OVAC volleyball Saturday

STEUBENVILLE – The Indian Creek and Edison volleyball trilogy came to a thrilling finish.

In the end, the top-seeded Redskins were able to pull away down the stretch to hold off the second-seeded Wildcats, 25-22, 23-25, 25-17, to win the OVAC Class 5A Tournament title Saturday evening inside the Crimson Center at Big Red.

“It was a fantastic match,” Edison (16-6) head coach Leah Eft said. “It always is with them.”

The title was the Redskins’ sixth tournament title, and the first under current head coach Crystal Hammack. Indian Creek won five-straight tournament titles from 1997 to 2001 under the guidance of former head coach Erin DeSantis.

“It’s huge,” Indian Creek (18-2) head coach Crystal Hammack said. “It is one of our goals. It is one of the goals the kids set for themselves this season.

“It is a testament to how hard our kids play and how hard they work.”

The Wildcats have also won six tournament titles with the last one coming last season. Edison defeated Indian Creek in the semifinals en route to the title last year.

Individually for Indian Creek in Saturday’s final, Bethany Davis scored seven points to go along with seven kills, 20 assists, one ace, one block and 13 digs, Whitney Martin netted two points, five kills, six blocks and 10 digs and Jessica Furda recorded seven points, one kill, 25 assists and four digs.

“We had to stay focused there at the end,” said Furda, a four-year starter at setter. “We had to stay in the moment and not look ahead.”

Kiarra Kamarec contributed four points, two kills, six blocks and three digs, Martina Marko produced nine points, one kill, one block and one dig and Bre Berryman ended up with 15 kills, 10 blocks and two digs.

Mallorie Sullivan tallied three points, one ace and 11 digs, Kaylee LaRue collected three points and eight digs and Alexis Fithen finished with two kills and one block.

“Most of our kids are healthy,” Hammack said. “We have not been healthy all year. Our outside hitter (Martin) got hurt today, and we had to finagle our lineup in the third set. We are fortunate with the team that we have that we are able to rotate players in to fill positions.”

Individually for Edison, Katelyn Pollock collected nine points, eight kills, one assist, six aces, two blocks and one dig, Caitlin Brenstuhl tallied five points, three kills, 20 assists and one ace and Cassady Jarvis recorded one point, 17 kills and three blocks.

Alexis Gill added one point, four kills, one block and one dig, Kalee Neal ended up with 11 points, one kill and one ace and Maddie Williamson delivered one block and one dig.

Kimmy Wilson finished with one kill, and Mackenzie Berardinelli produced one dig.

The Wildcats were on the verge of being swept in Game 2, but Edison’s veteran leaders came through in the clutch to force a third and deciding game.

“I attribute that to my seniors and my veteran junior,” Eft said. “It is nice to know you can trust them when things aren’t going so well.”

Edison advanced to the tournament final by defeating No. 3 seed Morgantown, 25-19, 25-16.

Individually for the Wildcats, Brenstuhl tallied four points, six kills, 24 assists, two aces, three blocks and one dig, Jarvis recorded seven points, nine kills, two aces and five blocks and Pollock collected one point, nine kills, one block and one dig.

Also, Gill added five points, five kills, one assist and one block, Neal ended up with eight points, one assist, one ace and two digs and Williamson netted three points, three kills and one block.

For Morgantown (13-7), Sammie Parks scored four points to go along with five assists, one ace and one dig.

Indian Creek advanced to the match by defeating No. 4 seed Parkersburg South, 25-13, 25-15.

“We didn’t know anything about them,” Furda said of the Patriots. “We didn’t know how they played, so we just had to do our jobs and play our type of volleyball. The team did a really good job of staying focused in that match.”

Individually for the Redskins, Furda recorded seven points, five kills, 14 assists, five aces, two blocks and five digs, Davis scored nine points to go along with one kill, two aces, one block and nine digs and Kamarec contributed three points, two kills, two blocks and two digs.

Also, Martin ended up with eight points, six kills and six digs, Berryman netted two kills, three blocks and one dig and Fithen chipped in with four kills, one block and three digs.

Finally, LaRue delivered two points and six digs, and Sullivan added 10 digs.

Indian Creek also won the Class 5A regular season title this season.

“The regular season title is more about points,” Hammack said.

For Parkersburg South (18-9-1), Taylor Ratliff tallied two points, 10 assists, one block and eight digs.

