PDT Sports Writer
WAVERLY — Don’t let the lack of height be a judgemental factor because the Minford volleyball team can find the way to win matches.
The No. 2 Falcons used a smart game plan Wednesday night to accomplish a 25-14, 25-15, 25-19 sweep over No. 3 Federal Hocking in a Division III Southeast District Semifinal at Waverly High School. They move on to Saturday’s final against No. 1 Westfall, which advanced with a 25-14, 25-16. 25-21 sweep over No. 5 Meigs.
“I feel good with the way the girls have been playing and talking,” Minford coach April Davis said.
The key to the Falcons’ success in the match was using runs at key moments to build substantial leads and forcing the Lancers to play from behind and forcing a plethora of errors.
“To get up and stay up, it sets the tone for the rest of the match,” Davis said.
Federal Hocking started the evening with a 4-0 lead but Minford was able to bounce back with three service points from Logan Combs, four from Gabby Grose and nine from Kelsey Conkey — which included all four of her aces on the night — to jump up 19-8, the biggest lead in the set. The Falcons didn’t waste time in the second and third sets, leading 6-1 in both sets. Despite giving up the lead at 15-14 in the third, Minford rallied for 11 of the final 15 points of the match.
Davis felt the close presence at the net was essential in putting pressure on the Lancer defense. For the night, Conkey led the victors with 15 digs, 11 points and six digs while Combs chipped in with 13 digs, 12 points and nine assists, Grose checked in with 19 points and 14 digs, Jordyn Pennington added nine kills and three aces and Megan Weddig finished with four kills.
For Weddig, Davis believes the junior has provided depth at a key moment during the tournament after seeing limited action during parts of the regular season. She feels Weddig’s work ethic is a great example for her program when it comes to not getting discouraged and being ready to play when their name is called for duty.
The Falcons move on to their first district final since 2008 as they will take on a Mustang program that was a regional semifinalist in Division II just one year ago. A win over the SVC champions, who will come into the match with a 20-3 record, would be a milestone for Davis’ program, which she has taught to be fighters since she took over prior to the start of the 2012 campaign.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.
Federal Hocking — 14 15 19
Minford — 25 25 25
Records — Federal Hocking 14-10; Minford 13-11.