LUCASVILLE - Valley coach Teresa Alvelo just wanted her team to maintain its intensity on Thursday.
The Lady Indians did just that. Jumping out to comfortable leads in all three games as Valley moved on to the Division IV District Tournament at Wellston with a 25-11, 25-14, 25-13 victory over Notre Dame in a sectional final.
“Since the end of the season, and they realize how close they were in the SOC, (we) tried to convince them and try to get across to them that the tournament is a whole new season,” said Alvelo. “We have used the whole season, basically, as a practice for the tournament.”
Using solid court coverage and effective passing, Valley's strong net play provided the difference in the victory. Courtnie Merritt had 11 kills, five blocks, seven digs and two aces, and Jordan Arbaugh had nine kills, 13 digs, a block and two aces.
The win is the third straight sectional title for the Lady Indians.
“Coach always says ‘Tournament time is a new season, and you have to come out wanting it, because it is one game and you are out,'” said Merritt. “It is very important to come out playing like it is your last game every game. It is a whole new level of intensity and you have to have heart, determination and will.”
Megan Spriggs added four kills, four digs and an ace for the Lady Indians, and Brittany Hoover had four kills, seven digs and a block. Rounding out the scoring was Brittany Coleman with 10 digs and three kills and Cassie Holcomb with 16 assists.
Valley will now move on to play South Webster in a district semifinal at Wellston on Thursday. The game is scheduled to start 30 minutes after the completion of the Clay-Symmes Valley semifinal, which will start at 6 p.m. Both the Lady Panthers and Lady Vikings were victorious on Thursday.
The matchup will be the third of the year for the Lady Indians and South Webster after splitting the season series.
“I am looking forward to playing South Webster,” said Alvelo. “The first match, I heard some people say Valley was off and South Webster was on. In the second match, everybody said Valley was on and South Webster was off. It is going to be a good matchup.”
Kelsey Sewards, subbing for Notre Dame coach Nancy Russell, was pleased with the Lady Titans' performance.
“I think we did really well,” she said. “We came out excited, but things started going wrong and we kind of put our heads down. But, we never gave up and I was really proud of them for that.”
Records - Valley 14-5, Notre Dame 7-13.