Parkersburg South defeated Morgantown in the consolation final, 25-23, 27-25.

For the Patriots, Ratliff finished with five points, two kills, 17 assists, two aces, one block and nine digs.

For the Mohigans, Parks scored five points to go along with 13 assists, one ace and four digs.

The Wildcats next match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night in the Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional Tournament down at St. Clairsville High School. Edison will play the winner of Monday’s match between Big Red and Cambridge.

Indian Creek’s next match is at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Minerva in the sectional tournament at St. Clairsville.

The Redskins defeated the Wildcats in the sectional co-final last season.

With the way things have gone so far this season, a fourth chapter may be written between these two schools down the road.

OVAC volleyball Saturday

STEUBENVILLE – Oak Glen got the Meadowbrook monkey off of its back.

The Oak Glen volleyball team showed why it was the top seed in the OVAC Class 4A Tournament Saturday afternoon as it shook off a shaky first game to rally and to defeat the third-seeded Colts 15-25, 25-9, 25-11, in the tournament final Saturday afternoon inside Big Red’s Crimson Center.

“It’s wonderful,” Oak Glen (24-3-2) head coach Ethel Riser said about winning the tournament title. “We played Meadowbrook, and this is the third time in the last three years we have played them. This is the first time we have won. It is really special.”

Meadowbrook defeated Oak Glen and East Liverpool en route to winning the tournament title last season.

The Golden Bears have now won seven tournament titles with the previous one coming back in 2009. Oak Glen also won tournament titles in 1987, ’89, ’90, ’96 and ’97. The Golden Bears’ seventh tournament title allowed them to move into a 7th place tie with Skyvue for the most tournament titles in history. Buckeye Trail leads the way with 13 tournament titles.

The Golden Bears also won the Class 4A regular season title this season.

Individually for Oak Glen in the final, Morgan Poling produced 10 points, 11 kills, one ace, two blocks and six digs, Vanessa Hissam scored nine points to go along with nine kills, two blocks and five digs and Jessica Stivason ended up with nine points, 10 kills, three aces and five blocks.

Carissa Williams collected eight points and 16 assists, Kenzie Rosenlieb tallied two points and 10 assists and Madison Juszczak delivered two points and seven kills. Emmy Delekta added three digs, Brianna Evans recorded one block and Taylor Allison netted one kill. Kami Koper contributed one dig.

Individually for Meadowbrook (14-8), Morgan Modro recorded 10 kills, Baylee Graham tallied six points, two assists and three aces and Sydnie DeLong ended up with four digs. Jessica Cottle collected three digs, Delaney Singleton netted six kills and two blocks and Kaylee Hunt contributed 21 assists. Sydney Black delivered one point and four digs and Alexis Poland added one dig.

“They just had different kids,” Riser said asked if Meadowbrook did anything differently than it has in the prior matchups the last couple of years. “It is the mental game. They beat us the last two years. It got into their heads that they could beat us again, but then we started playing our game.

“I just had to remind them about what we have done and who we are. We are the No. 1 team and not the No. 3 team. They decided to play ball.

“The girls are excited. The Homecoming dance is tonight. We hoped to be out of here by 2 p.m. Now, the girls are going to have to hurry and get their hair done. Now, they can take an OVAC championship to the dance with them.”

The Colts knocked off the Golden Bears in the semifinals in each of the past two seasons, but Oak Glen rebounded each time to win the West Virginia Class AA state championship.

The Golden Bears are a battle-tested group, and was able to rise to the challenge against Meadowbrook and put the rough first game behind them.

“I had a little talk with them,” Riser said. “I did not yell. I did not scream. I told them we were the No. 1 team in the OVAC, and we were playing the No. 3 team. We have played a lot of tough teams, and we have beaten them. I told them we were the No. 1 team and that we needed to play like it.

“We turned it up, and we kept on playing. We were having fun, and we kept pouring it on.”

Oak Glen advanced to the finals by defeating No. 4 seed East Liverpool, 25-23, 25-9, in the semifinals. The match was third between the Golden Bears and the Potters this season.

Individually for the Golden Bears, Poling picked up six points, five kills, six blocks and two digs, Rosenlieb collected six points, four kills, two assists and one dig and Stivason netted four points, four kills, four blocks and seven digs.

Also, Hissam added one point, seven kills and two digs, Williams tallied six points, 14 assists and two aces and Juszczak recorded six points and two digs.

