WAVERLY — The Pirates dug an early hole Saturday, and despite their best efforts at a comeback attempt, Wheelersburg fell just shy of a district championship, losing in four sets to Chillicothe Southeastern in a Division III District Final match.
The top-seeded Pirates were lead by Makayla Akers who had 22 kills. Kasey Bergan also has a strong performance for Wheelersburg with nine kills and 13 digs. Defensively, Ellie Ruby led the Pirates with 17 digs.
After losing back-to-back sets, Wheelersburg battled back to win the third set 25-22. In the fourth set, the Pirates trailed 17-8, however, a 14-8 run shifted the momentum, but Wheelersburg never could regain the lead.
“We started off slow,” Pirates head coach Kendra Coleman said. “That usually happens with an hour drive in the middle of a Saturday. But I do think we answered back in that third game. I was really proud of them. They played with a lot of heart. They played with a lot of fire and I was proud of them because they could’ve just folded and gave up that third game, but they stuck with it.
“If a few more plays would have went our way in that fourth game, we would have had that fourth one too.”
Despite being down in the forth set and on the verge of losing the match, the Pirates used their grit to make Southeastern earn every point.
“I just looked at them and said, ‘find a way. We’ve got to find a way,’” Coleman said. “We made some mistakes that we probably shouldn’t have made tonight. We knew coming in we needed to set the tempo. We knew coming in we needed to mess up their offense by serving aggressively and at times the plan went through, but sometimes we kind of set back a little bit.
“But they just bounced back and I kept telling them to find a way, whatever it takes. That last set I thought it was going to happen but unfortunately it wasn’t our day today.”
Wheelersburg loses Akers, Bergan, Bailey Bowen, Samantha Vallance, Tori Wright, Alyssa Emnett and Taylor McQuay to graduation.
“I’m so very proud of my seniors, there’s seven of them,” Coleman said. “They have meant the world to me because it’s the first time I’ve ever had seven seniors go through the program. They’re a great bunch of girls and they mean more to me than they’ll ever know. They’ve stuck with the program and they love volleyball, and they’ve been great assets to it as well.”
Southeastern def. Wheelersburg 25-18,25-9,22-25,25-22