CAMBRIDGE - The Lady Cadets' postseason run came to an end Tuesday as the Fort Frye High volleyball team dropped a Division III district semifinal match to West Muskingum in three sets at Cambridge High School.
The MVL-champion Lady Tornadoes used their size and power to get past the Sam Skinner-led Cadets and advance to the district final Thursday against either Tuscarawas Valley or Ridgewood.
Skinner said his team just ran into a tough opponent.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Fort Frye’s Lexi Huck (22) spikes the ball as West Muskingum’s Dylana McKenzie (24) tries to block it in district semifinal volleyball action at Cambridge High Tuesday night.
"They are a good team," the coach said. "They are a big team. They slam the ball down hard. When you're not a very big team it's hard to keep up with that. They're a good team all the way around."
After getting down 2-1 in the first set, Deidra Combs recorded a kill to tie it at 2-2. Lexi Huck then notched a kill of her own to give Fort Frye a 3-2 lead. West M recorded four straight points, led by two service points from Amisha Herd, to make it 6-3 Tornadoes.
Later in the set, after Fort Frye got a point to make it 12-6, West M went on an 11-0 run to jump out to a huge 23-6 lead. Alyssa Skinner recorded a kill and Courtney McIntosh an ace to make it 23-8. Fort Frye then scored two out of the next three points, but the Tornadoes ended it with kill from Erin Mitchell to take the first set 25-10.
At Cambridge High School
Division III District Semifinal
West Muskingum d. Fort Frye 25-10, 25-8, 25-18
Fort Frye (14-7) stats: Deidra Combs 5kills, 4blocks, 1pt; Lexi Huck 2digs; Abby Baker 2asst, 1block; Ellie Schwendeman 2digs; Alli Hesson 9asst, 1dig, 4pts, 1ace; Bailey Thieman 2kills, 1block, 1dig, 6pts, 1ace; Alyssa Skinner 1kill; Megan Hesson 5digs; Courtney McIntosh 1pt, 1ace
West Muskingum stats: Alison Hazen 15asst, 1ace, 1kill; Abbi Brock 11asst, 2aces; Dylana McKenzie 11kills, 5aces, 4blocks, 1asst; Dakota McKenzie 10kills, 5aces, 2blocks, 1asst; Macy Meadows 6kills, 2blocks, 1asst
Next match: West Muskingum vs. Tuscarawas Valley/Ridgewood winner at 6 p.m. Thursday at Cambridge High School
It was more of the same in the second set, as West M jumped out to a 7-0 lead paced by five kills and a block from Dakota McKenzie. Combs finally got a kill to put the Cadets on the board.
Fort Frye began to battle back, as a kill from Bailey Thieman and a service point from Alli Hesson cut the deficit to 7-3. McKenzie didn't go away, recording back-to-back kills to make it 9-3.
After a kill by Thieman made it 9-4, West M rattled off six straight points to extend its lead to 15-4. After a serve out of bounds made it 15-5, the Tornadoes went on another 6-0 run led by a kill and two blocks from Dylana McKenzie, Dakota's twin sister.
The McKenzie sisters caused havoc to many MVL teams this season with their height, and did the same against the Cadets. Tornado head coach Brent McLoughlin admitted having two players of that caliber was an advantage.
"It's definitely a benefit having two kids over 6-foot-2," McLoughlin said. "It definitely helps getting balls where they need to be."
Down 21-5, Fort Frye scored two points to make it 21-7, but West M scored four of the next five points to win the set 25-8 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
When West M went up 9-4 in the third set, it looked like the start of another rout, but a block by Huck and a kill by Thieman cut it to 10-7. West M got four straight points before Hesson got a service point to make it 14-9. After West M got a point, Thieman recorded two service points in a row and an ace to cut the Tornado lead to 15-12. Megan Hesson then recorded a kill and Combs killed two in a row to tie the game at 15-15, forcing a West M timeout.
After West M got a point, Combs notched a kill to tie it back up at 16-16. Two kills by Dylana McKenzie and an ace by Dakota McKenzie made it 19-16. After Fort Frye cut it to 19-17, the Tornadoes scored three in a row again to make the lead 22-17. An out of bounds serve made it 22-18 before West M scored the final three points, capped by a Dylana McKenzie ace, to take the third set 25-18 and complete the sweep.
The loss made Fort Frye's 2012 record 14-7. Skinner was proud of the season that his team had.
"At the beginning of the year we set goals," Skinner said. "It's been since '01 since we had a sectional championship. That was one of our goals, and to achieve that goal, that's a really good job by the girls. They worked really hard at it."