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Sunday, October 20, 2013Sectional Volleyball: Arcadia and unbeaten McComb move on
BLUFFTON -- Senior Ashley Baird remembers the feeling of not winning a sectional volleyball championship last season, and the sting of it has been a driving force this season for Baird and her Arcadia teammates.
The wait ended Saturday afternoon, with the Redskins taking out Pandora-Gilboa 25-12, 19-25, 25-19, 25-7 in a Division IV sectional final at Bluffton University's Sommer Center.
Not only did the victory replace the feeling of a defeat from a season ago, but it also marked the first time since 1997 the Redskins have won a sectional title. McComb moved on in the postseason as well Saturday, sweeping Cory-Rawson 25-10, 25-11, 25-8.
Arcadia advances to play Leipsic or Patrick Henry at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday in a district semifinal at Ottawa-Glandorf. McComb will play Crestview or Wayne Trace in the second semifinal.
"I'm ecstatic," Baird said. "Our name will get to be on the board as a sectional champion. It's nice to have it there. Last year, we won our first sectional game but not our second. We were determined to do it this year."
Arcadia got the job done with defense. The Redskins played well in the back row to turn back scoring attempts by the Rockets, and their defensive effort allowed them to overcome their lack of height.
"We were scrappy on defense," Arcadia head coach Jacquie Ramsey said. "Our back row worked their tail off. We are always underestimated because we don't have height, but our back row does a great job. I'm proud of our effort."
Arcadia (15-6) won the opener with ease, and with a 9-5 lead in the second game, seemed to be on its way to a two-game lead in the match.
But the Rockets refused to fold and Megan Maag had a lot to do with Pandora-Gilboa's comeback. Maag came through with several big kills, finishing with 21 in all, as the Rockets (14-7) rallied to take the second game.
The third game was back-and-forth and neither team led by more than six points the entire way. The Redskins took control from the start in the finale, building a 10-3 lead. Rebecca Kirian drilled a kill to end the match for the Redskins, who are in the midst of their second consecutive winning season.
"I was a little concerned after we lost the second one," Ramsey said. "Our girls thought it was too easy after the first win, but you can't let your guard down. I told the girls we needed to be more aggressive on offense."
The Redskins did get more aggressive, dominating at the net, and the defense wasn't bad either.
"It was tough at times, but they have a really good offense," Baird said. "We practiced hard to defend them and it paid off."
In the first sectional final, it was business as usual for the undefeated and second-ranked Panthers (21-0). They rolled past the Hornets (12-9), fueling their offense with 25 kills from Jenna Huffman, and thriving defensively behind the efforts of Megan Ritter (10 digs), Aubry Von Stein (9 digs) and Dani Badertscher (8 digs).
Maddy Roth racked up seven digs while Kendra Tuttle, Jordan Hector, Adrienne Erford, Brenna Dee, Sam Thepsourinthone and Emily Clymer all tallied six digs apiece.
Clymer, one of four seniors on the roster, hammered six kills as well.
"We played really good defense, and our defense creates offense," Clymer said. "We had some mistakes, but overall, we played well. It was a good start for us."
McComb head coach Dave Reinhart said the match against the Hornets was good preparation for the district tourney.
"We have a lot of young kids, so this was a good way to get them used to the tournament atmosphere," Reinhart said. "I was disappointed in our mistakes, but we're moving on. The key for us is to keep improving. If you don't improve as you go through the tournament, you will get beat."
Playing with the pressure of being state-ranked and unbeaten can be an issue. It isn't for the Panthers, though.
"We know teams want to beat us, but that just makes us play even harder," Clymer said. "We have to stay focused and be prepared to play every match."
Arcadia is focused as well as it gets set to move on in the postseason. Baird said teamwork has been key for the Redskins.
"We have six seniors and have grown up playing together. We know our strengths and weaknesses, and that helps," she said. "We're excited about next week."
SERVING: Megan Ritter 6-6, Aubry Von Stein & Dani Badertscher 5-5. ACES: Ritter 1. KILLS: Ritter 3. SPIKES: Ritter 23-27, Adrienne Erford 14-15, Jordan Hector 12-13. ASSISTS: Tuttle 1. SETTING: Tuttle 61-64. DIGS: Ritter 10, Von Stein 9, Badertscher 8. BLOCKS: Tuttle & Anna Curth 3, Hector & Erford 2.
ACES: Hailey Huffman 2, Loryn Huffman 1. KILLS: Jenna Huffman 25, Emily Clymer 6, Molly Leppelmeier 4. ASSISTS: Brenna Dee 30. DIGS: Maddy Roth 7, Dee & Sam Thepsourinthone 6. BLOCKS: J. Huffman 3, H. Huffman & Leppelmeier 2.
SERVING: Mikaylie Morman 15-16. ACES: Morman 1. KILLS: Megan Maag 21, Hunter Hermiller 11. SPIKES: Maag 60-63, Hermiller 37-40. ASSISTS: Vivian Nofziger 33. DIGS: Mackenzie Swary 14, Nofziger 9, Maag & Hermiller 8. BLOCKS: Maag 3.
POINTS: Courtney Cramer 18, Alisha Baird 12, Madie Ramsey & Ashley Baird 7. SERVING: Courtney Cramer 21-22, Al. Baird 18-19, Ramsey 15-15. ACES: Cramer, Ramsey, Rebecca Kirian & As. Baird 1. KILLS: Abbie Dauterman 16, Julia Pina 10, Cramer 9. SPIKES: Dauterman 32-35, Molly Glick 28-31, Pina 22-24. ASSISTS: Ramsey 41, Cramer 7. SETTING: Ramsey 102-104, Cramer 21-22. DIGS: Al. Baird 19, Kirian & Ramsey 16. BLOCKS: Glick 8, Dauterman 2.
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