Jeeps sweep Meigs, win another district


WAVERLY — The drive for 25 now complete, the South Webster Jeeps’ journey back to the state volleyball tournament takes on obvious added pressure —but more importantly added value.

That’s because the top-seeded Jeeps, after expectantly sweeping the overwhelming underdog Meigs Marauders on Saturday in a Division III Southeast District championship match at Waverly High School, are now a perfect 25-0 —still having lost only six sets all season.

The latest win was a 25-18, 25-15 and 25-10 sweep of the 18th-seeded Marauders (14-12), following the Jeeps’ three-set sweep of Alexander in the district semifinal.

The district championship was South Webster’s fifth consecutive —and second straight at the Division III level, following three in a row in Division IV, which included the 2021 Region 15 championship.

South Webster has also won district titles in 2002, 2008 and 2016 —but this season marked the first undefeated in school history, as the Jeeps went a perfect 22-0.

Twice has South Webster went the five full sets —at Notre Dame a month ago and at Adena on August 26, in only their second match of the season.

The others were the second set in the season opener against Wheelersburg on August 22, and the opening set at Trimble two months later on Sept. 23.

In winning this district championship — which was the fourth for seniors Skylar Zimmerman and Bella Claxon at the varsity level and now for fellow senior Maryn Smith — SWHS veteran head coach Darcee Claxon commented on its special importance.

“This is something that these girls work hard for, and it’s not something they just do starting on August 1. We put in the work in the offseason, they play club volleyball, they are in the weightroom all summer long going through the workouts. I am super proud of them for all of their dedication,” said the coach. “Bella (Claxon) and Sky (Zimmerman) have been doing this for years now, and Maryn (Smith) has really stepped up this year. She knows her role and she fills that role. To be a great team, you have to have ‘team’ players. People that don’t care if they get the glory, but they are going to show up and fill their roles. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful. It’s about winning as a team. I’m glad and grateful that we have that culture and atmosphere.”

Indeed, with each and every win, from point to set to match, it’s supposed to be more challenging, but these Jeeps have made it look easy at times.

Against Meigs, the Jeeps somewhat started slow in the opening set —trailing 1-0 and 3-2, and being tied 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3.

From that juncture onward, the Jeeps never trailed again —in any of the three sets.

“We couldn’t come in here and mess around today. Meigs was really athletic and I don’t think their record really spoke to their athleticism. And they were senior-heavy. We just talked about keeping our energy up, executing our gameplan especially on the serve and controlling the tempo,” said Coach Claxon. “We got it together, because we are in charge of creating our own energy. We did as the match went on.”

Bella Claxon, the District 14 Coaches Association Player of the Year, was especially on point —as usual stuffing the stat sheet.

Of the Jeeps’ 38 kills against Meigs, she put down a match-high 10.

She and Lauren Kaltenbach combined for six of the squad’s nine aces —with three apiece.

Defensively, she dug for a team-high 15 of the club’s 52 digs, and offensively set for a match-high 24 assists.

For the season, Claxon has amassed a massive 278 kills (first on team), 84 service aces (first on team) and 286 digs (second on team behind libero Addi Claxon with 385) — and an otherworldly 550 assists as the team setter.

Other impressive individual statistics include over 150 kills apiece by middle blocker Mia Crum (189), Zimmerman (164) and Makayla Raynard (153), and six Jeeps with at least 30 aces.

Addi Claxon is second with 54, and Zimmerman is next with 41.

The five-foot and nine-inch Crum leads in blocks with 54 total, and Zimmerman is third in digs with 210.

But for all those individual stats, it’s not about the South Webster self-spotlight.

It’s about a journey, for them, to hopefully return to the state tournament —as the Jeeps’ November to hopefully remember is just indeed revving up.

Claxon continued, claiming she “will bet on the Jeeps every day and twice on Sunday.”

“Looking forward to the competition. That’s what it’s about at this level,” she said. “Adena is good, we are good. See what happens.”

On Thursday night, the Jeeps defeated Adena 26-28, 25-20, 25-11 and 25-19 to win a Division III Region 11 semifinal at Logan High School’s Jim Myers Gymnasium.

South Webster, in its first week of the season on August 26, rallied from losing the opening two sets to defeat the host Warriors in five games.

With Thursday’s night win, South Webster remained undefeated at 26-0 — and punched its Elite Eight ticket to Logan High School on Saturday.

That’s because, in the Region 11 championship match, the Jeeps will face Meadowbrook —as the 22-5 Colts are the defending Region 11 champion.

In fact, they defeated South Webster in the regional semifinal —snapping the Jeeps’ streak of back-to-back regional final appearances.

Meadowbrook returned to the regional final —following its 16-25, 25-12, 25-19 and 25-10 semifinal triumph over Nelsonville-York.

First serve is set for 3 p.m.

A complete South Webster regional semifinal report — along with photographs — will appear online at

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on X @paulboggssports © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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