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Monday, October 24th, 2011

Flyers, Redskins on collision course

Division IV Sectional Volleyball at Coldwater

By Randy Bruns

Marion Local's Brianna Hess, 11, passes the ball with teammates Clara Wuebker, a. . .

COLDWATER - A pair of Midwest Athletic Conference heavyweights turned in dominating performances during Saturday's sectional volleyball finals, potentially setting up a collision if both can continue their winning ways.
In the opening match, the Marion Local Flyers dispatched the Parkway Panthers with surprising ease given the Panthers' impressive record. After pulling away late in the first game, the Flyers simply turned on the jets by walking away with the win by scores of 25-22, 25-15 and 25-10.
The second match saw the St. Henry Redskins win their 21st consecutive match despite not having played in the past 10 days. The Redskins took control over the Fort Recovery Indians in all three sets and were never seriously challenged in winning the three sets, 25-14, 25-12 and 25-14.
Marion is now 20-4 on the year and will face the Ada Bulldogs (14-8) on Tuesday at Van Wert in a 6 p.m. match while St. Henry, which moved its season mark to 22-1, will take on Ottoville (11-12) in Tuesday's second match. The two winners will meet on Thursday in a district final match for the chance to move on to regionals at Tipp City.
Parkway finishes the season with a 17-6 ledger while Fort Recovery bows out of the tournament with a 7-17 mark.
Marion Local 3, Parkway 0
The Flyers and Panthers had met exactly one month prior to Saturday's matchup, with the Flyers emerging with a hard-fought three-set win.
For awhile the tournament rematch looked like it would shape up in similar fashion, but the Flyers pulled away late in the first set and blew out the Panthers the rest of the way.
Marion held a 24-19 advantage in the opener after a kill by Josie Winner, but a service error gave Parkway the serve back and Morgan Steinbrunner cashed in with a stuff block and a kill to pull her team back within two. Marion took a timeout to stall Parkway's momentum and it worked out well, as a Panthers' kill attempt fell short to give the Blue and Gold the win in the first set.
The Panthers held firm for awhile in the second set, but a hitting error brought the Flyers' Brianna Hess to the service line and she got on a serious roll. The junior started with an ace and later added another in a seven-point run that gave the Flyers a 19-9 lead that would never be threatened.
Marion continued to pour it on in the final set, as it took a 12-5 lead after an ace by senior Laura Schwieterman. Claire Heitkamp later smacked four more aces in a seven-point run that ended the match.
The Flyers got tremendous production out of their middle-hitters with Margaret Wuebker finishing with 12 kills and Winner adding 10 more on an effective slide attack that the Panthers could not contain.
"That was the best our middles have played in awhile," said Marion's coach Amy Steininger. "The slides were working because there were holes in the block, and to their credit our middles were hitting that hole. We tried to run it fast to keep the defense off guard and I think we did a good job of that."
Heitkamp added 11 kills and three blocks to the Flyers' attack.
Parkway's coach Jeff Marbaugh thought his team ran up against a buzzsaw on this day.
"We didn't make some adjustments that we needed to make," lamented Marbaugh. "We knew we couldn't make hitting errors and in the first game that was the difference there. In the second game our serve receive just kind of went away and it was just one of those days that it just didn't happen for us. Whatever we tried it seemed like we shot ourselves in the foot."
St. Henry 3, Fort Recovery 0
The Redskins came into the match after being idle since clinching the Midwest Athletic Conference title 10 days earlier against Parkway.
Still, with just one loss on their ledger the Redskins were prohibitive favorites against the Indians and they just needed to take care of business to advance to the district tourney.
The first set saw the Redskins get out to a somewhat sluggish start, but Taylor Clune quickly changed that when she got to the service line. The junior drilled three straight aces in a six-point run that gave the Redskins a 12-4 lead. The Indians would not score more than two points in a row the rest of the way and Clune later finished the match for St. Henry with a kill.
St. Henry got out to a 4-0 lead early in the second set on the strength of a block and a kill by Katie Hoyng, but Fort Recovery held firm and trailed just 14-10 after an ace by Kayla Kahlig. St. Henry put together a big run to finish things off, however, with an ace by Kylie Koesters and two more by Hoyng contributing to an 11-2 run to end the set.
In the final set, the Indians once more gave it a battle, but the Redskins ended up pulling away late. The Indians trailed just 11-9 after a hitting error by the Redskins, but a service error turned the momentum over and Koesters took advantage from behind the service line. The junior served up six straight winners to give the Redskins a 17-10 lead and the Indians would get no closer the rest of the way.
"We've been off for a week and a half and we've been used to playing almost every other day," explained St. Henry's coach Diana Kramer. "It was a long week of practice for us but we got the job done today. We were a little rusty and it showed today but our girls pushed through and we beat a good Fort Recovery team."
As usual, St. Henry boasted a balanced hitting attack with Ashley Heitkamp leading the way with nine kills, while Hoyng added eight and Abby Brunswick and Clune each chipped in with six apiece.
Despite the loss, Fort Recovery's first-year coach Kylie Huelsman was proud of the improvement her team made throughout the year.
"As the season progressed we became a completely different team from what we were in the beginning of the year," said Huelsman. "I thought my girls really believed in themselves in this game and a lot of the time that was our biggest problem this year. Today they came out strong and they fought for it, and I told them that they should be proud of what they did."
Additional online story on this date
ST. MARYS - A 66-year-old Celina woman suffered serious facial injuries early Saturday morning when a landscaping paver was thrown through the windshield of her car in St. Marys. [More]
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