“They’re in a groove, that’s the hardest thing to stop,” Minford coach Todd Cron said. “They just play with such tenacity and intensity, and it’s hard to match for one point let alone all game.”
The Lady Indians took control from the first point and never looked back. The first set they allowed only seven points while needing only four servers of their own to reach 25 points.
Valley’s Megan Spriggs served for nine points, McKenzie Coriell had six points (three aces), Lauren Wolford served three points (one ace) and Jordan Arbaugh added an ace from the line and seven kills at the net in set one.
“They came out and played their best tonight and that shows how bad they want this,” Valley coach Megan Artrip said.
The next set was more of the same for the Lady Indians, but this time Shelby Ellis and Kirsten Setty did the damage. Ellis tallied eight points and three aces while Setty added three of her own.
Minford’s offense picked up in the second set as the team posted five kills, assisted by Courtney Spriggs. Unfortunately for the Lady Falcons, Valley’s defense stepped up with 12 digs, led by Coriell with three.
“Our defense moved better than it has all year,” Artrip said. “Usually our offense sets the tempo but tonight our defense was amazing.”
The second set went to Valley 25-13 as the SOC II champions gained a 2-0 advantage. The Lady Indians capitalized on their momentum to begin the third and final set, jumping out to a 15-5 lead.
Again Valley’s defense put on a show allowing just 11 points in the set.
“Got to give our hats off to Valley, they did what they have done all year,” Cron said. “They bring it on every point and if you give an inch they come back and take a foot from you.They don’t like giving points away and that’s why they’re league champs.”
Valley’s setter Lauren Dunn collected seven of her 26 assists while distributing the ball to Arbaugh, Wolford and Spriggs— who had 14, eight and five kills respectively on the night.
The Lady Indians move on to the Division III district finals to face defending state champion Alexander on Saturday.
“We’ve got two more hard days of practice and we’ll see what can give them,” Artrip said.
The match was the last for Minford’s seniors Jordan Henson and Tiffany Rowland.
“I applaud the seniors for their effort,” Cron said. “Their leadership and confidence will be missed.”
The final will be at Athens High School and will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. as Valley has the second match—the first match will be Wheelersburg vs. North Adams at 4 p.m.
Records – Valley 20-2, Minford 8-15
ALI KEATON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org