Lady Wildcats fall in regional semifinal

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Waterford’s Morgan Lang, right, tries to block Notre Dame’s Lexi Smith’s spike attempt during a high school volleyball Division IV regional semifinal match Wednesday at Lancaster High School.

LANCASTER — Waterford High was able to overcome a two-set deficit in the district final but not in the regional semi.

The Wildcats’ volleyball season came to a close Wednesday night at Lancaster High when its green and white netters dropped a straight-set setback to Portsmouth Notre Dame by scores of 19-25, 22-25, and 23-25.

“We came up short every set,” said first-year Waterford varsityVB coach Kim Barker. “We didn’t really attack the way I think that we could have. I think we just set back a little too long and then decided to come back in the second and third set with all that we had. We kind of waited a little too late.”

“We were off a little bit and we weren’t really putting the ball in play when we needed to,” the coach added. “We had some mishits, out-of-bounds, in the net, and miscommunications.”

WHS finished No. 12 in the final DIV OHSVCA Coaches Poll with a 24-2 overall record. Alli Kern and Megan Ball led the ‘Cats with 10 and eight kills, respectively. Setter Jordan Taylor had a team-high 15 assists, and Allex Teters added 11 assists, and 11 digs, and two kills.

Libero Hannah Duff finished with 20 digs, while Haley Klintworth contributed six.

Portsmouth Notre Dame (21-5) advances to play Fairfield Christian Academy in a DIV regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lancaster High. The Kelsey Glockner-coached Knights were led by its front row of Lexi Smith, Katie Dettwiller, and Clara Hash. Cassie Schaefer was the setter, and Ali Smith, the libero.

Waterford got off to a slow start and never led in the opening set. In the second set, the Wildcats led for most of the game. At one point, they had a 14-8 advantage.

But the Knights, sparked by the 6-foot-3 Dettwiller, were able to rally late and, after taking their first lead 21-20, pulled out a three-point victory.

“It is tough when you have a lead,” Barker said, “and you’ve got that confidence. But again, this is a game of momentum, and it shifted Notre Dame’s way. And, we kind of lost it. We’ve got to stay up when we’re up.”

The final set was a nail-biter. The Wildcats hung tough and tied the score 22-22 and then 23-all. The Knights closed it out with a Smith kill and a WHS mishit, which hit the gym’s ceiling.

Suiting up for the last time as Waterford volleyball players were Hayley Duff, Morgan Lang, Hannah Duff, Ball, Kern, and Taylor. Seven juniors, though, are expected to return for their senior season next year.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this team,” Barker said. “They worked hard.

“This year’s senior class was a strong group, and we’re going to miss them.”