The top-seeded Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team hadn’t played a match in almost two weeks prior to Thursday’s Division I district semifinal against visiting Big Walnut.
A double bye will do that.
Rust, though, was hardly an issue for the Pioneers, who polished off the Golden Eagles in three sets, 25-11, 25-11, 25-15 to with their 14th-straight game and secure a spot in Saturday’s district championship.
The Golden Eagles, already with two tournament wins under their belt, entered on a bit of a roll themselves. The momentum didn’t carry into their semifinal showdown, though, as Orange set the tone with a 13-0 run to start the first set. Hanna Borer sparked the rally with a nice stretch from the service stripe.
The Pioneers led 20-8 on an ace from Maddie Cugino and sealed the 25-11 opening-set win with back-to-back points from London Davis, a kill and an ace.
Big Walnut’s Andie Stewart came up with a big-time block on a rocket from Davis early in the second set, evening things at one, but Orange scored 11 of the next 14 points to take a 12-4 lead into a timeout.
A block by Tazmin Appiah ballooned the Pioneer lead to 21-8. Down big, with Orange staring down match point, BW stayed alive with back-to-back points — the first a block by Caroline Speelman — but Davis again ended things with a kill.
The third set started with a flurry of back-and-fourth rallies, with the Eagles holding tough in the early going, but it was only a matter of time before the Pioneers took control.
A kill from Appiah made it 10-4 and an ace from Ainsley Robare pushed the lead to 13-6, forcing a Big Walnut timeout. The lead only grew from there as Orange secured the 25-15 win to seal the deal.
Davis led the way with 15 kills while Borer finished with a game-high 30 assists to go with five aces. Cugino also had a nice night, collecting nine digs in the win.
Speelman had eight kills and three aces to lead Big Walnut. Stewart added four kills and Raegen Bickley chipped in 13 assists and two aces.
Next up, Orange will host eighth-seeded Westerville Central in Saturday’s district final. Action is set to start at 2:30 p.m.