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Fort Frye edges Magnolia in OVAC semifinals

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Fort Frye’s Julia Zalmanek registers one of her 17 kills as teammates Cara McIntosh and Jayden Wallace (22) look on during the Cadets’ five-set OVAC Class 3A semifinal triumph on Tuesday against Magnolia.

BEVERLY — It will be a battle of the Cadets on Saturday at Union Local High School for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 3A volleyball championship.

Top-seeded Fort Frye (17-3) survived No. 4 Magnolia here Tuesday evening during the semifinals in five sets by scores of 25-22, 25-16, 24-26, 21-25 and 15-6.

The Cadets, who play tonight at rival Waterford, now will face third-seeded Linsly sometime on Saturday as FFHS is hoping to get the slated 3:45 p.m. start moved because the football team has a home game that evening.

“We started off a little shaky the first game but then really came on the second game,” admitted Fort Frye head coach Emily Tracewell, who watched Karlee Ross (21), Makenna Long (18) and Julia Zalmanek (17) lead the way in kills.

“We usually have that letdown, but I had faith we’d win that fifth game. We really just worked hard in practice the last few days. We practiced on a Saturday and tried to get things to be more positive and working together as a team.”

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Magnolia’s Mady Winters, right, blocks an attack by Fort Frye’s Karlee Ross during Tuesday’s OVAC Class 3A semifinal. The host Cadets won in five sets.

Senior Mady Winters triple-doubled with match-highs of 33 kills and 15 blocks to go along with 15 digs for the 13-5 Blue Eagles, who are off until next Tuesday’s match at John Marshall.

Zalmanek’s downed spike broke a 20-all tie in the opening set and Ross finished it with another kill.

Magnolia, which had 10 service errors in the first four sets, was within one at 15-14 in set two, but a kill by Long energized the hosts. Cara McIntosh, who had 27 assists while fellow teammate Bella Schilling had 29, served three straight aces for points 21, 22 and 23. Zalmanek gave the hosts the 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five match with a kill on set point.

Cadet libero Lexie Huck served up an ace for a 13-12 lead in the third set, but Winters mashed a kill from one of Lenieca Grimm’s match-high 42 assists to tie it. MHS then got an ace from Shy White for a 14-13 lead. Despite Winters dominating at the net to help build a 20-14 cushion, the Cadets rallied. Jayden Wallace, who finished with a match-high 22 digs, got a service tally and then Schilling later served for three straight to get the hosts within one at 22-21. Despite ties at 23 and 24, Winters had two more kills to force set four.

Victoria Hood delivered two of her baker’s dozen kills early in set four to give MHS the lead for good at 3-2. Jaci Rohde’s ace made it 5-2 and the Blue Eagles still led 23-21 after the Cadets got a Ross kill along with an ace by Liv Schneider. A dig by Magnolia’s Julia Lilze on a Ross smash led to a Winters block and it was on to the decisive fifth set following a FFHS attack error.

Zalmanek’s block of Hood was the first point of the set and it was 3-0 before Rohde had a kill. Long and Zalmanek, who combined for nine blocks, played tough at the net. The Cadets went ahead 11-5 thanks to a Long/Khloee Ross double block of Winters. The freshman Long got match point via a kill.

“We had a lot of service errors and we didn’t touch as many balls on the blocking as I would’ve liked,” admitted Blue Eagle boss Pam Chapman, who got 20 digs from libero Alyssa Kocher. “We just have to work on those things and get better. We didn’t give up. I’m proud of them for not giving up.

“We were down two sets and we talked about staying up and working hard and never giving up and they came back and did that. Then we just kind of lost it again in that fifth set. This is a game of runs. Sometimes you get the runs and sometimes you don’t.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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