By ANDY WOLF
FOSTORIA — Arcadia volleyball coach Jacquie Ramsey noticed the same scrappiness that helped her team win 20 games wasn’t present in Monday night’s Division IV district semifinal against New Riegel.
As a result, the Redskins lost a close battle of state-ranked teams to the Blue Jackets 26-24, 25-21, 25-22 at Fostoria High School.
“We’ve been kind of outsized all year,” Ramsey said. “Our heart and our hustle have won a lot of games for us. We’re kind of up and down all the time with our offense but my girls really play with a lot of heart and they don’t quit.
“We’ve come through in a lot of games just because we’re scrappy, which we didn’t have tonight.”
In the second semifinal, defending state champs and state-ranked Tiffin Calvert dominated early and held off McComb 25-14, 25-13, 25-19.
New Riegel (20-5), No. 17 in the final state coaches poll, and Tiffin Calvert, ranked No. 3, will meet in the district final at 6 p.m. Thursday at Fostoria.
The Redskins, seeking their first district title since 1997, bow out at 20-5 overall — their first 20-win season since 1997.
Arcadia, No. 20 in the final state poll, was also playing in the district semifinals for the first time since 2014.
The Redskins had already narrowly defeated the Blue Jackets in four sets 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 28-26 on Oct. 5.
Though on Monday, Ramsey noted her team’s composure, serve receive and blocking were off.
Arcadia fought from 8-2 down in the first set to go up 13-10 on an 8-0 run and even served for the set point up 24-22 out of a New Riegel timeout.
However, the Blue Jackets stole serve back on a sneaky kill by setter Aubrey Bouillon and closed out the set with an ace from Jordan Hohman and two hitting errors by Arcadia.
“We spotted them eight points and then we decided ‘Oh, yeah we better start playing,'” Ramsey said of the first set.
“That’s kind of been a theme I’ve been harping them on about. We need to start point one.”
In set two, New Riegel finally took control with three kills from Kaitlyn Kirian in a 6-1 run to go up 16-9.
The Redskins chipped away and came as close as 22-20, but Kirian pounded kills on the 24th and 25th points of the set.
“(Arcadia) gets up well, whether it’s on the swing or it’s on the block,” New Riegel coach Jon Price said. “We knew we had to keep the ball moving.
“We like to run Kaitlyn and Jordan out of the middle but we started moving them around and the ball around so they couldn’t keep their block on us real well.”
Arcadia also held a late third-set lead at 22-21 — the eighth lead change of the set.
Again, New Riegel closed it out with timely touches by Bouillon.
Her first touch tied the set on a side-out at 22-22 and her last tap over sealed match point.
Arcadia graduates four seniors — including first-team all-Blanchard Valley Conference pick Lea Pessell — of its roster of 10 players.
Pessell and Lyndee Ward had eight kills on Monday. Paige Massie led with nine kills.
Caity Cramer and Samantha Burnett tallied 16 and 12 assists, respectively, with Burnett leading at 18 digs.
“I told my girls if they play their heart out, they have nothing to hang their heads about,” Ramsey said. “We played a fantastic year. Nobody expected them to be here. I only had a few girls that had any varsity experience. I think that comes into play when you play a big game where you have to have your head in it.”
The second match was all Calvert.
The Senecas repeatedly fired off kills at point-blank range in the first set, getting 16 of their points that way.
McComb stepped up its blocking in the second set, blocking five times for points in pulling within 12-10.
Again, Calvert’s offense was too much in closing on a 13-4 run with seven kills — three each from Hannah Myers and Hannah Miller.
McComb hung around late in the third set and even led 17-15.
A 5-0 run out of a timeout by Calvert coach Lori Rombach changed the tone as the Senecas eventually won 10 of the final 12 points — eight via a kill.
Alysha Like collected five kills, six blocks and six digs for the Panthers. Nicole Krassow and Hannah Schroeder each had 17 digs.
“We just played hard,” McComb coach Bob Moran said. “We’ve overcome adversity. I had four starters on the bench with injuries at the beginning of the year.
“… We’re on our third libero and just keep plugging away. I’m not complaining one bit about our effort. If we could stay healthy, we would’ve been all right.”
Ashlyn Jones and Zoe Meyer (four blocks) each tallied 13 kills to lead the Senecas.
Thursday’s district final is the third time New Riegel and Calvert will meet.
The Senecas took both in straight sets in Sandusky Bay Conference River Division play.
“I am not looking at it as the third time we’re playing them; this is a brand new game,” Rombach said. “They have the ability to really do some damage and our girls are going to have to be mentally prepared and take care of our responsibility.”
NEW RIEGEL (20-4)
ACES: Jordan Hohman 3, Brooklyn Gillig 1. KILLS: Kaitlyn Kirian 19, Aubrey Bouillon 10, Julia Reinhart 6. ASSISTS: Marianna Tiell 22, Bouillon 11. DIGS: Kirian 16, Bouillon & Gillig 14. BLOCKS: Kirian 4, Hohman 1.
SERVING: Caity Cramer 15-16, Lanei Rodriguez 15-15, Samantha Burnett 12-12. ACES: Cramer 2. KILLS: Paige Massie 9, Lyndee Ward & Lea Pessell 8. SPIKING: Ward 29-32, Pessell 25-29, Morgan Squire 19-22. ASSISTS: Cramer 16, Burnett 12. SETTING: Cramer 49-50, Burnett 38-38. DIGS: Burnett 18, Ward 14, Lenci Rodriguez 12. BLOCKS: Pessell 2.
TIFFIN CALVERT (23-1)
ACES: Kate Rombach & A.J. Hemminger 2. KILLS: Ashlyn Jones & Zoe Meyer 13, Hannah Myers 8. ASSISTS: Emma White 35. DIGS: Hannah Miller 11, Rombach 9, Hemminger 8. BLOCKS: Meyer 4.
SERVING: Maddie Buck 12-12, Nicole Krassow 10-11, Alexis Shoop 7-7. ACES: Buck 2, Shoop 1. KILLS: Alysha Like 5, Brooklynn Downing & Schroeder 3. ASSISTS: Anna Threet 6, Shoop 4. SETTING: Threet 31-32, Shoop 22-24. DIGS: Schroeder & Krassow 17, Buck 9. BLOCKS: Like 6, Downing 3.
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