The first week or so of the season wasn’t exactly going the Delaware Hayes volleyball team’s way.
Then Saturday happened.
After losing captain Julia Kaylor to a season-ending knee injury, with a pair of tough losses to Hilliard Darby (0-3) and Dublin Scioto (1-3) still stinging from earlier in the week, the Pacers turned things around in a big way during the weekend’s Cardington Volleyball Tournament.
They didn’t just bounce back and play well … they dominated on the way to winning the team title. Hayes won three straight to clinch the championship, without dropping a single set.
“I’m extremely proud of how our girls came out and performed,” Hayes coach Liz Kaylor-Palmer said. “We had some tough losses this past week and I was curious to see how they would handle today. We’ve also been trying to figure out how to regroup and push forward after losing Julia.”
Based on Saturday, the Pacers are well on their way to doing just that.
“This weekend really showed that we are capable of that by staying competitive and keeping our minds on our energy, our communication and our focus during the game. These girls have really been putting the effort and time into making this program into something their school and community can be proud of … and it’s finally beginning to pay off for them.”
Hayes opened the tourney with a 25-15, 25-21 win over River Valley. Sydney Krewson led the attack, finishing with nine kills, two aces, a block assist and five digs. Other productive Pacers included Lauryn Rocassin, who had six kills, three aces, 12 assists and six digs; Hadlee Bruns, who finished with four kills, a solo block and a block assist; and Audrey Hannahs, who chipped in 11 digs and a pair of aces.
The win set up a showdown with Grandview — a 25-20, 25-12 Pacer victory.
Becca Rocassin (13 assists and two aces) and Julia Justice (four kills and a solo block) made some noise against the Bobcats.
Hayes continued its dominance in the final, outlasting Lakewood 25-22, 25-18 thanks in part to Krewson’s team-high nine kills and Hannahs’ team-leading 16 digs.
Next up, the Pacers open league play when they host Thomas Worthington Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Delaware Christian 2, Columbus Academy 0
The Eagles picked up a pair of wins Saturday, opening the day with a convincing 25-19, 25-15 win over Academy.
Abbey Evans led the way with a team-best nine kills to go with two aces. Lyssi Snouffer was also solid, finishing with five kills and three aces, while Brianna Blackburn chipped in 19 assists and two kills, Rachel Sullivan added a pair of blocks and two aces and Maggie Broadfoot finished with two solo blocks.
Delaware Christian 2, CSG 0
The Eagles capped a 2-0 day with a 25-13, 25-17 win over Columbus School for Girls.
Evans hammered home 13 kills, Blackburn kept the defense guessing with 20 assists and four kills and Mary Kerins anchored the defense from the libero position with solid passing all game long.
Also: Liberty def. Dublin Scioto 25-21, 25-14; Grandview def. Buckeye Valley 13-25, 25-19, 25-23; Highland def. Big Walnut 25-19, 25-17, 20-25, 25-21;
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.