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Area teams fall in boys volleyball state championships

They have three state titles and have amassed more wins over four seasons – 93 – than any class in program history, but that was little consolation to the Alter High School seniors.

Columbus St. Charles upset the No. 1 ranked Knights in their quest for a fifth consecutive Division II state title in the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association Championship at Capital University on Sunday. The Cardinals defeated the Knights 25-19, 14-25, 25-16, 28-26.

“It’s definitely different being on the losing end,” Alter coach Craig Erford said. “But most teams don’t get to the state, much less win, so I told our guys they should be proud of what they’ve accomplished – not just this year but over the past four years.”

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The Knights have won four of the past five and six of the past eight D-II state volleyball titles, but it was the Cardinals who came out strong in the championship match.

“We had opportunities, but we couldn’t convert them,” Erford said. “St. Charles kept a lot of points alive and we had a lot more hitting errors. It’s a testament to how good a team St. Charles is.”

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The experienced, senior-laden Alter squad has battled back successfully several times, including a come-from-behind five-set regional win over Fenwick.

“Many times, including several times at state, we’ve been behind, but we find a way to win,” Erford said. “Not this time.”

Division II Ohio Player of the Year Andrew Rose closed out his career by crushing the school single-season record for aces with 89. The previous record was 60. Rose, who will play club volleyball at the University of Cincinnati, also holds the school records for career aces and kills.

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Division I: The semifinals proved to be the stopping point for both Beavercreek and Northmont on Sunday.

Eventual state champion Moeller edged Beavercreek, 27-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-14. Ohio State-bound Parker Mikesch dominated play for the Beavers with 25 digs, 12 kills and three aces. Simon Ricks led Beavercreek in the kill category with 13, along with eight digs and two blocks.

It marked the final match for veteran coach Carol Bysak, who is retiring after 14 years at Beavercreek. Bysak will continue as an assistant coach at Wilmington College.

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Hilliard Darby defeated Northmont 25-20, 21-25, 21-25, 27-25, 15-13 in other semifinal. Thunderbolts senior Dawson Walker had a dominating performance with 26 kills, 11 digs and four blocks, and senior Ryan Foy tallied 52 assists and four blocks in the semifinal.

“Hilliard Darby earned it,” Northmont coach Jim Smith said. “We were just so close. The boys were extremely disappointed in the loss, but also very proud of how far they came this season.”

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Both the Bolts and the Beavers made quick work of their quarterfinal opponents Saturday. Northmont swept defending D-I state champion St. Ignatius, 25-22, 25-19, 25-21. Beavercreek fought from behind in the opening set and posted a straight-set win over Jackson, 28-26, 25-16, 25-22.

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