By Gary R. Rasberry
MARIA STEIN -- Fresh from beating two state-ranked teams on Saturday at the Crestview Invitational, the Marion Local Flyers extended their win streak to four matches with a three-game sweep over Fort Loramie in Monday night volleyball action at the Hangar.
The Flyers, the top-ranked team in the state in Division IV, improve to 15-2 overall while the visiting Redskins fall to 12-5.
Fort Loramie gave Marion a battle in the first game before the Flyers eked out a 25-21 win. From there, it was all Flyers as Marion wrapped up the match with matching 25-13 scores in the final two games.
The two keys to the Flyers' success were limiting Loramie's opportunities with the serve and blocking.
Marion picked up its blocking in the last two games. After having just two blocks for points in the first game, the Flyers had 11 in the last two games. Abby Niekamp had the two blocks in the first game, then after having one in game two, had five big blocks in game three to finish with eight. Kim Droesch picked up the pace in game two with two of her three blocks coming in the middle game. "We didn't block many balls in that first game and that's really our strength," said Flyers coach Amy Steininger. "We really wanted to try and block better and play better defense.
"I thought Kim had a good blocking night as well. Then Abby started to pick it up and Megan (Barhorst) started to pick it up. ... We just need to go back to what we do well. I think that carried us emotionally as well."
After allowing four Loramie serve possessions with more than one serve in the first game, the Flyers allowed just one in the second game and three in the third game.
Fort Loramie was as close as 19-17 late in the first game as the Flyers could only mange one fairly significant serving run by Nicole Klosterman, resulting in six points. Loramie responded with a run of its own by Kara Francis that kept the Redskins in the game. The teams traded points and sideouts throughout with the Flyers having just enough of a cushion to get the win.
Game two provided the change as the Redskins had fewer serving chances. Langenkamp had four kills in the game as the tide began to turn fully toward the Flyers. Kristin Bergman added three kills and a block in the game as the Flyers had a 22-9 lead before Fort Loramie got the score into double digits at the end.
Game three was a near carbon copy as the Flyers were up 22-7 before Fort Loramie used a couple of small scoring runs to get as close as 22-11 before Marion wrapped up the match.
Steininger was impressed with Fort Loramie's play.
"I thought Fort Loramie served aggressively to us," said Steininger. "They had some nice servers. (Fort Loramie had) some jump-floater servers that we had trouble with. Overall, it was good night for us."
The Marion junior varsity had a quick match, beating Fort Loramie 25-2 and 25-15.
The Flyers return to action on Thursday, traveling to Fort Site Fieldhouse to face always-tough Fort Recovery.