YELLOW SPRINGS — The defending Metro Buckeye Conference champion Yellow Springs Bulldogs opened up their 2019 girls volleyball season with a strong challenge from Springfield, but held on for a 21-15, 25-21, 25-12, 23-25, 15-6 win.
Bulldogs coach Christine Linkhart said she wasn’t so much concerned that her team was going up against a talented Division I high school, she was more aware that Springfield was possibly out for some payback after Yellow Springs surprised the Wildcats in four sets last season in Springfield.
“We played them last year and beat them on their home court, and so that’s what I was preparing for,” Linkhart said. “These girls have so much talent, and with summer here, it’s often tough to get everybody together to practice. So I knew it could be a rough start, but we’re getting there.”
The Bulldogs were playing without senior Olivia Snoddy who had a prior commitment, but they still had Tyler Linkhart and Emma Ronnebaum, and that proved to be the difference in the match.
Linkhart, a future Wittenberg University Tiger, unofficially bashed 16 kills, had a block, an ace, and an amazing foot save, to lead the Bulldogs to the win. Most of her kills were set up by Ronnebaum.
Ronnebaum, who had most of her kills set up from Linkhart, unofficially smacked 11 kills to go with two aces and a block. That 1-2 hitting combination was just too much for Springfield to overcome.
“When you have two players like that, you just naturally gravitate toward both of them. They are so talented. To a degree, it is planned. All the other girls can hit, too. It’s just a matter of them getting more comfortable in a game situation on the court,” Christine Linkhart said.
About that foot save. Tyler Linkhart, who also plays soccer, kept the ball in play with a resourceful kick of the ball with her left foot. Yellow Springs responded to take the point on their way to the deciding fifth-set win.
“She’s done that numerous times. She just has this knack for it,” Tyler’s mom said. “She will do anything to keep the ball up. Whatever it takes. She’s the most competitive girl I know. It was no mistake. She meant to do it.”
Springfield coach Samantha Morell said she had concerns about commenting on her kids’ play without having it first approved by the school board. “The only thing I think I can say is that my girls player their hearts out,” she said.
Unofficially, Cydni Bowser led the Wildcats (0-1) with 10 kills, Annalise Forman hit four service aces, and Leah Jolly had seven kills. Springfield plays its first Greater Western Ohio Conference match of the season when they’ll host Fairmont for a 7 p.m. game on Thursday, Aug. 22.
Yellow Springs starts Metro Buckeye Conference play on Thursday, Aug. 22 with a 6:15 p.m. battle at Troy Christian.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.