Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
By Randy Bruns
Celina defeats Versailles in a five-game thriller
Celina's sweltering Intermediate School gymnasium played host to a sterling nonconference volleyball match Tuesday night between the Celina Bulldogs and the Versailles Tigers.
Both squads entered with impressive records and their play on the night showed why both were ranked in the first state coaches poll of the year.
In the end, it was the homestanding Bulldogs who came away with the win in five heart-pounding games, 25-21, 21-25, 27-25, 16-25 and 15-11.
Celina, which was ranked 12th in Division II, improves its record to 8-2 on the year, while Versailles, which sat atop the Division III poll, falls to 8-1.
The play on the court was almost as hot as the air in the gym, and the result was an entertaining contest from beginning to end. As an illustration of how close the match was, the score was knotted a total of 37 times throughout the night.
The Bulldogs broke open a 17-all first game when a Tiger kill attempt went long and Kelsey Mastin served up three winners to stake her team to a four-point advantage. The visitors later closed to within two but a block by Erin Dorsten gave the Bulldogs game point and another errant kill attempt by the Tigers closed out the game.
Versailles took control of the second game at 9-4 thanks to a six-point serving run by libero Kelsey Schlater, but Celina inched closer and finally pulled even at 19-apiece after an ace by Julie Klosterman. Megan Campbell notched a pair of kills to put the visitors back on top, and a pair of Celina hitting errors finished the second game to knot the match at one game apiece.
The third game was the best of the bunch, as it accounted for 17 of the night's tied scores, and the largest lead either team possessed was a measly two points. The Tigers had the first game point after a Bulldog hitting error, but a kill down the line by Cenzie Yoder tied the score at 25-all. A kill by the Tigers then sailed wide and Dorsten emphatically finished the game when she stuffed an errant pass.
The Tigers took out some frustrations in the fourth game. A 15-11 lead quickly ballooned to 24-14 thanks in large part to the play of Tara Winner. The senior outside-hitter banged seven kills in the game, with the last one ending things at 25-16.
In the finale, the visitors took a quick 4-1 advantage to prompt a Bulldog timeout, and the brief respite did wonders for the hosts. Morgan Weininger drilled a kill and later registered a stuff block to bring the Bulldogs within one, and after a pair of Tiger hitting errors the hosts were up by a score of 7-6. The score was tied four more times before Dorsten put the Bulldogs up for good at 11-10, and three straight errors by the visitors put them in a hole they could not climb out of. Dorsten finally found an open corner to end the wild and wooly match.
Both coaches were glad to have the opportunity to face some outstanding competition as their league schedules start to heat up.
"We couldn't have asked for a better non-league game," said Versailles coach Karla Otte. "This is kind of what we've been itching for, some real stiff competition out of the MAC (Midwest Athletic Conference). It knocks us down a little bit but it will keep us focused and keep our heads on straight."
Celina coach Carolyn Dammeyer agreed.
"We put a lot of MAC schools on our schedule because there is just so much competition," said Dammeyer. "We have the best area for volleyball around here, and I tell the girls that if we come up on the losing end now and then it will just make them a better team because of the competition we're playing."
Both teams get back to the rigors of league play on Thursday, as Celina travels to St. Marys and Versailles takes to the road to face Minster.
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