Despite a close first set, the Notre Dame Lady Titans played very well down the stretch in route to a 3-0 straight set victory over Paint Valley Saturday evening to win the district championship and advance to next week’s regional semifinals in Lancaster Wednesday night.
“With our semifinal being on Thursday, we really only had one day to prepare for who we would play today” said Notre Dame head coach Kelsey Glockner following their win over Paint Valley, “After watching them on Thursday where they served 21 aces in their match, they did lots of great things defensively. We got into the gym and started focusing on breaking down our serve-receive patterns and what offense we could pull out of those. The girls came in tonight, knowing the scouting report, were really able to execute and do very well with that tonight.”
The first set would end up being the closest set of the night and really set the tone for the rest of the match moving forward. Both teams would go back and forth before Paint Valley took the first timeout of the set as the Lady Titans led 16-14 and rally to tie up the set at 19-19. In the later stages of the set, the Lady Bearcats took a 23-22 lead which forced Glockner to use her second timeout of the set. Just as they have for most of the season, Notre Dame answered following their minute to regroup by scoring the final three points of the set to win the first set 25-23 and take a 1-0 match lead.
Notre Dame would carry that momentum over from the first set into the beginning of the second when they would score the first five set points and eventually extending their lead to 13-5. The Lady Titans showed no complacency and continued to score at an exceedingly high pace, going on to win the second set 25-13 in what would be the largest margin of victory for Notre Dame on the night.
With a 2-0 match advantage heading into the third set, the Lady Titans wouldn’t let off the gas even for a second. Leading by scores of 13-7 and 18-15 as the set developed, Notre Dame would carry their lead forward to win the third and final set decisively by a final score of 25-19 to take home the district championship after their straight set victory.
Senior hitter Katie Dettwiller had a team high fifteen kills while fellow senior Clara Hash was second on the team with ten kills. Dettwiller also led the Lady Titans with a team high five blocks. Junior libero Joyce Zheng led Notre Dame in digs with sixteen and service receptions with nine. Junior setter Cassie Schaefer led the Lady Titans with a team high 27 assists.
Notre Dame advances to the regional semifinals in Lancaster next Wednesday night where they will face Fort Frye at 6:00 p.m. prior to the other district semifinal match between Clay and Fairfield Christian.
“We’ve had our ups and downs with Lancaster” said Glockner when discussing her teams’ history in the regional tournament, “Lots of ups, but also lots of downs. You always question whether it’s harder to lose in the semifinals knowing you could have gone, or is it great to get in the final and lose there but know that you made it there? We’ve definitely had our ups and downs in Lancaster, but we’re super proud that we get to make it back there and we’re looking forward to facing Fort Frye on Wednesday and getting back in the gym to prepare for that, and hoping to show up and continue our semifinal love for Lancaster.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT