FINDLAYS BRITTNEY HAAS, right, and Elmwoods Peighton Troike battle at the net in Sundays Fostoria Athletic Boosters All-Star Volleyball Red Division match at Fostoria High School. (Photo by David Simonis)

Staff writer
FOSTORIA — Peighton Troike enjoyed making new friends through playing in Sunday night’s 24th annual Fostoria Athletic Boosters All-Star Volleyball Matches at Fostoria High School.
One last match with an old friend, though, was something special.
After attending St. Wendelin together before the school’s closure last spring, Troike and Taiah Douglas remained teammates in their senior season at Elmwood.
On Sunday night, both helped the West top the East 25-18, 16-25, 25-17 in the Red Division match.
Though both of the night’s matches were slated for three sets regardless of outcomes of the first two, both required a final set. The East won the Gold Division match 20-25, 25-16, 25-23.
“Playing with Taiah for the last time — it was nice to have, like, a last time together because of everything that happened,” Troike said. “It was just nice to play with her.”
Douglas said she and Troike found out about their selection to the team via text message from Elmwood coach Penny Rayle.
“I was really excited,” she said.
Douglas said though the team had just one practice together, she had a feeling of togetherness with her teammates.
“It felt like I’d been playing with this team for longer than today,” she said. “I felt we already had a bond going. I just had a lot of fun with them.”
Troike had an ace serve sandwiched by a pair of kills by Lakota’s Mackenzie Feathers as the West upped its lead from 7-6 to 11-6 in the third set.
Later, Otsego’s Jaclyn Ghesquire knocked down a kill and her Knights teammate, Zion Richardson, immediately followed with two more as the West upped its lead to 20-11. The East was unable to cut the lead under six after that.
The East never trailed in the final set of the Gold Division match, but its lead never went above five points, at 20-15, and the West knotted the match at 22 on a block by Vanlue’s Amanda Clymer and again at 23 on a Clymer kill.
Hopewell-Loudon’s Jacque Burns put a ball down for a 24-23 East advantage and New Riegel’s Lindsay Bouillon finished the match with a kill.
Kiely Taylor, a hard swinging hitter from Old Fort, played a key role in the East’s win and had an enjoyable time doing it.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I felt honored to be nominated for it. Everyone just wanted to have a good time, and we did.”
The level of the talent in the matches impressed the players.
“There were girls who could do, like, everything — girls who play all the way around,” Troike said. “I play front row. That’s my main thing. Then girls would go all the way around and be amazing all the way around. It was just nice playing with them.”
“I felt kind of nervous because I didn’t know if I’d be as good as the rest of them,” Douglas said. “But by the time we got out on the floor, it was a lot of fun and we all played pretty well together.”
And winning never fails to boost the enjoyment level, even if it’s quite the challenge.
“We just thought of it was kind of a warmup set,” Taylor said of her squad falling a set down. “We were upset that we lost, but we knew that we were going to win.”