Monday, October 26th, 2009
Fort Recovery and Parkway advance to district
Division III Sectional Volleyball at Van Wert
By Gary R. Rasberry
VAN WERT - Over the years, Fort Recovery has had to stay back in the Division IV sectionals as teams like St. Henry, Marion Local and Minster head further down the tournament trail.
Finally, with a move up to Division III, the Indians will get to travel a little further, in both the tournament and in distance traveled.
Fort Recovery posted the upset of the Division III Van Wert sectional in sweeping second-seeded Coldwater to advance to the district for the first time since 1994. The Indians, one of the southernmost teams in the Northwest District, will make the long trek - roughly 2 1/2 hours - north to the Grand Canyon in Napoleon on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. to face Archbold, which swept Liberty Center at the Archbold sectional.
Joining Fort Recovery will be top-seeded Parkway, which had no trouble in sweeping Fairview. The Panthers will play the late match on Wednesday against Evergreen, which beat Delta in three straight at Archbold.
Fort Recovery 3, Coldwater 0
In the conference matchup between the teams, the Indians struggled with serve receive as the Cavaliers posted a three-game sweep.
Serve receive was not an issue for the most part for the Indians on Saturday afternoon, as Fort Recovery answered the Cavaliers shot for shot.
Things looked positive for the Cavaliers in the opening set, jumping out 5-0 on Katie Lefeld's serving, but the Indians worked back quickly as Carly Staugler served up five straight points with two aces and a pair of kills from Nicole Pottkotter to get back and tie the game at 8-8. The teams traded points before Pottkotter took advantage of some Cavalier hitting errors to put the Indians up 18-12. Three points was all the closer the Cavaliers could get as set one went 25-20 in favor of Fort Recovery.
"It's all about the momentum," said Indians coach Diana Rammel. "Once you get that momentum going your way, it helps you for the whole game."
That would be the script for the other two games: Coldwater and Fort Recovery scrapping for points. When the Cavaliers got close to putting the set away up by three in the later stages, the Indians found the right hitter, be it Pottkotter, Holly Brunswick, Olivia Thien or Chelsey Luethold, to get the point.
"I keep telling the girls to don't let them get ahead," said Fort Recovery coach Diana Rammel. "The first game we started out a little weak, but I think a stronger rotation came up and took over."
In set two, Emily May and Pottkotter came up with very big service runs to turn a slim 18-16 lead into a 22-17 lead. The Cavaliers again could not recover as the Indians went up 2-0 with another 25-20 set.
In the third set, the teams again dueled it out, but the Cavaliers, behind the hitting of Bethany Werling and Brittanie Niekamp, were able to get back into the game at 22-22 on a Lefeld ace. Alyssa Brackman had the biggest play of the game, digging out a ball and having it land on the Coldwater side to make it 23-22. A Cavaliers hitting error and a Leuthold ace iced the match for the Indians.
"That was probably the best we played all season," said Rammel. "The girls were just fantastic. We prepared three full days for this. Watching tape, seeing the weaknesses and strengths. The girls knew what they were doing. They just played it like I told them to play."
"It kind of felt like they did to us what we did to them in the regular season," said Cavalier coach Mandy Diller, herself a former Fort Recovery volleyball player. "Fort Recovery did a great job of passing the ball tonight. We just had a hard time getting an offense rolling."
Parkway 3, Fairview 0
Things surprisingly started out the Apaches' way, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Parkway came back to tie it at 6-all before Haley Burtch stepped and personally served Parkway into a big lead. Burtch racked up 11 straight service points that put Parkway up 17-6 before the Apaches got the serve back. Fairview got only two more points before Parkway put the match away 25-9.
In the second set it was another Burtch that served up a big scoring run. Claire Burtch took over serving with Parkway up 13-10 and conjured up eight straight points to push the Panther lead to 21-10. Tara Luth had two kills and a stuff block during the run. Parkway pulled away to take the second set 25-14.
"The two things we talk about is serving and serve receive," said Parkway coach Jeff Marbaugh. "We served fairly decent again today. That's one thing we count on."
Parkway wrapped up the day with a 25-12 third set. Hannah Harshman had a run of three service points with an ace in the contest. Kelsey Bates had five of her nine kills of the match in the final game.