By ROBB HEMMELGARN
FORT RECOVERY — Last night at the Fort Site Fieldhouse
in Fort Recovery, the St. Henry Redskins gave themselves a chance
at a MAC volleyball championship as they downed the Fort Recovery
Indians in a very tight battle, 17-15, 16-14.
The victory sets the stage for the season’s marquee matchup
in Minster tomorrow evening as the Redskins will take their
perfect MAC record to face the Wildcats for the outright conference
St. Henry and Minster are ranked number one and two respectively
in the latest Associated Press poll, and the contest will not
only have a serious outcome on the final MAC standings, but
it will also affect the poll championship as well as the seedings
for the upcoming sectional tournament.
“I feel very relieved to get out of here tonight with
a win,” explained a visibly exhausted St. Henry coach,
Lori Schwieterman. “Fort Recovery is a very scrappy team
and they were hitting and blocking very well tonight. They gave
us all we could handle and more, but I’m very proud of
the way our girls responded and put the game away when they
Before the Redskins could worry about the future, they had the
difficult task of defeating a very solid Fort Recovery team
on their own floor.
The Indians’ gameplan entering the contest was to stay
loose and play as if they had nothing to lose, and this kept
them close for two exciting games.
The Indians jumped out to the early lead in the opening contest,
5-0, but the Redskins stormed back to take the 7-5 lead behind
the strong serving of seniors Nicole Elking and Lindsay Hess.
For the next few points, the home team would manage to tie the
game at seven and eight points, but would watch their deficit
slip to as many as four points at 12-8.
The Indians posted a quick rally behind the serving of sophomore
Jennalee Post and junior Krystal Rammel, to tie the battle at
12-12. Two sideout exchanges and senior Joscie Kaup gave her
team the lead, 13-12 with the next service point.
A short time later, the Indians extended their lead to two points
at 14-12, but the Redskins closed the gap following a pair of
defensive miscues by the Indians, tying the game at 14-14.
Both teams exchanged points once again over the next few serving
opportunities, but it was St. Henry which closed the game with
two straight points to finish the game with the 17-15 win and
what seemed to be a boatload of momentum in their favor.
St. Henry picked up game two’s first point, but the Indians
answered in a hurry with the next four counters. Junior Maria
Wuebker pulled the Redskins back into the lead at 6-4 and her
classmate, Lindsay Puthoff, added another pair of scores to
give St. Henry the 8-4 advantage.
Senior Kim Hess added another point to the St. Henry lead a
little bit later, and with the 9-4 lead, the Redskins looked
to finally be in control of the contest.
Fort Recovery’s Julie Grube nailed a quick point to cut
her teams’ deficit to four points, but the visitors answered
with Christa Schwartz connecting for four consecutive points
to push the Redskins further in front, 13-5.
Then, all of a sudden, the tide turned one more time. Krystal
Rammel, Renee Schmackers, and Grube combined services and pulled
the Indians back into the game with eight points to tie the
contest at 13-13.
The two teams traded punches, but St. Henry once again answered
with the game’s final two counters to leave the Fieldhouse
with the 17-15, 16-14 win.
“My girls have nothing to hang their heads about,”
said Fort Recovery coach Jackie Kaup. “We came in wanting
to play loose and we did just that, unfortunately, it didn’t
go our way on the scoreboard tonight.”
The Redskins improve to 20-1 overall and 8-0 in the MAC, while
Fort Recovery drops to 13-6 on the season and 4-3 in the conference.
The Indians are at home against New Bremen tomorrow night, while
St. Henry travels east to Minster. The JV match was won in two
games by St. Henry 15-7, 15-8.