Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team ended rival Olentangy Liberty’s season with a 25-15, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22 win in a Division I regional semifinal Thursday night.
After all, the Patriots did the same to the Pioneers in last year’s regional final.
“We definitely used it as motivation all year,” Orange coach Katie Duy said. “I’m a coach that always wants our kids to be learning and taking advantage of opportunities to grow – even in losses – and we used that to motivate this year.
“(Liberty is) a great team. I think they have one of the best players in Central Ohio in Claranne Fechter. I have a lot respect for her because she’s great.”
London Davis had 21 kills and Hannah Borer had 50 assists to lead Orange to its third victory over rival Liberty this season.
Borer’s big night broke a record. She now has 764 assists this season, breaking Carrigan O’Reilly’s mark of 751 in 2017.
The first one was a five-set thriller akin to the last year’s regional final. But the second was a three-set thrashing by the Pioneers that had Liberty coach Jen Chapman seeing flashbacks after the first two sets Thursday.
“It almost seemed like it was meant to happen,” Davis said. “Last year – they beat us three times. I think we all believed in each other and we played our hearts out just like we did last year. But this time – it was great – we came out on top.”
But the Patriots settled in and responded with a third-set victory and started strong in the fourth.
“Between Game 2 and Game 3, I said, ‘This is it – there’s no second chances,’” Chapman said. “I challenged the seniors that this is their last opportunity to go on the court and show their resilience and show them what we’re made of.
“I thought we really bounced back and did the things that we needed to in Game 3. We served aggressively and got them out of system and we knew that that’s what we had to do.”
Nina Marin had two of her three aces in the fourth set to help Orange gain control.
The Pioneers had a balanced attack from their front line with all five over nine kills. Madison Moll had 11; Borer, Tazmin Appiah and Molly Shomock had nine apiece.
Addie Evans had 28 digs and Appiah added three blocks to lead the Pioneers (21-4) on defense.
Fechter had 29 digs and 22 kills, Sydney Novy had 27 digs and two aces and Logan Flaugh had 38 assists to lead the Patriots (17-7).
“I just feel like they’ve faced some adversity as a group,” Chapman said. “They started off a little hesitant at the beginning of the year trying to figure out what our identity was and I think they figured it out and they rallied behind it. I’m proud of the way we finished our season for sure.”
Orange will meet St. Francis DeSales for a regional championship Saturday at 2 p.m. at Kilbourne.
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