Area high school volleyball teams discovered their first challenge of the postseason on Sunday as the 2011 tournament draws were held.
In Division II action at Lima Senior, upper and lower brackets packed with Western Buckeye League competition awaits Defiance.
With an overall record of 10-8, DHS took the fifth seed and will take on second-seeded St. Marys (15-5) in the lower bracket. St. Marys handed DHS a defeat in four sets earlier in the season.
"I'm excited to play St. Marys just because we played them late in our season and we didn't play our best match," exclaimed DHS head coach Brooke Buti of the anticipated rematch to take place on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.. "One of my starters had just came back for that match, too, so I'll be excited to play them with a healthy team and to see how the girls rally back against them."
Taking the top spot in the Lima Senior sectional was Celina (14-6) in an overall tournament where five of the eight squads boast winning records.
While Celina will take on Lima Shawnee (3-16) in Tuesday's early game in the upper bracket, Buti commented on the familiarity and the uncertainty of the overall tournament.
"It's kind of like everybody has beaten everybody in the WBL, and that's how our lower part of the sectional is, too," she explained. "It's just anybody's ballgame."
Buti also hopes that playing up to a handful of D-I schools throughout the season will have her team prepared for a tough sectional.
"We've played a lot of tough teams," said the DHS mentor. "We're 4-2 against Division I schools, so I think that speaks a lot for the season that we play and the teams that we play during our season. I'm hoping that helps us in the tournament."
In D-III action at Defiance High School, fourth-seeded Tinora (10-10) will open up play on Oct. 18 in the early game against Swanton (7-12), while Archbold (15-6) will clash with NWOAL rival Delta (13-7) in the nightcap.
Awaiting the Tinora-Swanton winner will be top-seeded Evergreen (16-2) on Thursday in the early game followed by third-seeded Liberty Center against either Archbold or Delta for a shot at district competition at Napoleon.
While the second-seeded Blue Streaks previously defeated Delta in the regular season in four sets, Archbold co-mentor Dale Grime is not taking anything for granted.
"I'm nervous," he admitted. "The last time we played (Delta), they played us tough and it was at home. It probably going to be a nail-biter right down to the wire.
"It all depends on if we show up or not," he added. "If we don't show up, we'll probably go home. It should be a good game. Delta's played some pretty good teams and has been competitive."
Out of the six teams in the Defiance Sectional, Archbold -- which has at least a share of the NWOAL title secured with at 7-0 with one more regular season match against Patrick Henry on the horizon -- has faced all of the competition previously throughout the season in league play.
"Most of the teams have battled us and most of the teams are competitive," stated Grime. "We play a very competitive schedule in the NWOAL, and most of those teams are competitive. There are some very good teams in that league."
Ayersville mentor Julie Gustwiller was pleased with her team's draw in Division IV.
"I'm really happy about it," said Ayersville mentor Julie Gustwiller about the seeding. "There were no surprises. I knew going in that Edon was going to get number one and that we were probably going to get number two.
Coming out of the meeting, I think I feel pretty confident in the sectional tournament," stated the Ayersville coach, whose Pilots will put their 5-0 GMC record on the line this week against Antwerp and Wayne Trace in pursuit of a league crown. "But I do know that, when it comes to tournament time, anything can happen. I'm going to be sure to prepare my team to play each game one at a time."