The varsity volleyball team (21-6) embraced a tough schedule this year. It played the Div. I state runner-up, St. Joseph Academy, and the Div. I state champion, Ursuline Academy, of 2017 along with the Div. II state runner-up, Big Walnut, of 2017.
Not only did the team face adversity in its schedule, but it also faced adversity when its senior starting setter, Carrigan O’Reilly, was out for the beginning of the season due to injury. The team had two of its six losses without her. O’Reilly made her senior season debut against Westerville South and in the following game against Olentangy, she broke 2,000 assists and holds the school record for most assists.
“Our losses this season definitely shaped our team to be who we were. We learned from each one of them and took each one as a mental check to grow and some were tough (Liberty),” senior captain Sidney Gossard said.
The team finished its regular season 17-5 and 10-2 in the OCC Buckeye conference. On Sunday Oct. 7, the varsity team had its annual state tournament draw. The Pioneers landed the fourth seed in the tournament.
The team played in a district final against No. 13 Watkins Memorial. The Pioneers beat the Warriors 3-1 their third district championship in a row.
On Thursday Nov. 1, the team played in the regional semi-finals against Bishop Watterson. It pulled out the three-set sweep. This is the first time in school history the team has advanced to the regional finals. On Saturday, Nov. 3, it played against No. 1 ranked and district rival Olentangy Liberty. It was a hard fought battle to five sets with the Pioneers eventually falling to the Patriots with a final score of 29-31, 25-21, 17-25, 25-13, 13-15.
“At the beginning of the season, the goal of the team was to improve on our season last year and we did by making it to the elite eight, which is the farthest a team has gone in this program’s history,” Head coach Katie Duy said.
The class of 2019 ended its high school careers with three conference championships, three district championships and a regional runner-up. Duy talked highly of the six seniors, “Their leadership, selflessness and work ethic has helped build the program and improve it every year.”
Special congratulations to Carrigan O’Reilly who was 1st Team OCC, 1st Team Central District and 2nd Team All Ohio. O’Reilly is also the first player in program history to be All State two years in a row. In addition, congratulations to London Davis who was 1st Team OCC and 1st Team Central District, Megan McCollum who was 2nd Team OCC and Honorable Mention Central District and Sidney Gossard who was Honorable Mention OCC.