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The Daily



10-22-03: Top-ranked ’Skins prevent Flyers upset

St. Henry to play in first district title contest since the 1999 campaign.


NEW BREMEN — The last three years at the Division IV district semifinal, the team that won in the regular season matchup between the two teams was usually the loser when the chance to move on to the final came around.
It happened last year when Marion Local beat St. Henry in two games to move on and eventually take the state runner-up trophy.
Lori Schwieterman wanted to make sure her Redskins would not offer an encore.
The Flyers did their best to repeat, but the Redskins move on with a 15-11, 15-5 win at Cardinal Gymnasium in New Bremen. The top-ranked Redskins (23-1) will play Crestview in the district final Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Palace in Coldwater. The Knights (19-4) defeated St. John’s 15-8, 15-1 at the Lincolnview district semifinal.
It appeared that defense would be the buzz word of the match. In the first game alone there were 43 total sideouts, including a stretch of eight at the end of the game before St. Henry could take the game.
“We work on that in practice,” said Schwieterman of the defensive struggle. “If we give them the ball, we want to get the ball right back.”
St. Henry had the early lead of 1-0 but couldn’t regain the lead until a hit into the net by Marion made the score 11-10. The Redskins trailed 8-4 midway through the match before putting small runs of two- and three-point rotations together and then holding the Flyers to either one or no points on their serve.
“We didn’t play our best game tonight,” said Schwieterman. “Jenna (Barhorst) and Kelsey (Schaefer) did a great job for Marion at the net. I know we can play better and I told them we will work on playing better.”
Just as tedious as the march to get the tie back was for the Redskins, it didn’t take long for the lead to push out a bit. Another Flyer hitting error made it 12-10 and after trading the serves, a service winner made it 13-10.
Barhorst got a kill on the next service to cut it to 13-11 but a couple of sideouts later Lindsay Puthoff got the stuff to get it to match point. The Flyers forced the sideout but the Redskins refused to yield on the Flyers’ serve, not allowing a point in the final four rotations Marion had before another mis-hit put St. Henry up 1-0 in the match.
“Once we started clicking and getting the momentum, the girls got fired up,” said Schwieterman. “I thought we passed the ball very well and everybody stepped up and made some big time plays.”
“I thought the first game was tremendous for both teams,” said Marion coach Amy Kucharski. “I thought both teams played very well. It was close, neck-to-neck. We both ran out of subs at the end of the game. That’s how long that game was.”
In game two, it was the Redskins that got out to the early lead at 3-1 before Marion tied things up at 3-3 and led 4-3 before the Redskins tied things up. The Redskins scored six unanswered points to go up 10-4 and forced Kucharski to use both allotted timeouts.
“I think we were inconsistent at times at the net,” said Schwieterman. “At the end of the first game and the start of the second. I thought they really stepped up and put the ball down. Between games we talked about needing to keep hitting the ball and staying aggressive. We came out in the second game and did a good job of that.”
Marion managed just one more point before the Redskins put things away with Lindsay Hess getting the final point with her 13th kill of the night.
“We were kind of discouraged after losing that long first game,” said Kucharski. “We couldn’t get our passing down and get our middles established. The middles were our firepower that first game and couldn’t get them the ball in the second game.”
Kucharski was happy that the Flyers, who graduated all their starters from last season, was able to finish a respectable 18-7.
“I’m proud of my girls,” said the first-year Flyer coach. “A lot of people thought that we wouldn’t do much, losing the entire starting lineup, but they kept working hard and improving. ... We had number two (Minster) and number one (St. Henry) teams in the state back-to-back. That’s a tall order. I thought our girls did excellent at the end of the season.”


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