PORTSMOUTH — Simply put, and although it wasn’t unexpected on Monday evening, the Notre Dame Titans took their first step towards what they hope is a long tournament trail — winding all the way in Division IV to the state showcase at Wright State University.
The second-seeded Titans, the now eight-time Southern Ohio Conference Division I champion, easily swept visiting Manchester —winning 25-16, 25-11 and 25-7 in a volleyball sectional semifinal at Notre Dame High School.
The Titans are now 19-4, and return home on Wednesday night —for the Division IV sectional championship against seventh-seeded Symmes Valley.
The Vikings, in another sectional semifinal against 10th-seeded Green on Monday, dropped the opening set 25-23 —but then rallied for 25-20, 25-19 and 25-20 triumphs in the final three games for the win.
Notre Dame, in going a perfect 12-0 once again in the SOC I, swept Symmes Valley in the regular season — as part of that league play.
The Titans’ only losses, in fact, were to larger schools —three Division II programs (Miami Trace, Logan Elm and Gallia Academy), and a five-set road setback at Division III South Webster.
That’s important to note about the Jeeps, as South Webster won the Division IV regional championship last season —but moved up to the Division III level for this year.
Theoretically, that makes Notre Dame’s path to the Region 15 tournament much easier —although the Vikings do stand in their way as the next foe.
Against Manchester, of the eight Titans to play, senior Annie Dettwiller delivered a double-double of 14 kills and 13 digs — along with four ace serves.
Bree Hicks had three aces — as Katie Strickland, Gracie Ashley, Gwen Sparks, Maddie Entler and libero Mallory Boland all chipped in one.
Strickland struck with 10 kills, followed by seven apiece from Hicks and Ashley.
Sparks and Entler added two kills each, and Maycee Ford finished with one.
The Titans also got defensive against the Greyhounds —with Boland amassing 19 digs, Hicks 14, Entler 10, Ashley seven, Sparks five and Strickland three.
First serve on Wednesday for the Division IV sectional championship match is set for 6 p.m.
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