Waterford tops Fort Frye in 5-set thriller

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Waterford’s Megan Ball (18) spikes the ball as Fort Frye’s Kasey Buchanan (31) tries to block it during a high school volleyball match Tuesday at Harry Cooper Gym.

WATERFORD — As one can expect with any competition between Fort Frye and Waterford, Tuesday’s volleyball match was full of twists and turns.

In the end, it was the Wildcats who prevailed in a five-set thriller over the Cadets. Waterford took the first set, 25-20, dropped the next two 25-20 and 25-23 before winning the final two 25-21 and 15-9 to earn the victory.

Down 2-1 in the match, Waterford head coach Kim Barker was confident her team could rally.

“I just told them, ‘We’ve got to get focused and keep staying aggressive.’ This is a team that is very competitive, very focus-driven and they like to come out and finish,” Barker said. “They finished very well tonight.”

Waterford benefited from quality performances by seniors Megan Ball and Alli Kern, who posted 16 kills apiece. Ball added seven blocks and three aces while Kern contributed six blocks.

“We told each other that we just needed to keep sticking together and pull together as a team,” Ball said. “We knew that we would pull it out as long as we stuck together as a team. I think we did that fairly well.”

Kern had powerful kills to close out the first, fourth and fifth sets for the Wildcats, who improved to 11-1 on the year.

Ball also had some thunderous hits to get the crowd going.

“It’s crazy,” Ball said. “I get up and I’m just like, ‘Yes, I’m gonna get this one’ and I just go for it. Alli has the same feeling. She says she just gets excited when she goes up and hits it. It’s like the excitement and the adrenaline going through.

“We have great passers that get it to our setters. The setters place it so perfect for us. That sets it up right there. Perfect pass, perfect set and it goes from there.”

Jordan Taylor led Waterford with 18 assists while Allex Teters added 12.

“(Ball and Kern) had a big impact,” Barker said. “There were moments where I looked at my setters and I said, ‘Feed Megan the ball.’ She was on fire tonight and we really need to capitalize on those hitters that are executing. I thought setters did a nice job with that.”

Fort Frye (6-5) bounced back after dropping the first set to win the next two and appeared to be in position to escape enemy territory with a W. However, Waterford proved to be a bit too much.

“It was a hard fought battle most of the night,” said Fort Frye head coach Tiffany Schob. “There were a lot of ups and a lot of downs for both teams. There were times when we didn’t play as a team as much as I would’ve liked us to. It comes down to communication and sometimes passing for us, and that was the difference tonight for us.”

Stephanie Camden tallied a game-high 35 assists for the Cadets, while Kasey Buchanan led the way with 14 kills and 8 1/2 blocks. Kelsey Buchanan and Jade Baker contributed six kills apiece.

Despite the loss, Schob felt her team came out of Tuesday’s match in good shape.

“Obviously a game like this you want to come out on top,” Schob said. “Anytime you go into five games, you want to come out on top. Usually we do, and because of that it’s a tough pill to swallow.

“Nights like tonight are the things that are going to prepare you the most for the postseason. So these are the types of positions we want to be in.”

For Waterford, Taylor led the way with seven aces while Denise Young posted seven blocks. Hannah and Hayley Duff registered 24 and 15 digs, respectively, while Haley Klintworth added 14.

“It definitely was good for us,” Barker said of the competitive match. “It showed us some things we need to work on as well. Fort Frye is a great program. They came in very competitive, something we needed. It was a good game overall.”

Ball said the atmosphere in matches against Fort Frye is unbeatable.

“It’s always incredible,” she said. “Just all the people that come to watch — it gives us great energy and it’s honestly amazing to hear everyone screaming and yelling. It’s a whole different environment than what we’re normally playing in.”