ATHENS - There was only one set left in their high school careers - unless they found a way to win.
After falling to top-seeded Adena 25-5, 25-13 in the first two sets and trailing 4-0 in the third, Minford's two seniors knew what had to be done, and they did their best.
Seniors Kelcie Coburn and Emily Donahoe, junior Kelli Martin and the rest of the Lady Falcons, stepped up in the third set as Minford took the lead 5-4 and held it until the Lady Warriors went ahead 19-18. Coburn put the Lady Falcons ahead again 21-20 before Adena ran off four-straight points.
On match point with Donahoe serving Minford got as close as one point before Adena's Kelsey Bielanow emphatically ended the district semifinal match 25-23.
“I guess the true benchmark of how good (we) can be was taking Adena in that final game 25-23 and having the lead the entire game,” Minford coach Todd Cron said. “We did the things we needed to do in that third game that we didn't do in the first two games. I told the girls we can block that team and we can dig that team and if we believe in that we can do that. We just weren't doing that the first two games. It's unfortunate we took two games to wake up.”
The first game was a showcase for Adena as junior Ashley Jordan dominated the net while teammate Brook Snyder served multiple aces. Minford's first point in the game made the score 16-1.
The second game was a little easier on the Lady Falcons as they stayed in contention for a while. The Lady Warriors net play though continued to shine while Minford's defense struggled to block and dig.
Despite the loss, Minford finished the season with a winning record of 12-11 and won a sectional championship. Not to bad for a team with just two seniors.
“It was good for us but our goals were a little bit higher,” Cron said of the season. “You have to give tons of credit to Adena. They bring a game that you don't see down in the SOC very often.”
Cron said he was pleased with the way his team raised the bar in the third game, especially his upperclassmen.
“Kelcie (Coburn) played up and Emily (Donahoe) played up to what we needed to do,” he said. “Again, the juniors played up to what we needed to do but we just didn't do it in the first two games. I want to thank my two seniors for a great season. They gave me everything they had and we're just looking forward to next season.”
Coburn led the Lady Falcons in kills with 10 and had eight blocks and 11 digs. Rachel Jarvis had three kills and four blocks. Martin had 10 assists, two blocks, and three aces. Jacklyn Brisker had 29 digs, three kills and five blocks.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org