Lady Panther volleyball loses at Fairfield Union

In Sectional semifinals

By Chris Hoppes -

LANCASTER — The Miami Trace Lady Panthers varsity volleyball team traveled to Fairfield County Wednesday for the opening round of the Division II Southeast District Sectional tournament, taking on the Fairfield Union Falcons.

The Falcons won the match in three sets: 25-13, 25-11, 25-15.

Miami Trace ends the season with a record of 4-18 overall, 3-7 in the Frontier Athletic Conference, placing fifth.

“We struggled,” Miami Trace head coach Doug Mace said. “We played Fairfield Union back at the beginning of the season, too, and they beat us then.

“They just played a pretty good game last night,” Mace said of the Falcons. “They were running a lot faster than us. Their kids did a really nice job of staying in their system and doing what they needed to do. They have a tough match Saturday against Circleville. That could be a pretty good match. Those teams are probably pretty evenly matched.

“For us, we struggled kind of the same way we have all season,” Mace said. “Where we struggle is in being able to move at a real quick pace when teams are running quick at us. Right now we just aren’t quick enough to stay in system.

“We would be able to play with them for a short amount of time,” Mace said. “Like in the third game, it was 6-8, 9-7, then, all of a sudden, they just opened five or six points on us real quick. That’s kind of what’s been happening all the time. We find ourselves a little over-matched as far as speed and consistency.

“The conference that Fairfield Union is in, the Mid-State League, there are a lot of good teams in that conference,” Mace said. “It’s a very strong league right now. Our league, as a whole, we’re a little bit behind. That’s kind of what we’re battling as a league, we’re behind.

“In our situation, we’re not there yet as far as being able to run at a faster pace and maintain that and stay consistent with it throughout an entire match,” Mace said.

Miami Trace says thank you and good-bye to two seniors: Taylor Dawson and Ashley Campbell.

“Those two kids were freshmen my first season,” Mace said. “They’ve stuck it out with me here for all four years of their high school career. I’m very appreciative of everything they’ve done. We’re really going to miss them. They have been very good kids for our program. Our record doesn’t reflect the work they’ve put in, but, they’re one of the reasons I’m coaching, to be with kids like that.

“We only have two seniors, so, we had a lot of underclassmen playing,” Mace said. “Against Fairfield Union, we had two freshmen on the floor at one time and two sophomores on the floor, and then some juniors. So, next year we are going to have a lot people returning who have varsity experience, more so than we’ve had in the past since I’ve been there.

“We have the potential to come back stronger next year,” Mace said. “Hopefully we can get back to contending in the league. A lot depends upon how they develop. Our eighth grade team, for two years now has gone undefeated. I believe their record is 24-0 for seventh and eighth grade years combined. Our seventh grade team finished second in the league. They only lost a couple of times. Our middle school programs have been successful the last couple of years and we have a lot of youth who should be coming back to help us at the high school level next season.”

In Sectional semifinals

By Chris Hoppes