By John Bombatch
TROY — When Cedarville and Yellow Springs entered Saturday’s Division IV girls volleyball sectional contests at Troy High School, they knew they each had a tough task ahead of them. When they both left the court, the Indians and Bulldogs were feeling pretty good about how they played, even though they lost.
Ninth seeded Houston defeated 12th seed Yellow Springs 27-25, 24-26, 25-10, 25-23 in the first contest involving a Greene County competitor. Second seeded South Charleston Southeastern also needed four sets before dispatching no. 19 seed Cedarville 25-14, 25-18, 20-25, 25-19 in the second.
Metro Buckeye Conference champion Yellow Springs nearly sent their match with the Rockets to a deciding fifth set.
The Bulldogs led the set 23-22 on Meredith Rowe’s kill, but Houston responded with a Jenna Mounts kill and a Katherine Everett service ace to pull back ahead. Three Yellow Springs players collided on the final point and Houston escaped with the win.
“I always joke that we have Third-Game Syndrome, because we always seem to come out discombobulated in that third game,” Yellow Spring coach Christine Linkhart said. “But other than that third game, they played the way they should’ve played. They played hard. Honestly, I couldn’t have played any harder than they did. They went out smiling, so it was a good way to end the season, if it had to end today.
“I really thought we were going to win that final game. We played so well, right to the end.”
Unofficially, Rowe led Yellow Springs (16-7) with nine kills and a pair of service aces. Alex Ronnebaum was next with six kills and four blocks while Elle Peifer and Madeline Neilsen had four kills each.
Cedarville (9-14) was faced with the task of going up against the tournament’s no. 2 seed, but the Indians were up to that challenge as well.
Sara Beste recorded four of her team-high 12 kills in the Indians’ 25-20 win in the third set. Emily Peabody recorded seven kills and McKayla Lee had six, and Kylie Beste finished her career with five kills and a pair of blocks, in the loss.
“We lost to them in three sets both times when we faced them in the regular season, but several of those sets were close sets,” Cedarville coach Bobbi Jones said of Ohio Heritage Conference foe Southeastern. “I felt that if we could just play a consistent game, get a first-ball sideout, so that if we got ahead we could stay there — like we did in that third set — we had a chance. We knew that was what we had to do, but we did not do that in the fourth game.”
Senior Indians Elaina Murphy, Kylie Beste and Peabody played their final volleyball matches, as did Bulldogs Rowe and Neilsen.
Houston (pronounced HOUSE-ton) plays no. 11 seed Russia (pronounced ROO-she) tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Troy High. Southeastern (pronounced Southeastern) plays Botkins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, also in Troy.
In other Saturday matches, eighth-seeded Carroll needed five sets to defeat ninth seed Bellefontaine 25-21, 25-27, 21-25,25-19,17-15 at New Carlisle Tecumseh High in the Division II sectional. The Patriots are back in action at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Springfield Shawnee.
In Division III, Casstown Miami East swept Greeneview in straight sets 25-8, 25-11, 25-5 in Brookville.
Fairborn played Huber Heights Wayne on Monday at Vandalia Butler High in a D-I contest, but a result hadn’t been received by presstime. A Skyhawks win would have them back to Butler, playing on Thursday against Centerville.
Today’s matches have Bellbrook battling Lemon Monroe at Middletown Fenwick, Xenia taking on Miamisburg at 7:30 p.m. at Butler, and Greenon playing Springfield Kenton Ridge at 7:30 p.m. at Tecumseh.
Beavercreek will open tournament play Thursday against either West Carrollton to Clayton Northmont at 6 p.m. at Butler. Should Xenia advance past Miamisburg, the Buccaneers would play Lebanon at 7:30 p.m., also at Vandalia Butler.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.