Local Pictures
Classified Ads
 Announce Births
Email Us
Buy A Copy
Local Links

click here to
The Daily



10-09-03: Seniors looking for third straight title


Perfection is something that’s often strived for, but rarely achieved.
The five Celina volleyball seniors have a chance at perfection tonight in the final Western Buckeye League match of the season as the Bulldogs travel to St. Marys.
Perfection has become expected from the Celina quintet of Megan Harner, Traci Stoner, Sarah Lange, Tricia VanderHorst and Lydia Fleck over the last three years.
If Celina wins tonight, the Bulldogs will win the WBL title outright for the third consecutive year bringing the league winning streak to 31 games.
The five Celina seniors have an unblemished 26-0 record in league play the last three years and it’s something each one of them is very proud of.
“It was so neat when we were sophomores and we won the WBL,” said setter Traci Stoner. “We got to feel that championship feeling and our motivation was to get that feeling back each year after that and we’ve been able to do that. “
“When we were sophomores, we saw how much that winning the WBL title meant to the seniors at that time,” said outside hitter and defensive specialist Megan Harner. “We’re the seniors now and we want to go out and get another outright WBL title that way the younger players on this team can see what it’s like and want to continue the tradition.”
“This group were sophomores when I got here to Celina and the jayvee team that year was 20-0,” pointed out head coach Nikki Taylor-Etzler. “A lot of the seniors on this year’s team dressed varsity and played for us while also seeing some time on the jayvee team. They haven’t lost much as a group and that keeps them motivated.”
The last time that Celina lost a WBL contest was on Sept. 28 of 2000 when Defiance upended the Green and White, 15-4, 15-11. This crop of seniors wants nothing to do with being the team that halts the league winning streak.
“It was exciting to win the WBL when we were sophomores, but I think that it’s much better as a senior because I was more of a jayvee player back then, where now I’m more of this team and making more of a contribution,” said right-side and middle hitter Tricia VanderHorst. “How many people can say that they played varsity for three years and went undefeated... I don’t think that there’s too many people out there that can say that and I want to be one of those people.”
“I think there’s always pressure there on us because we don’t want to be the team that lost and ended the winning streak,” noted Stoner. “ I guess that it’s more motivation than pressure because we all want to go out there and play so bad and compete.”
“I think that the girls know that once they get involved into our volleyball program that there comes a lot of responsibility with that,” said Taylor-Etzler. “We demand effort out of the girls and they return that effort behind the leadership of the seniors. I think that the type of girls that I have had since I’ve been here is a big key because they all set high goals and work so hard to achieve those goals.”
Celina senior Lydia Fleck knows that one of the major jobs of the five seniors is to make sure that the underclassmen understand that opponents will always give their best effort against the three-time defending WBL champs.
“One thing about our volleyball tradition here is that when you play for Celina you’re always going to get the opponent’s best performance because they are gunning for you at the top,” said Fleck who plays right side and is a defensive specialist. “It’s important that everyone on the team plays with motivation and intensity each and every point. Coach has been here ever since our group of seniors has been playing varsity so I think that the winning streak means just as much to her.”
Most athletic programs would be ecstatic to clinch a share of the WBL title, but after watching the girls following Tuesday’s clinching win over Wapakoneta, it’s clear that the celebration is on hold until the championship is decided once and for all tonight.
“We’re seniors and we already have a share of the WBL title, but we don’t want to go out losing our last WBL game of our careers so our motivation is still very high going into our game with St. Marys because we want an outright title,” said middle hitter Sarah Lange.
This group of talented seniors have also been able to rely on some talented underclassmen such as Jamie Siefker, Kelsey Fleck, Shawn Dorsten, Jessica Wagner and Betsy Hone.
“We’re such a deep team and that’s a good thing because our practices are so competitive each day that we can’t help but get better as a team and as individuals,” said VanderHorst. “There are some really good girls on this team that could start on a lot of other teams and we feel fortunate to have the type of depth that we have.”
“The best thing about this team is that they all know what a team is all about,” lauded Taylor-Etzler. “They know what to expect from others and themselves and they don’t care how it gets done, as long as it gets done. “
Now, five Celina seniors are hoping to get the job done once more for the 20th time in the program’s history in the WBL. Celina’s dominance in the WBL is nothing short of amazing as only Bath (three titles) has more than one WBL volleyball title, other than Celina.
“We work so hard in practice and I think that’s why we take so much pride in our program,” explained Taylor-Etzler. “The work ethic is instilled by the coaching staff and by the parents so the girls all know how hard they have to work each day and they get plenty of reminders.”
Somehow, I think that reminders won’t be needed tonight as the Bulldogs will take on the archrival Roughriders.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822