Waterford plays in regional semifinal Wednesday
WATERFORD — With it being the Halloween season, the Waterford High volleyball team received a scare in its Ohio DIV district final match last weekend.
But all’s well that ends well as the Wildcat netters treated themselves to a 3-2 come-from-behind triumph (17-25, 11-25, 25-22, 25-18, and 15-13) over Portsmouth Clay to claim the district championship at Jackson High.
“Saturday was a tough realization for us that we have to come out from point one with a sense of competitive urgency,” said first-year WHS varsity VB coach Kim Barker, whose ‘Cats are now scheduled to play Kelsey Glockner-coached Portsmouth Notre Dame in a regional “Sweet 16” semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lancaster High.
“Teams from here on out are not going to just cruise and sit back, allowing us to beat them,” Barker continued. “We have to outwork the other team for each point.
“Although our first two sets were not the prettiest I’ve seen all-around, this team does not give up. They finally gained that confidence and fire that was missing in the first two sets to win the next three.”
Statistically for the ‘Cats, Megan Ball (14), Alli Kern (12), Morgan Lang (7), Ana Sophia Beardsley (1), Denise Young (4), and Allex Teters (2) combined for 40 kills.
The 5-foot-10 Ball also added seven blocks, four aces and one dig.
WHS setter Jordan Taylor finished with 18 assists, seven digs, and three aces, while Hayley Duff (11), Haley Klintworth (9), and libero Hannah Duff (11) combined for 31 digs.
With the victory, Waterford, No. 12 in the final D-IV OHSVCA Coaches Poll, improved its record to 24-1. The Wildcats’ only setback was against Athens High earlier in the season.
“Volleyball is a game of momentum and we had it the last three sets,” Barker said. “Clay was a tough, solid team that again pushed us to give everything we had.”
Waterford is hoping for a better start against Notre Dame, which swept Federal Hocking High, 3-0 by the scores of 26-24, 25-20, and 25-20 in its district final at Jackson.
The Titans (20-5) finished No. 18 in the Coaches poll.
“Moving on to Notre Dame Wednesday we have to get focused on us and how to better ourselves moving forward as well as focusing on a new team that is also solid,” Barker said.
Notre Dame’s front row is expected to feature 6-4 junior Katie Dettwiller and 6-0 senior Lew Smith.
“Notre Dame had two middle powerhouses they like to go to, so our key is to find them,” Barker said. “We are just taking this one day at a time and trying not to get ahead of ourselves, with each new team comes new game plans and adjustments we need to make.”
Another ND hitter who the Wildcats will need to find will be 5-10 junior Clara Hash.
The Titans’ setter will be sophomore Cassie Schaefer and their libero is 5-1 Ali Smith.
The winner of Waterford-Portsmouth Notre Dame is slated to play either Monroe Central (17-7) or Lancaster Fairfield Christian (21-3) in a regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lancaster High. At stake then will be a berth in the state tournament at Nutter Center, Wright State University, Dayton, Nov. 9-11.
Monroe Central claimed its first D-IV East 2 district volleyball title with a five-set triumph (25-12, 23-25, 25-22, 21-25, and 15-12) over Malvern High in Steubenville last Wednesday night.
In the regional semi against Fairfield Christian at 6 p.m., the Troy Baker-coached Seminoles are expected to feature hitter Marlee Miller, libero Sydney Yoho, hitter McKinzey Dierkes, setter Elaina Swallow, hitter Haven Dick, hitter Olivia Gauding, and Shyla Schneider.
Baker is in his 18th season at the VB helm.