JACKSON – Notre Dame was seemingly undeterred in their bid for a fourth consecutive volleyball district championship.
Even when their opponent, Racine Southern, began the first set with a 10-6 lead over the Titans and also made a late run to try and take the third set over the Titans, Notre Dame remained focused on the task at hand.
With that focus, as well as the excellent play the Titans have exhibited thus far in the postseason, comes the program’s fourth consecutive district title in a 3-0 win (25-16, 25-11, 25-23) over Southern in the finals of the Jackson #2 District.
“We started out shaky in the first and second set,” Notre Dame coach Cassidy Roney said following the win. “But we ended up settling in and getting into the groove of the game. And then in the third set we start out really good, they go on a little bit of a serving run. But other than those few instances, I’m really proud of the way they played and the effort they gave. They really came out strong, ready to play and ready to win.”
As mentioned above, Notre Dame opened the first set trailing Southern 10-6. From that point on, the Titans closed the set on a 19-6 run to open the match with a 1-0 lead.
Set two was more of the same. Notre Dame jumped out to an early lead and coasted to take the set by a 25-11 margin.
Set three proved to be more of a test than the prior two. However, in the end, with a match point lead at 24-23, Notre Dame took the match’s final point to take the match in a 3-0 sweep.
“Volleyball is a game of momentum,” Roney said. “Whenever you can go on a run like we did in that first set, you can usually end up winning the set because your energy and play is infectous, and it effects the other team if you’re able to keep performing well.”
Notre Dame was led offensively in Saturday’s win by Taylor Schmidt who finished with a team-high nine kills and two service aces. Schmidt also added 22 digs defensively in Saturday’s win.
Sophia Hassel added seven kills and 22 digs while Ava Hassel added four kills, four assists, four service aces, one block, and 15 digs. Senior setter Cassie Schaefer finished with a game-high 21 assists alongside four kills. Senior Libero Joyce Zheng finished with 16 digs in the Titans win over Southern.
Claire Dettwiller added three kills while Chloe Delabar added three blocks.
“These girls have worked incredibly hard, especially our seniors,” Roney continued. “There’s six of them, so for this to be their fourth straight district title, that’s not something a lot of teams can say. That just shows in itself what they’ve been able to accomplish. And it’s not just the seniors; every single player on this team comes in day in and day out and works as hard as they can.”
The Titans advances to Thursday’s Division IV regional tournament at Bloom Carroll High School in Carroll, Ohio. In their fourth straight trip to the regional semifinals, Notre Dame will take on Newark Catholic, 3-0 winners (25-19, 25-17, 26-24) over Delaware Christian in the Worthington #1 District.
“Since it is their fourth straight district title, they have some experience at the regional level,” Roney said of the Titans upcoming regional tournament run. “I’m hoping that helps calm our nerves heading into next week. I think that if we come out this week and work really hard in practice, come out Thursday like we did this week, then we can still accomplish everything we wanted to heading into this year.”
Notre Dame’s regional semifinal contest with Newark Catholic will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, October 31st at Bloom Carroll HS.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved