CENTERVILLE — Judging from Wednesday night’s Oct. 16 three-set win over Greater Western Ohio Conference foe Kettering Fairmont, the Beavercreek High School girls volleyball team may be playing its best volleyball at the very right time.
In solid fashion, seventh seeded Beavercreek handed No. 10-seed Fairmont a 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 win in the Division I sectional semifinal round at Centerville High School.
First-year Beavercreek coach Joe Baylor says he’s seeing improvement in his team since the season began.
“We’re waaay better now, than we were at the beginning of the season,” Baylor said. “Coming into this year, we only had two girls who had really played on varsity. So we were a really young team.
“Our court awareness is better, the girls have a better understanding of where I want the ball — earlier in the year, the passes were right along the net, or centered on the net, and we were getting a lot of net violations, and we couldn’t swing because of that — now our hitters are getting to the net, and they’re more worried about staying out of the net than they were before.”
And there’s apparently far fewer net serves as well.
“That’s one of my pet peeves. When we’re at practice, and if you serve into the net, you’re out of the gym. I’ll have you off doing lots of laps somewhere else,” he laughed.
Unofficially, outside hitting junior Anna Shoemake led the Beavers with a dozen kills, at least one block and a service ace. Junior middle hitter Cassie Smithwick finished with eight kills and at least one block, fellow junior hitter Korina Swiderski bashed a half dozen kills and had two blocks, and junior setter Ana Pohlmann had multiple assists to go with three service aces and a couple kills.
Baylor said he appreciated the effort of senior backup setter Lexi Gibson, who stepped up from the junior varsity squad to fill in for a player who was out due to a planned senior college trip.
“She did a great job of coming in and playing well for us tonight,” Baylor said. “… She hung in there, she’s played hard all year on the JV squad. Now she’s gotten an opportunity and she’s taking advantage of it.”
Beavercreek (14-10) will now take on the tournament’s No. 2 seed, Troy (20-2), in the sectional title match. That contest is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22 back at Centerville High. The Trojans defeated Beavercreek in three sets at home back on Sept. 28.
“We played Troy two or three weeks ago, and we were down a couple starters for that match. Hopefully, we’ll be able to give them a better match this time,” Baylor said.
Fairmont had split its two regular season meetings with Beavercreek. The Firebirds end the season with a 7-16 overall record.