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Creek comes up just short in OVAC 4A semifinal

WINTERSVILLE — East Liverpool controlled the middle of the games, but Indian Creek refused to go away quietly.

In the end, a couple of points determined the winner as the No. 3 seed East Liverpool volleyball team hung on to defeat No. 2 seed Indian Creek, 25-18, 28-26, 22-25, 27-25, in an OVAC Class 4A Tournament semifinal Tuesday night.

The Redskins led 24-23 in sets two and four, however, they were not able to finish off the Potters as East Liverpool rallied and broke the hearts of Creek.

“It was a great match,” Indian Creek (13-5) Molly Edgerly said. “It was a game of highs and lows. We took advantage of the highs, but we could not come back from the lows.”

With the win, East Liverpool will now play No. 1 seed Beaver Local in the tournament final at 3:30 Saturday down at Union Local. Beaver Local swept No. 4 seed Oak Glen in Tuesday’s other semifinal.

“They have beaten twice,” East Liverpool (14-5) head coach Dan McKinstry, who is in his first season at East Liverpool said. “They beat us in three the first time we played them, but that was early in the season. The second time they beat us in four. We won the first game in that one. We played better. We will practice, and see what we can do.”

Volleyball is a game of runs, and that was once again proven in this match.

“I didn’t coach the match here because I had COVID,” McKinstry said. “We beat them up at our place. They beat us here.

“We could not stand prosperity. Our libero was not here. She is playing in the tennis regionals down in Portsmouth. It is tough. You play all year with one group of girls, and then you have to change things around. Then, Kyia (White) got hurt. Our girls kept battling. They kept playing. They found a way. That is all there is to it, they found a way.”

Indian Creek led 14-13 in the first set, only to see East Liverpool storm back and win the game by seven.

The Redskins led 8-7 in set two, but then the Potters caught fire as they built a 19-12 lead and then the visitors led 22-15 before the hosts regrouped and rallied to take the lead only to see the Potters battle back and win the game by two.

“We are going to practice and get ready for Beaver Local Saturday,” McKinstry said. “We are going to have to come up with a game plan.

“Our girls kept battling. We had a lot of attack errors tonight. We missed a lot of attacks. We had trouble receiving serves, but in the fourth game we had some receptions, we had some good passes and we had some good swings.”

Indian Creek scored to tie the third set at 11, but East Liverpool pulled ahead and took a 19-14 lead. Trailing by five and on the verge of getting swept, the Redskins rallied and outscored the Potters 11-3 the rest of the way to win the game by three and to stay alive in the match.

The home team led 6-5 in the fourth set, however, the Potters caught fire once again and built a 20-12 lead forcing Edgerly to call timeout. Facing defeat, the Redskins battled back and took a 24-23 lead only to see the Potters rise to the occasion and come away with a two-point win to win the match, 3-1.

“I told the girls that is harder to comeback from being down six than it is to take the lead,” Edgerly said. “We had a chance, but we have to finish. We did not finish in those two games, and we lost those two.

For Indian Creek, Kailey McMillon tallied 10 kills, two blocks, one assist, four digs and four aces, Carley Penner produced seven kills, 22 assists, three aces and one dig, Brooke Grant recorded one kill, 15 assists, four digs and two aces. Also, Gracie Francis finished with four kills, six blocks and five digs, Olivia Wukelic collected 18 kills, three digs and one ace and Jordan Hiles had 17 digs and one ace. Next, Tori Robertson ended up with three kills and two blocks, Alley Pethel and Peyton Freshwater each delivered eight digs and Bella Pitts added three digs. Finally, Katie Turner contributed three kills.

“They are aggressive,” Edgerly said about the Potters. “Everything they do is aggressive. They are aggressive at the net. We knew there was going to be no free tips. We knew they were going to be aggressive. We had to take away their momentum. We had to do our part. We knew they were great blockers. We had to work on covering the lines. They like to push to the lines. Our girls were forced to move out. Dan does a great job of seeing spots and seeing where to go. You have to react to it.”

Both teams are scheduled to play Thursday.

East Liverpool is slated to play at South Range.

“The last four weeks have been unlike anything I have seen,” McKinstry said. “I have to give credit to the girls. They keep plugging away. They keep finding away. I’m happy. We are going to practice, and then we will play Thursday.”

Meanwhile, Indian Creek will play Buckeye 8 and Jefferson County opponent Edison at home. Indian Creek will end the regular season Monday at Wheeling Park.

Indian Creek and East Liverpool will meet one more time this season as the Redskins play the Potters in an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional Co-Final at 6 p.m. Wednesday back at Indian Creek. The Redskins are the No. 8 seed in the tournament, while the Potters are the No. 9 seed.

“I told the girls we will see them next week,” Egderly said. “We are going to take this match and learn from it. I really think we are going to beat them next week. We have 10 seniors, and I think they are really going to step up. I have a lot of confidence in our girls going into next week.”

McKinstry is the winningest coach in Ohio history. He has now won 787 matches in his illustrious career. McKinstry coached at East Palestine from 1978-1996 before coaching Wellsville from 1997-2020.

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