Finally, Delekta delivered four assists and five digs, Alex Arnott produced two kills and one block and Evans ended up with one block.

Individually for the Potters, Kiara Cowart contributed four kills, two blocks and one dig, Paige Craig recorded five points, two kills and 10 digs and Madison White tallied one point, three kills and 10 assists.

Also, Caitlyn Davis delivered eight kills and two blocks, Sierra Voorhees collected four points and 10 assists and Taylor Ward added two points and four kills.

“This is the third time we have played East Liverpool this year,” Riser said. “They did nothing different. It was the same game.”

Meadowbrook advanced to the tournament final by defeating No. 2 seed Big Red, 17-25, 25-23, 25-19, inside the Joseph Stern Gymnasium.

For the Colts, Black contributed three points, 13 kills, one assist, two aces, seven blocks and six digs, Hunt collected four points, one kill, 30 assists, one ace and three digs and Graham recorded four points, one kill, one ace and two digs. Singleton produced 11 kills.

For Big Red, Taylor Young tallied eight points, eight kills, nine assists, two aces, one block and five digs, Abby Taylor collected two points, five kills, 10 assists, one block and seven digs and Brittany Bodo delivered one point, three kills, three assists and eight digs.

Also, Annie Nehrbas scored eight points to go along with six kills and six blocks, Carmie Biasi contributed seven points, two aces and nine digs and Mytia Barker recorded three points, two kills and nine digs.

Finally, Lysaih Rice produced our kills, two assists and four blocks.

Big Red led 23-22 in Game 2 forcing the Colts to call a timeout. Unfortuantely for the girls from Jefferson County, Meadowbrook responded to score the final three points of the game to win the game and to tie the match at 1.

The Colts gained the advantage early in game three, and the girls from Guernsey County did not let up en route to recording the victory in the match.

“We played our best game because the girls were excited, and they didn’t back down,” Big Red (13-9) head coach Lynn Meyer said. “We made mental mistakes, but I am very pleased with how we are playing headed into sectionals. We did the little things. Meadowbrook is a great team.”

Following Tuesday night’s loss at Edison, Big Red practice for a couple of days inside the Joseph Stern Gymnasium instead of in the Crimson Center. The gymnasium is the smaller of the two gyms.

“It definitely helped us,” Meyer said. “It helped us get use to the lose ceiling and the obstructions. We realized we had to control the ball. We had to pass the ball.

“It is an honor for us to play in this tournament. Making it to the tournament is always one of our goals.

“Meadowbrook has some nice hitters and a nice defense.

“We came right at them. We did not back up. I think we beat them at the net in the first two sets, but they beat us at the net in the third set. That was the difference.

“Our coverage was better. We had some coverage breakdowns against Edison. Our coverage work was much better today. Everybody played better today.”

After the loss to the Colts, Big Red bounced back and defeated the Potters, 25-16, 25-22, in the consolation final.

Individually for Big Red, Nehrbas recorded four points, four kills, one assist, two aces, two blocks and two digs, Taylor tallied nine points, four kills, seven assists, one ace and three digs and Young collected three points, five kills, nine assists and two digs.

Also, Barker recorded eight points, one kill, three aces and three digs, Brittany Bodo delivered one kill, one assist and four digs and Biasi contributed three points and six digs.

Finally, Rice finished with three kills and one block.

Individually for East Liverpool, White tallied seven points, one kill and 12 assists, Cowart contributed three kills and four blocks and Craig recorded four points and three kills.

Big Red ran off several-straight points on Taylor’s serve as Big red built a 17-8 advantage in the first game. Big Red later increased its lead to 11 points at 21-10.

The consolation final was the third meeting of the season between Big Red and East Liverpool.

“They did nothing different,” Meyer said. “Sometimes when you play in the consolation final things don’t go well because you lost the first match. I give my girls a lot of credit. They came to play. They did not let that loss affect their play.

“When I first looked into their eyes, I thought we were in trouble, but they came back ready to play.”

Big Red’s next match is at 6 p.m. Monday night against Cambridge in the Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional Tournament down at St. Clairsville High School. The winner of that match will play Edison at 7:30 p.m. in the second match of the night Tuesday.

“You would definitely like to go into Monday with a win,” Meyer said. “The winner Monday plays again Tuesday.”

Big Red will not practice today in preparation of their sectional match.

“You would like to have a day to prepare, but the girls have been really busy and the season is so hard they need to take a day to recuperate their bodies. They need to get some rest.

