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Waterford sweeps Miller, advances to district final

Photo by Patricia Miller Waterford’s Lily Roberts (18) and Riley Schweikert (13) go up to block a spike attempt by Miller’s Alyssa Kiefer (1) during Thursday’s high school volleyball district semifinal match at the Harry Cooper Annex.

WATERFORD — The ‘Cats are at it again.

A 25-15, 25-20, 25-13 sweep of Miller punched Waterford’s ticket to the Division IV Southeast District final, where Trimble awaits at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Southeastern.

The Wildcats (18-3) fell to Trimble twice before in 2020, as the reigning Tri-Valley Conference champs look for the 3-match sweep of Waterford. Cara Taylor is confident in her team following Thursday night’s win, as the junior amassed another full stat line to help guide Waterford to the sweep. Including a match high 13 digs and 23 assists, Taylor helped send the Falcons (11-12) home after just an hour and a half of play.

“Well, coach has told us since the beginning of the season that we have to persevere,” Taylor said. “I mean, with everything we’ve been through, we have to persevere. That’s been our big thing this season. Tomorrow, we’re going to come in, and we’re going to focus on (Trimble’s) outside. That’s who we’ve got to shut down. It’s hard to beat a team three times, I guess.”

Taylor credited her passers for her success, and she also added this team can go far with the right mentality. That mentality was on full display in the second set with Miller going on a run to start off the frame. Down 13-7, head coach Kim Barker’s bunch was struggling, but they mounted a comeback which included a 12-4 run to grab a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Waterford’s leaders stepped up when needed, and it gave Barker’s side the momentum needed to finish off the Falcons shortly after the rally.

“I told them that we’re all fighting for the same thing, and that’s to continue our season. I’ve got to see some fight out of them, and I think they definitely did that,” she said. “I told them (down 13-7) that they have a decision to make, and they chose to fight back and step up to win that set. We’ve got to walk into that (Trimble) game confident. We’ve seen them, and it’s been tough. We’ve let them get in our heads. This team can take on anybody, and we’ve just got to believe that.”

Apart from Taylor, the Wildcats saw big outings from their usual suspects. Mackenzie Suprano notched a half-dozen kills, while Alayna Jones chipped in 24 digs and five assists.

The trio of Riley Schweikert, Lily Roberts and Kaylea Harmon was a tall task for the Falcons, as the group patrolled the net all night.

Scweikert’s ten kills, four blocks and nine digs led the way, as Harmon’s four kills and five blocks helped further the cause. Roberts came in clutch with six kills alongside three blocks.

This up-and-down season for Miller comes to a close, as the effort in one of the three sets wasn’t enough to drive the team to an upset.

Josie Crabtree’s 15 kills were a game-high, while Taylor Hinkle added nine of her own.

In a duel with Waterford’s Taylor to see who could dish out more assists, Taylor came out on top of Alaina Boyden, who managed to record 20 on the contest.

Following a loss to Fort Frye earlier in the season, WHS avenged that loss with a five-set victory on October 14. The Wildcats are hoping a similar measure of revenge can be taken out on the Tomcats on Saturday.

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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