LEBANON — Playing its own brand of solid volleyball, with smashes from the left side of the Bellbrook net no matter who happened to be playing there, Bellbrook swept Madison in three sets with relative ease, Oct. 18 in the first round of the Division II girls high school volleyball sectional tournament at Lebanon High School.
The third-seeded Golden Eagles (17-6) never let 10th seeded Madison (11-10) get into double digits on the scoreboard, to claim a convincing 25-4, 25-7, 25-6 win over the Mohawks.
It seemed as if Bellbrook had found a chink in the Madison defense, and it was on the left side. Whether it was Sara Rogers or Mara Neal planted as the left outside hitter, they both feasted on shots into the middle of the Mohawk backcourt for scores.
Unofficially, Rogers finished with eight kills and a service ace. Neal bashed nine kills and had two ace serves. And 6-foot-3 center basher Kira Merkle finished with nine kills, two blocks and two aces of her own.
“…Bellbrook is an excellent team,” Madison coach Lindsay Hoskins said. “They’re not somebody whom you can expect to come in and play an off game, and expect to do even remotely well. I’m disappointed in that I thought we would’ve been able to give them a better game.”
Hoskins credited seniors Sy Beachler, Jackie Kovscek and Bailey Tinch for helping to set the bar for the Mohawks.
Consistently putting the pressure on Madison’s defense, Bellbrook never enabled the Mohawks to get any kind of offense going.
The Golden Eagles rolled out to a 12-1 lead in the opening game before Madison could score on offense. Bellbrook outscored Madison 13-3 the rest of the way to easily take that game.
Game two saw Bellbrook jump out to a 5-0 lead, then cruise to a 25-7 win.
The third and final game was more of the same. Bellbrook got out in front, 5-1, before Madison’s Paige Porter could get off an offensive point. Porter led the Mohawks with three kills and a block.
“I told my girls, especially with how our season has seemed to go up and down so far, I really just wanted to focus on us,” Bellbrook coach Lynzee Johnson said. “We wanted to work on what was going on over on our side of the court to make sure that we were where we needed to be, to prepare for whoever we’ll play next.”
Bellbrook will take on No. 8 Badin — a dramatic 29-27, 27-25, 24-26, 25-20 winner over No. 5 Oakwood in Wednesday’s late match — in the D II sectional semifinal match, which will be played at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21 at Lebanon High.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.