“We will come back Monday ready to go.”

Meyer said she does not really know anything about the Bobcats.

“I know nothing,” she said. “We will adjust well. I have talked to people about them. I will call someone tomorrow who has played them to find out what system they run.

“We just wanted to get through today. We are going to take it one day at a time.”

This was Big Red’s first appearance in the tournament since winning its lone tournament title back in 2005.

Oak Glen’s next match is Tuesday at Wheeling Park. Oak Glen will also participate in a tournament Saturday down at Parkersburg South.

“Hopefully this gives us confidence going into the rest of the year,” Riser said. “We played hard. We played well. We beat a good team. This should give us a boost going into sectionals in a couple of weeks. We have our sectional tournament, then regionals and then the state tournament.

“We are going to take it one step at a time. This is just one step. It’s not the final step. It’s just the first step.”

Once the Golden Bears started rolling in the second game, the Colts were unable to slow them down.

“Meadowbrook has a nice team,” Riser said. “I think they got a little flustered.”

Oak Glen has faced tough competition throughout the season so far, and the Golden Bears will continue to see good teams throughout the remainder of their schedule.

“It was a good game,” Riser said. “It was good competition. I like good competition. The tougher the competition the better. If you look at our schedule, we play a lot of the bigger Triple-A schools. I like playing good competition. The only way you get better as by playing good competition.”

OVAC volleyball Saturday

STEUBENVILLE – If for whatever reason the OVAC Volleyball Championship Tournament was played a few weeks ago, the result of the Class A final may have been different.

Madonna, the reigning champion, was just caught on a bad day.

“It was a long day,” said Blue Dons coach Jennifer Ewusiak.

With the OVAC regular season title already ensured, Madonna entered the tournament at Big Red’s Crimson Court with a 15-game winning streak.

It continued with a three-set win over Trinity Christian in the semifinals.

“I told the girls to overcome the nerves of playing in a big tournament against a very good team,” said Trinity coach Jennifer Hefner.

On Sept. 24, the Blue Dons beat the Warriors in two sets as part of three-team set with Wheeling Central.

“I thought we improved a lot since then,” Hefner said.

Trinity collected eight-straight points in Game 1, overcoming an early four-point deficit, to win, 25-21. The Blue Dons had to fend off a five-point streak in Game 2 to but held on, 25-19, to force a deciding third game, which they won, 25-14.

Monica Bragg had 10 kills against the Warriors, while Amanda Paul tallied 16 digs. Chloe Conner added 18 assists, four points and three kills.

Emily Pietranton scored four aces, with seven digs.

Madonna could have used a time machine before taking on Bellaire St. John in the championship match.

The Fighting Irish edged Paden City in three sets before taking on the defending champs.

“We weren’t quite sure what to expect,” St. John coach Carrie Ramsey said, “but they really stepped up to the plate.”

Madonna fell in two sets, 25-17 and 25-22.

“Some of them were just getting their serves in,” Ewusiak said. “There was not any movement. That was not one of the toughest teams we’ve come up against.

“Our blocks weren’t very good. It was just a bad day.”

Lindsey Froelic, a 6-foot-3, sophomore middle hitter, led the Irish with nine kills, while Caitlin Sliva had nine points and Sydney Helms tallied 11 assists.

“It was a total team effort,” Ramsey, the first-year head coach, said. “They all kept their heads in the game and they all picked each other up when they needed to. They got the job done.”

A six-point run to go up 13-5 paced the Irish (18-4) in Game 2. Sliva, a junior, created two points off broken plays and used the net to her advantage, catching Madonna defenders flat-footed.

“We needed that confidence,” Ramsey said. “They know they can perform at this level and it’s going to guide us.

“For the stage and what was at stake, yes,” she added when asked if it was the best game the team has played all year. “At the beginning of the year, they would have fell apart.”

Bragg scored nine kills for the Blue Dons (20-3) in Game 2, with Paul adding 13 digs. Conner had 12 assists and five digs, Gabrielle Sellitti tallied four digs and two kills, while Pietranton had seven digs.

“It kind of tells you what needs to be worked on and where you can improve,” Ewusiak said. “I’m proud of them. They worked really hard all season and they do work well together. It was just a bad day.”

Madonna hosts Valley a 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

(Matthew Peaslee is a sports writer and can be contacted at mpeaslee@heraldstaronline.com or followed on Twitter at @thempeas.)