FAIRBORN — With some key league matches looming ahead, Wednesday’s nonleague girls high school volleyball match against Fairborn could’ve been an easy time for the Yellow Springs to lose focus.
Instead, the Bulldogs played as a very strong and intense unit. Yellow Springs swept host Fairborn on Sept. 20 by convincing scores of 25-14, 25-15, 25-12.
“We’ve barely been through our conference schedule once, and we lost one match in the conference,” said Yellow Springs coach Christine Linkhart. “So they’re trying to gear up. We want to play harder teams like Fairborn, and we’ve got the team right now to do it.”
Linkhart said she had an injury to one of her regular setters three games ago, and that put middle blocker Alex Ronnebaum in the spot. Ronnebaum was probably the tallest player on the court Wednesday night, but there she was putting up sets for her teammates. That is, when she wasn’t busy smashing kills herself!
Unofficially, Ronnebaum led the Bulldogs with seven kills, six blocks and four service aces, while teammate Tyler Linkhart was also solid with eight kills and three aces. Raven James had two kills and two aces, and Dede Cheatom had a dink in the final set for a score.
“We played a pretty flawless game today. They were excited for this one, and they did play with confidence,” Christine Linkhart added. With the win, Yellow Springs is now 8-3 overall, with a Metro Buckeye League battle set for 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21 with Troy Christian.
Currently, the Bulldogs are second in the MBC with a 4-1 record, while Troy Christian is third at 5-2.
In the first two sets, Yellow Springs opened with solid scoring runs behind Tyler Linkhart and Kelsie Lemons’ serving, with key hits by Linkhart and Ronnebaum. The Bulldogs jumped out to an 11-1 in the opening set to take control of that eventual25-14 win. They then rolled out to an 11-3 lead in the second set, to cruise to a 25-15 win.
The third set saw Fairborn even things at 3 points apiece, before the Bulldogs pulled away. With Yellow Springs out in front 8-6 in the set, solid serving from Raven James and Ronnebaum, along with hits from Linkhart and Dede Cheatom put the Bulldogs out in front for good at 17-8. Yellow Springs won that final set by a 25-12 score.
There was a scary moment in the second set. Fairborn Zuza Livosky was inadvertently hit in the head by a Ronnebaum spike and had to be assisted from the court. Livosky was seen after the match playfully trying to convince a fan that she was fine, but Skyhawks coach Tiffany Andrews says the senior will sit out the 7 p.m. Thursday Sept. 21 match at Piqua as a precaution.
“Their intensity was a lot higher than ours,” Andrews said of the Bulldogs. “We didn’t play together. We keep having games where two or three players are on, and the others are off. If we can pull together and give the above-average effort of us, no one can stop us.
“We had lots of indians, but not enough chiefs on the court tonight.”
Junior hitter Jessica Black unofficially led the Skyhawks with four kills and a block. Hani Sampson very well could’ve been the shortest player on the court, but she hit the ball like she was 7-feet tall. Sampson finished with three kills and a service ace. Elena North had two kills and an ace, Brittany Hogan recorded a kill, while Kayleigh Finlayson and Livosky each had a kill and an ace.
Andrews said Fairborn will have to gear up soon for its second run through the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American South division. The Skyhawks (5-9) are second in the division with rematches against each of their divisional opponents still ahead.
“We’ve gotta get wins in all those divisional matches, if we want to win the GWOC South,” Andrews said.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.