The best season in the history of the Miami Trace volleyball program came to an end Tuesday night.
Miami Trace, ranked No. 18 in the state, played host to the Circleville Tigers, the No. 12-ranked team in the state, in a Division II District semifinal match.
While the match remained close throughout, Miami Trace was, for the most part, forced to play from behind on this night.
In the end, Circleville emerged with a three sets to none win.
Scores of the sets were 25-19, 25-18 and 25-22.
Miami Trace ends the 2020 season, one in which they set a school record for victories and won their first outright and undefeated league title, going 10-0 in the Frontier Athletic Conference.
Miami Trace finishes the season at 18-2.
Circleville, 22-2, will face the No. 1 seed and No. 8 team in the state, Sheridan, Saturday at Southeastern High School near Chillicothe for the District championship.
Sheridan defeated Vinton County Tuesday, 25-11, 25-20 and 25-16.
“In all three sets, we were keeping it pretty close for about two-thirds of the way,” Miami Trace head coach Doug Mace said. “It seemed like always when the set got in the 16 or 18-point range, they would start to pull ahead two or three points.
“Give the credit to Circleville,” Mace said. “They have a really nice team. They were really good last year and with Kenzie McConnell, she’s awesome and they have a nice supporting cast around her. Their setter (Jayla Parsons) did a really good job.
“For us, we’ve had a really good season,” Mace said. “For our kids, they accomplished some things that had not been done at Miami Trace and we’re proud of that.
“Our hats are off to our seniors: (Chloe Scott, Saylor Moore, Olivia Fliehman, Piper Grooms and Delaney Eakins),” Mace said. “They were awesome this year. Hopefully our young kids will follow along and learn from this and strive to keep getting better.
“It was a good match,” Mace said. “It’s what you expect to see in the Districts. Our Sectional and District draw was loaded with some really good teams.
“For us to be here playing them, we can hold our heads high,” Mace said. “It wasn’t like they just walked over us. We made them earn the win. We showed that we do belong and that we’ve come a long way. I’m happy and proud for that.”
“We came into the match very business-oriented and we knew what we needed to accomplish,” Circleville head coach Danielle Perkins said. ” We played focused, were determined and we put together a strong match to beat a good team like Miami Trace.
“Miami Trace had the strongest triple-block that we’ve seen all season,” Perkins said. “They were very solid, efficient and also did a nice job of accounting for the tip shot. Kenzie made the appropriate adjustments and started hitting a little longer, and that’s what good hitters do.
“Our defense was very scrappy, we covered a lot of the floor and kept rallies going to put pressure on Miami Trace,” Perkins said.
For Miami Trace, Gracey Ferguson had two solo blocks; Laura Robinson had 12 kills and Olivia Fliehman had 16 kills.
For Circleville, Kenzie McConnell had 25 kills and three solo blocks.
— Independent sportswriter Brad Morris contributed to this report.