By RYAN HINES
NAPOLEON — How does a team with a 10-15 record make it
to the regional volleyball tournament?
For Parkway, it’s simple; play a rigorous schedule in
the regular season and then peak at the right time as the postseason
That’s what the Panthers have done this year and it has
paid off as Parkway edged Swanton 8-15, 15-5, 15-8 to capture
the Division III district title at Napoleon’s Grand Canyon
“I think that once the regular season ended that we decided
as a team to start out new for the tournament and we have played
well in the tournament,” said Parkway senior Amanda Jutte.
“Our record doesn’t show as well as we have played
at times this year. We all know that we can do it, and we have
started to put it together. We play a lot of good teams in our
league and that prepares us for situations like the tournament
“We knew from early in the season that we have a good
team, but we just haven’t played like it all the time
this year,” said Parkway senior Emily Snyder. “Our
seniors want it so bad and I think that it has showed in our
play. We may not have beaten state-ranked teams like St. Henry
or Minster in our league, but we competed with them and proved
to ourselves that we can do it.”
Parkway (10-15) now moves on to the regional tournament on Wednesday
against Margaretta at Liberty-Benton High School in Findlay
beginning at 6:30 p.m. Swanton bows out of tournament play with
a 15-8 mark.
It’s the first time the Panthers have been to the regional
tournament since going to state in 1997.
“People probably look at our record and think that it’s
going to be an easy win, but we play some of the best competition
in the state to prepare us and you have to throw out records
when the tournament begins,” said Parkway head coach Todd
Henkle. “Swanton is a nice team, but nothing like we see
in our conference. You want to play in the MAC because it gets
you ready for tournament time.
“Our whole goal was to be playing well come tournament
time,” continued Henkle. “We didn’t think
that we were going to be league champs, maybe an outside shot,
but our whole focus was to look forward to tournament and make
our mark there. I got into every match thinking that we can
win that match and I think that our girls are starting to believe
“I think that we all knew that we could get to this point
if we kept playing with heart,” said Parkway senior Cassie
Steinbrunner. “I just think that it’s all a matter
of this team coming together and playing as a team. We just
had to start to believe in ourselves and I think that’s
what we have done.”
The Panthers earned their regional berth on Saturday by posting
a come-from-behind win after watching Swanton win game one,
The first game loss seemed to wake up Parkway as the Panthers
jumped out to a 10-0 lead in game two. Good serving and a balanced
hitting attack paved the way to the early lead in game two.
Parkway’s Erica Yoder served the first six points behind
kills from Emily Snyder, Cassie Steinbrunner and Abby Harner
to force a Swanton timeout.
Parkway picked up four more unanswered points highlighted by
kills from Rebekah Roehm and Yoder to lead 10-0.
Swanton was able to mount a comeback in game two with five straight
points after the 10-0 deficit as Abby LaVigne had two kills
and a block to paced the comeback.
The comeback didn’t last long, though, as Parkway scored
the next five points to win game two. Snyder, Steinbrunner and
Harner each had kills during the run and back-to-back errors
on Swanton accounted for the five unanswered points.
Things didn’t exactly look good for Parkway early in game
three as Swanton got out to a 7-4 lead behind a strong serving
attack by the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs totaled ?? aces in the
contest, but the serve reception got better for the Panthers
midway through game three and that sparked a comeback for Parkway.
Facing a three-point deficit, Parkway regained its confidence
and scored seven straight points to take a 11-7 lead.
A Parkway error got Swanton to within three points again, but
the Panthers smelled blood in the water and put the game away
with a string of four consecutive points off of Deidra Adams’
serve to win game three and the district title. Roehm, Steinbrunner
and Harner each had kills to bring the match to game point and
then a combo block by Steinbrunner and Roehm clinched it.
“We lost game one, but I don’t think that our girls
ever lost their confidence,” pointed out Henkle. “Once
we got used to their serving, we were able to stay focused and
get our offense going. This is probably as proud of any team
that I have been in a long time.”