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Wednesday, September 12th, 2007
By Gary R. Rasberry
Marion Local wins battle of #1 teams
MARIA STEIN - Even after a small break, Marion Local volleyball coach Amy Steininger had to compose herself.
Her Flyers trailed 12-6 in the fifth and deciding game against Anna before posting what she said was one of the best comebacks she had ever seen.
The Flyers, top-ranked in Division IV according to the coaches, stayed perfect at 10-0 by taking game five 16-14 over the defending Division III state champ Rockets at The Hangar to win the match three games to two. The Rockets see a 37-match winning streak snapped in dropping to 7-1.
"You got your money's worth tonight," said Steininger. "That's one of the best comebacks I have ever seen. Being down that far in the fifth game against the defending state champions - that's not a slouch team on the other side of the net - I'm just so proud of my girls. They just fought through adversity and found a way to win at the end."
The pattern was whoever served to start a game, took the game. The Flyers took first serve in games one and three, winning 25-18 and 25-17. The Rockets, behind All-Ohioan Kelli Barhorst, squared things in the second and fourth games 25-21 and 25-22. The Flyers won the toss and chose to serve in the fifth contest. Anna, chose to remain on the side of the floor the Rockets occupied in games two and four, the side where all the wins came from.
Things looked bleak early for the Flyers in game five as Megan Barhorst's opening serve went out to give Anna a 1-0 lead and the serve. The Rockets worked hard to put the game away as Kelli Barhorst scored two kills and Maria Meyer scored an ace to make it 4-0 before Abby Niekamp stopped the Marion bleeding with a kill.
Anna fans got a shock as Shelby Moeller served for the Flyers. Going up for a spike, Kelli Barhorst came down and clutched her ankle, stopping the action. Barhorst came off the floor on her own power and immediately went to be taped up to get back in. That allowed the Flyers to tie the game at 4-all before Barhorst returned.
When the Rockets' Barhorst returned, Anna returned to full strength. During the serve of Kelsie Zumberger, Barhorst had three kills and a stuff block while Zumberger scored an ace to help push the score to 11-4 and force Steininger to call her last timeout of the game. Marion got a kill from Niekamp, but Barhorst returned the favor to make it 12-5. Brittany Thobe managed to score a kill to send Niekamp back to the service line needing a run.
"That's the kind of player Kelli is," said Steininger. "She's an outstanding player for Anna and she did give them a spark when she came back to play. ... I knew she was hurting."
"As soon as she came in, she was a spark," said Anna coach Karen Zumberger of Barhorst going out. "I was a little worried, but when you know it's an ankle, you know you can wrap it up and go sometimes. Fortunately, it wasn't too serious an injury."
The Flyers got more than a run, they got a full-out sprint. Megan Barhorst and Thobe combined on a block to make it 12-7. Two straight Rocket miscues made it 12-9 before Niekamp ace cut it to 12-10 and prompted coach Zumberger to call her second timeout, having used one earlier to get Kelli Barhorst back into the game.
"When (Kelli Barhorst) went back to the back row, we thought this was our opportunity right here," said Steininger. "We were down 11-4 and 12-5 and we came back."
The break didn't help as a out shot by Laura Gehret made it 12-11. Kristin Bergman fired a kill to tie the game at 12 and Megan Barhorst came back to put the Flyers up 13-12 with a kill before Gehret evened the match with a spike to give Anna the ball.
A Flyer misplay gave Anna match point at 14-13, but Thobe came up with another big spike to tie the game and give the Flyers the serve for Katie Schulze.
The Rockets looked for the big spike to get the serve back, but Kathy Dirksen blocked the spike to make it 15-14 and setting match point for the Flyers. Megan Barhorst, who started the game with an out-serve, responded with a hard kill to the Rocket side of the floor to end the game.
"I really thought Megan Barhorst really stepped it up at the end of the game with some key blocks and some key kills," said Steininger.
"These were the type of games, taking it to five (games), it makes you better for tournament," said coach Zumberger. "You want to go against competition like this. At the end we were up 12-6, got a little bit of confidence underneath us there. That's how quickly volleyball can change with the momentum."
In the junior varsity match, Marion Local swept the match 25-17 and 25-13.
The Flyers return to action on Thursday, traveling to Parkway.
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