VANDALIA — In an evenly played match of streaks and momentum, Beavercreek came out on the losing end of both Oct. 24 in a Division I girls high school volleyball sectional final battle with Lebanon, at the Butler High Student Activities Center.
Lebanon (18-7), the No. 6 seed in the sectional tournament, rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit to claim a 29-27, 22-25, 15-25, 25-20, 16-14 win over third-seeded Beavercreek (17-7).
“That was a great win. We had a sub that came in — Gia Hughes — and she did a great job for us. Whenever we play them, it’s a battle. We go four or five sets every time, Lebanon coach Tim Mersch said. “We’ve faced them in the sectional finals now, I think three times in a row. And we finally won one!”
Beavercreek had won a close four-setter against the Warriors during the regular season back on Sept. 11 in Lebanon.
In Wednesday’s see-saw battle, it seemed that whenever one of the teams would build a bit of a lead, the other would call timeout, regroup and battle right back into the contest.
The deciding first-to-15-points final set was an example of that. Beavercreek jumped out to a 3-0 lead on kills from senior Abby Hack, a soft dink from junior Grace Phillips and a crushing cross-court smash by sophomore hitter Anna Shoemake.
Lebanon responded with a timeout, then reeled off five points in a row to take the lead. So what did Beavercreek do?
They called timeout, and followed up with a 6-1 run that gave them a 9-8 lead.
Lebanon called timeout and regrouped. A series of kills by the Warriors’ Tory Brosnahan, Emory Spitler and Katie Gallagher enabled the underdogs to rally to a 16-14 win to advance.
“It’s never easy against Lebanon. Never easy. It was a tough five-setter, and 16-14 in the fifth. Just about every single set was close. It was a tough grinder kind of match. We just couldn’t put enough balls down in the end to win it. Bottom line,” said Beavercreek coach Tim Green.
Unofficially, senior Kirsten Williams led the Beavers with 15 kills and a pair of blocks, Shoemake finished with 14 kills a block and a service ace, Lauren Goenaga-Lask had eight kills, Abby Hack had seven kills and three blocks, and Phillips finished with five kills, three aces and a block.
Green said he truly enjoyed coaching the 2018 squad, and said he’ll miss the seniors.
“I’m very proud of the girls,” he said. “We had a great senior class, great chemistry. It was such a joy to coach. You just look at that aspect of it, I enjoyed coming to practice every day and coaching these girls. Those are the types of kids you look forward to working with. I love them to death.
“There’s seven seniors I’m going to really really miss. They were unbelievable leaders for us all year long.”
Anna Nartker, Goenaga-Lask, Lydia Bucher, Williams, Hack, Kayla Vonder Embse and Tanner Bundy each played their final high school volleyball games with the loss.
Lebanon advances to take on Mount Notre Dame at 3 p.m., Saturday Oct. 27 in the District final. That match will also take place at Butler High, with the winner advancing on to the regional semifinal at Lakota East High School in Liberty Township.