Fourteenth-seeded Delaware Hayes entered Monday’s Division I sectional semifinal against visiting and 25th-seeded Hilliard Bradley on an absolute roll, winning four straight, including Friday’s regular-season finale against previously undefeated Delaware Christian.
The momentum failed to carry into the postseason, though, as the Pacers lost their tourney opener in four sets.
Hayes won a tightly contested second set 25-23 to even things 1-1, but the Jaguars won the third set 25-20 and the fourth 25-15 to seal the deal.
Natalie Davis led the Pacers with 11 kills while Anna Johnson had 21 digs and 16 assists and Chloe Jeffers finished with 17 digs and 10 assists.
With the win, Hilliard Bradley advances to Wednesday’s sectional final against 15th-seeded Grove City.
In Friday’s finale against the Eagles — the outright Mid-Ohio Christian Athletic League champs — the Pacers won in three sets, but all three were tight.
Hayes took the opener 25-22 before sealing the deal with wins of 25-23 and 25-21 in the second and third, respectively.
Davis and Taylor Dushane led the attack, Johnson ran the offense and Ally Gray, Johnson and Ryleigh Hackathorn anchored the defense. Davis and Dushane combined for 14 kills, Johnson collected a team-best 19 assists to go with 17 digs, Gray had 19 digs and Hackathorn finished with 14 digs for the Pacers.
Abby Blackburn led the Eagles with nine kills and 16 digs in the setback. Other DCS standouts included Emma Rindfuss, who finished with 20 digs; Katie Neuhart, who had four aces and seven kills; Grace Williams, who chipped in 12 assists and 15 digs; Elizabeth Ringley, who had four aces; and Cami Dellipoala, who had six kills.
The fourth-seeded Eagles, who wrapped up the regular season with a 13-1 record thanks to Saturday’s 25-14, 25-18, 25-17 win over visiting Granville Christian, open postseason play Thursday. They’ll host either 11th-seeded Tree of Life or 12th-seeded Ridgedale at 6 p.m.