What a week for Wheelersburg volleyball. The Pirates, along with Minford, have been the top of the race in the SOC II picture this season.
Their week began last Saturday when Wheelersburg hosted a tri-match with opponents North Adams and Portsmouth coming to play in an event in which all proceeds went go to the SOMC Cancer Center. “One of my parents came to me” said Pirates head coach Allen Perry, “We had a parent going through breast cancer, found out at the beginning of the season. They came to me and asked, ‘Would you want to do something like this?’ And I’ve been involved with events like this in the past. But I haven’t had to do a thing, all the credit goes to our parents.”
The Pirates dropped the first set against North Adams before rallying to win the final two sets (26-28, 25-13, 25-13). In their second match, they were able to defeat the Trojans in two sets (25-9, 25-10). But the results for Saturday’s match were secondary compared to the good events like this do in support of local breast cancer awareness.
All three teams were given custom shirts that they wore during their matches that had their regular number on the back while on the front it read “(Team mascot) spike out cancer”.
On Sunday, when the brackets for the upcoming district tournaments were announced, Coach Perry and his team found themselves ranked as the number one seed in the Waverly 1 district tournament for the Division III Southeast District. Just two days later, on Tuesday, Wheelersburg defeated Portsmouth West, officially clinching the outright SOC II title.
A pretty good week for Perry and his team turned into a great week following their match with Notre Dame Wednesday night on the Titans home court. Both sides had strong support in a raucous environment, but Wheelersburg ultimately claimed the victory in three sets (25-16, 25-22, 25-20). The environment for this contest was one of those that you had to be in attendance for to capture the scope of what it meant to both teams.
The first set remained a very back and forth affair at which point Perry took the first timeout of the match with his team leading 16-14. Whatever he told his team following their timeout must have worked as Wheelersburg went on to close out that first set to the tune of a 9-2 run to win the set, 25-16.
The closest of the three sets on the night would be the second as Notre Dame was able to generate some points from the service line by forcing the Pirates to make defensive mistakes. Although the set remained close throughout, the Titans were never able to overtake the small deficit they faced, ultimately falling by a score of 25-22.
Even though things seemed bleak while facing a 2-0 match deficit, Titans head coach Kelsey Glockner and her team never backed down. Glockner’s team was able to jump out on Wheelersburg to the tune of an 11-4 set lead before forcing Perry to use a timeout to try and rally his team. To the Pirates credit, they were able to answer the call and proceeded to go on an 8-3 run, narrowing the gap to just two at 14-12 which forced Glockner to use her first timeout of the set. Ultimately, Wheelersburg outscored the Titans 13-6 to close out the final set resulting in a set victory at 25-20 and a match victory at 3-0.
This victory for Perry’s Pirates marks the first time that Wheelersburg has defeated Notre Dame since they began play in this yearly series six years ago.
“What an honor it is to be sitting here in this gym, playing against Coach Glockner,” said Perry following his team’s three set victory at Notre Dame Wednesday night, “I think she’s the best coach here in Southern Ohio. I just feel very fortunate. That first set we came out, the girls were ready to play. They said, ‘We haven’t beaten Notre Dame in five years, we want to beat them before we graduate.’ The second set we struggled a little bit because Coach (Glockner) made adjustments, then we had to make some adjustments to try and adapt to what she was trying to do.”
The Pirates open up district play against West Union on Tuesday October 16th at 6:00 p.m. in Wheelersburg.
Second seeded Notre Dame will open up district play in the Division IV southeast district tournament on Thursday October 18th at 6:00 p.m. where they will face the winner of Valley and Green on their home court.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT