Fort Frye an underdog with a pit bull bite

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Fort Frye’s Kasey Buchanan (31) tries to block a spike attempt by Waterford’s Alli Kern during a high school volleyball match earlier this season at the Harry Cooper Annex.

BEVERLY — At 14-7, the Fort Frye volleyball team’s overall record is a little misleading.

The Tiffany Schob-coached Cadets “got game,” and they’re hoping to make believers out of some people when they play Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas in an Ohio DIV regional semifinal match at 7:30 p.m. today at Lake High in Uniontown.

“The key for us is going to be stepping onto the court with that same mentality (at district), really giving 110 percent and above all else playing as a team,” Schob said. “We’ve had good practices in between games now, the girls are definitely focused.”

While the Cadets may be an underdog, they’re also a very dangerous team for several reasons.

First of all, the Fort played a very challenging regular-season schedule, facing tough opponents like 12th-ranked Waterford (currently in regional play), Shenandoah (a district finalist), and Monroe Central (currently in regional play) to name but a few. The Cadets came within one point of upsetting the Wildcats in their second meeting in the Beverly gym.

Secondly, the Cadets, currently undefeated in postseason play, own both a sectional and district championship. So far, despite being a lower seed in the district, they’ve actually thrived on the adversity.

In the district final at Meadowbrook, Fort came back from a one-set deficit to beat top-seeded Shenandoah, 3-1 (16-25, 25-17, 25-14, and 25-21).

“I was proud of my girls for the way they played in the district championship last week,” Schob said.

Thirdly, Fort Frye is very familiar with the Lake High gym, having played and lost to heavily favored Dalton High there last year. Even so, the Cadets are battle-tested and more experienced. They know what to expect.

And, finally, there’s no shortage of talent on the Fort roster. The Cadet hitters’ Kasey Buchanan, Alissa Ginther, Jade Baker, Kelsey Adkins, and Maddie Webb are all very athletic and take a backseat to no one on the VB court.

Fort setter Stephanie Camden (assists) and libero Gabby Baker (digs) each is very competent in what they do to help the team.

With all that being said, Fort Frye still knows it has its work cut out for itself against St. Thomas Aquinas, 21-3 and 19th-ranked in the DIV OHSVCA Final Coaches Poll.

“Any team you play at this point in the post season is going to be good competition,” Schob said. “St Thomas Aquinas has 21 wins on their season, and has some strong players.”

The Alyssa Thewes-coached Knights got to the Sweet 16 by beating Southern Local, 3-1 (by scores of 25-18, 25-22, 17-25, and 25-15).

St. Thomas Aquinas’ front row is expected to include 6-foot senior Katie Hiestand, 6-0 sophomore Lourdes Meyers, and 5-9 junior Cassie Duplin.

Hiestand, an all-around player, leads the Knight in digs, followed by 5-5 senior Sydney Webb. Meyers is the team’s top blocker.

Angela Farolino, a 5-5 senior setter, will get credit for most of the assists.

The Fort Frye-St. Thomas Aquinas winner will advance and play either 11th-ranked Dalton or Ashtabula St. John in a regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lake High. At stake then will be a berth in the state tournament at Nutter Center, Wright State University, Dayton, Nov. 9-11.