Patriots can’t solve Shamrocks


Drop regional semifinal in straight sets

Liberty’s Lindsey Merrels (23) and Shelby Stewart (9) attempt to block a shot from Dublin Coffman’s Zoe Birnbrich during the second set of Wednesday’s Division I regional semifinal in Hilliard.

Liberty’s Lindsey Merrels (23) and Shelby Stewart (9) attempt to block a shot from Dublin Coffman’s Zoe Birnbrich during the second set of Wednesday’s Division I regional semifinal in Hilliard.


Liberty’s Heather Littlejohn (36) hammers home a kill during the second set of Wednesday’s regional semifinal in Hilliard.


By Michael Rich

mrichdelgazette@gmail.com

Olentangy Liberty’s historic season came to an abrupt halt in a straight-set loss to conference-rival Dublin Coffman in a Division I girls volleyball regional semifinal match Wednesday night in Hilliard.

Zoe Birnbrich had 12 kills, Riley Wagoner and Alli Sabol had nine each and Hunter Atherton had 28 assists to lead the Shamrocks (24-2) to a 25-11, 25-10, 25-11 win over Liberty.

“I thought they were able to stay in their system and run their offense,” Patriots coach Jen Chapman said. “That team, if you allow them to do that, they’re going to win 10 out of 10 times. They’re that good.”

The Patriots finished the season 23-3 with all three losses coming at the hands of Coffman, which was ranked No. 1 in the state as of the last poll from Oct. 19.

“I didn’t want them to walk out of here with this being their last volleyball memory because their season has been so much more than this one match,” Chapman said. “This one match doesn’t define them as a team … it doesn’t define their season. I just want them to really focus on what they did the whole entire season. It was amazing what they were able to do.”

Liberty’s Shelby Stewart finished first team all-district, Maddie Fogg finished second team and Lauren Hofer was honorable mention.

The 23 wins are a record for the Patriots, who came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Westerville Central to capture their first district title Saturday.

“We came off of two great games last week and maybe they spent all that they had in them,” Chapman said.

Fogg led the Patriots with 12 assists and 10 digs and Lauren Nichols had nine digs. Heather Littlejohn had four kills and Stewart and Madison Brenner added three each.

Coffman will play St. Francis DeSales in the regional championship Saturday at 2 p.m. at Hilliard Davidson.

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.

Liberty’s Lindsey Merrels (23) and Shelby Stewart (9) attempt to block a shot from Dublin Coffman’s Zoe Birnbrich during the second set of Wednesday’s Division I regional semifinal in Hilliard.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/11/web1_libvball3.jpgLiberty’s Lindsey Merrels (23) and Shelby Stewart (9) attempt to block a shot from Dublin Coffman’s Zoe Birnbrich during the second set of Wednesday’s Division I regional semifinal in Hilliard.

Liberty’s Heather Littlejohn (36) hammers home a kill during the second set of Wednesday’s regional semifinal in Hilliard.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/11/web1_libvball22.jpgLiberty’s Heather Littlejohn (36) hammers home a kill during the second set of Wednesday’s regional semifinal in Hilliard.
Drop regional semifinal in straight sets