By SCOTT COTTOS
Fostoria’s volleyball team put together a historic 2018 regular season in which it won a school-record 19 matches and the Northern Buckeye Conference championship along the way.
But the Lady Red’s hopes for a long Division III tournament run were dashed on Saturday with a 25-21, 25-21, 27-25 loss to 12th-ranked Coldwater in a district quarterfinal at Liberty-Benton.
The Cavaliers, from the tough Midwest Athletic Conference, will take a 17-6 record into Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. district semifinal match against second-ranked Liberty-Benton (24-0) at Kalida.
The Lady Red wrapped up their season at 19-4.
Fostoria senior Tyriana Settles knocked down 25 kills, giving her 2,083 for her career, a total that unofficially ranks second in state history.
But Coldwater got 14 kills and five blocks from MAC Player of the Year Lauren Gilliland and 11 kills, four aces and 24 digs from Taylor Siefring. In a battle that was nip and tuck all the way, the Cavaliers made a few more plays than the Lady Red.
“Some things, obviously, just didn’t go our way,” Lady Red coach Krissy Lotycz said. “We struggled with our offense a little bit, finding the floor.
“We knew that they’re a solid team. Coldwater has a very good, strong volleyball program and a huge tradition, especially at tournament time. They definitely bring the intensity. They respond well to momentum and making key plays in the match.”
Fostoria, which never trailed by more than four points throughout the match, did not lack for opportunities to take command.
“We had some great set momentum,” Lotycz said. “We had the lead in the first set; I believe it was 20-16. When you have leads like that, you have to put teams away, and quite frankly we didn’t do that.”
Indeed, the Lady Red led 20-16 in the first set, but after two Katie Alig kills helped the Cavaliers trim the gap to 21-20, a pair of Fostoria hitting errors resulted in a 22-21 Coldwater lead. Two kills by the 6-foot-1 Gilliland sandwiched around another FHS mistake, ended the set.
The Cavaliers trailed 14-12 in the second set before Taylor Siefring broke the tie at 14 with an ace. Coldwater didn’t trail again before winning the set with Siefring accounting for the last two points with aces.
Fostoria trailed nearly the entire third set before back-to-back Coldwater errors gave the Lady Red a 25-24 lead. The Cavaliers then put the match in the bag behind kills by Alig and Maddi Klosterman and a Lady Red hitting mistake.
“There’s nothing to hang your heads about,” Lotycz said. “We had a tremendous season. But when it comes to tournament time, it’s about the best team that will perform 110 percent of the time and be consistent out there. Unfortunately, we just had a few plays where we weren’t able to manage balls and it didn’t go our way.”
The 5-foot-9 Settles’ career kill total unofficially trails only the 2,196 accumulated by West Salem Northwestern’s Kara Koch from 2005-08.
“She’s really turned it up the last two years,” Lotycz said of Settles, who’s not yet made a decision as to where she’ll play in college, “especially with having other great senior leaders such as Mary Harris and Dakota Thomas setting her. She’s done a tremendous job working with them and getting to that level and reaching that goal.”
Settles also finished the match with a team-high 20 digs and Dashani Taylor had 15. Harris recorded 27 assists on 83 of 83 setting.
SERVING: Katie Alig 14-14, Taylor Siefring 7-6. ACES: Siefring 4. KILLS: Lauren Gilliland 14, Siefring 11. ASSISTS: Annalise Harlamert 36. SETTING: Harlamert 107-111. DIGS: Siefring 24, Alig 14. BLOCKS: Gilliland 5.
SERVING: Meredith Grine 12-12, Dashani Taylor 8-8. ACES: Grine & Zoe Rice 2. KILLS: Tyriana Settles 25, Grine 2. SPIKING: Settles 66-75. ASSISTS: Mary Harris 27. SETTING: Harris 83-83. DIGS: Settles 20, Taylor 15, Grine 12, Harris 10. BLOCKS: Settles, Grine & Jasmine Groves 2.