Miami Trace High School was the site of the Sectional semifinal match Wednesday, the third time this season the Lady Panthers have played the Washington Lady Blue Lions.
On Oct. 6, Miami Trace hosted Washington and won that match, 3-1 (25-10, 25-15, 18-25 and 25-23).
On Sept. 13, in a match played at Washington High School, the Lady Panthers won, 3-2 (25-17, 25-20, 16-25, 13-25 and 17-15).
Last night, Miami Trace rolled out to a 2-0 lead, only to have Washington rally back and win the next three sets to take the match, 3-2.
Scores of the sets were: 23-25, 19-25, 25-19, 25-23 and 15-12.
Washington advances to the Sectional championship match which will be played Saturday at 4 p.m. at Unioto High School.
Unioto defeated McClain Wednesday, 3-0 (25-7, 25-10, 25-7).
Miami Trace started strong Wednesday evening.
In the first set, the Lady Panthers built a 10-2 lead.
The Lady Lions fought back to take a 14-13 lead.
The set was tied four times after that. The point differential was no more than two or three at any given time.
Miami Trace’s Ashley Campbell had the set-winning point as the Lady Panthers began with a 25-23 win.
In the second set, the lead changed hands four times.
Miami Trace led by as many as seven points (20-13) on the way to a 25-19 win and a 2-0 lead in the best 3-of-5 match.
In the third set, Washington led from the beginning and never trailed.
Washington led by scores of 6-2, 12-7 and 18-12 before winning on a service error, 25-19.
In the fourth set, Washington again took the lead at the start and again never trailed along the way.
In the later stages of the set, Miami Trace made a push and pulled to within two points, 24-22.
Washington won this set, 25-23 to bring about the tie-breaking fifth set.
Miami Trace led this one early, 4-1.
Washington came back to tie the set, 5-5.
Miami Trace regained the lead and led by as many as three points, 11-8.
Washington called a timeout and scored the next two points to make it 11-10, prompting Miami Trace to signal for a timeout.
Washington scored the next two points to take a 12-11 lead.
The set was tied for the final time, 12-12.
Washington scored the next three points in succession to win the set, 15-12.
Victoria Jones served the winning point and Hannah Haithcock had the winning kill.
“We knew coming in today, having lost to Trace twice during the regular season, we knew it was going to be a struggle for us,” Washington head coach Ashley DeAtley said. “We really focused on their two bigger hitters who dominated over us the last two games, that was Sam (Ritenour) and Erica (Marshall). Those girls really do a nice job of placing the ball.
“So, all week we worked on the tips that hurt us,” DeAtley said. “And just having a big block up there in the middle. We struggled tonight in the beginning with hitting; our blocking was on, our defense was on, but we just weren’t swinging at the ball. Going into the third set, I told my girls, ‘it’s do or die right now. You’ve got to play with your heart.’
“The momentum swung to our side in the third and fourth (sets),” DeAtley said. “We had a slow, slow start in the fifth (set).
“Delaney Greer really stepped up for us tonight,” DeAtley said. “Freshman Halli Wall, wow; I couldn’t ask for better play from a freshman setter.
“We want to thank our fans, too,” DeAtley said. “The student section showed their support tonight. It was awesome.”
“I want to start by congratulating Court House,” Miami Trace head coach Doug Mace said. “They came in and executed their game plan a little bit better than we did. We were doing fine with our adjustments in the first two games. From the third game on, we were struggling keeping on with what we were trying to accomplish. Court House actually kept improving as (the match) went on.
“They fought gallantly,” Mace said. “Ashley did a great job of having them ready, because we beat them twice during the regular season. She had her kids really well-prepared and they fought right through to the end and pulled it out.
“Anybody could have won that last one, but they did and they deserve it,” Mace said. “They played their best at the end of that fifth game when they needed to and we didn’t.
“I wish Court House the best in the tournament,” Mace said.
Miami Trace says thank you and farewell to its three seniors: Samantha Ritenour, Kylie Reisinger and Clare Sollars.
“We’re going to miss our three seniors,” Mace said. “Sam, Kylie and Clare were kind of the heart of our team this year. So much of the success we’ve had connects right back to those three girls. They set a good example of what we need to be doing for the future. We’re going to miss them. We’re not going to try to replace them, we’re just going to try and get some other kids to do those roles next year and fill the spots on the court for us. But, we’re really going to miss those three.”
Statistically for Washington: kills: Victoria Jones, 9; Delaney Greer, 8; Hannah Haithcock, 6; Miranda Landis, 5; ace serves: Halli Wall, 4; Victoria Jones, 3; Delaney Greer, 3; digs: Haley Maxie, 20; Hannah Haithcock, 13; Halli Wall, 11; Susanna Eckstein, 10; Delaney Greer, 9; solo blocks: Hannah Haithcock, 10; Victoria Jones, 7; assists: Halli Wall, 41.
Statistics were not available for Miami Trace.
Miami Trace concludes the 2016 season with a record of 14-8. The Lady Panthers were 12-2 in the SCOL, taking second place behind 14-0 Chillicothe.
Washington is now 12-9 on the season.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1