The Pirates proved throughout the season that rebuilding might not take as long. The campaign ended Wednesday night as no. 3 Wheelersburg (12-11) was swept by no. 2 Chillicothe Huntington (15-7) in a Division III Southeast District Semifinal at Athens High School.
“Inconsistency, especially at the beginning I think,” Pirates coach Mary Grace Smith said. “We just couldn’t pick up the balls in the middle of the court.
“We talked about it three different times and it just didn’t happen for us until probably halfway through the second (set). I think that was just our major setback, that and probably the miscommunication.”
The Huntsmen advance to Saturday’s district championship where they will take on top-seeded Nelsonville-York (17-3), which swept no. 4 Northwest (12-9) in the evening’s first semifinal.
Wheelersburg’s best chance of taking a set away from Huntington came in the third frame. The Pirates held a 10-7 lead before Paige Danner ripped off six-straight service points for the Huntsmen and put the Pirates into a whole they could not climb out of.
“We’ve done this all season where we would pick (the energy and enthusiasm) up (then) we would have a couple of mental mistakes and we’d fall back,” Smith said. “Then we would fight back, we’ve been fighters all season so I have to commend them on that.”
Bree Miller recored 27 assists and Erica Schmidt recorded 12 kills in the final high school match for both seniors. Along with Ciara Coriell (five blocks), Smith will have a hard time replacing the trio.
“They’ve been great leaders, especially in practice,” Smith said. “Just kinda help guiding the younger girls and just trying to teach them and kinda showing them the ropes.
“All three of my seniors are fabulous girls, on and off the court. They’re great students, great kids all around, they’ve just been great role models through everything.”
Fay Proehl had seven points and Maggie Stegman added seven kills in the effort.
CODY LEIST can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 242 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wheelersburg — 17 19 17
Chillicothe Huntington — 25 25 25