McDERMOTT — Whatever Northwest did right in Wednesday’s opening set, the host Mohawks should have quickly bottled it up —and sold between games.
That’s because, unfortunately for them for the remainder of the match, it was a Christmas-like give away of giveaways.
Simply put, sixth-seeded Northwest made way too many unforced errors over the final three games and seventh-seeded Zane Trace took full advantage — as the Pioneers put an early end to the Mohawks’ tournament trail with a 9-25, 25-16, 26-24 and 25-19 triumph in a Division III volleyball district semifinal.
While the Mohawks fell to 18-4, what doomed them in defeats against Wheelersburg twice and South Webster once was the same miscues that plagued them again against the Pioneers.
Whether hitting, ball-handling or serving, Northwest was its own worst enemy in making too many mistakes.
Eventually, late in the fourth game, the Pioneers put down some kills —erasing in fact an 18-15 deficit by scoring 10 of the final 11 points to capture the win.
Zane Trace, a member of the strong Scioto Valley Conference, raised its record to 18-6 —and advanced to face top-seeded and SVC champion Adena, whom the Pioneers split with in the regular season.
For both teams, it was quite the turnaround from the opening game —in which Northwest led wire-to-wire and senior outside hitter Haidyn Wamsley was on fire.
So much so that she racked up a dozen of her match-high 25 kills in the first game, as she also stuffed the stat sheet for eight blocks, 11 digs, six serve receptions and an ace.
But the Pioneers never trailed in the second game, and even opened up a lead as large as 21-10 before going on to win 25-16.
The third and fourth games, though, were where the Mohawks’ mistakes were magnified.
“Just too many unforced errors. Serve-receive really hurt us. We weren’t able to get passes up to run our offense,” said Northwest coach Elizabeth Lewis. “Then we weren’t able to hold it together tonight to finish and they did. We made more mistakes than they did.”
In the third game, the Mohawks held five-point leads of 13-8, 15-10 and 16-11 —but six consecutive Pioneer points put the guests ahead 17-16 for Zane Trace’s initial set lead.
There were seven set ties — including at 21-21, 22-22 and finally 24-24 — as a Wamsley kill put Northwest in front 21-19, before the Pioneers won five of the next six to reach match point at 24-22.
An Ava Jenkins kill combined with Wamsley’s spike tied it at 24-24, but Zane Trace tallied two kills to end it — including one by Gracie McCullough.
In a hotly-contested fourth game, the Pioneers raced out to a 4-0 lead, only to see the Mohawks muster four in a row to tie it —the first of deadlocks at 4-4, 5-5, 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, 13-13 and 14-14.
Northwest’s Audrey Knittel, who along with Valerie Copas notched seven kills apiece, collected one for an 18-15 Mohawk lead —but the Pioneers put together kills or blocks on eight of their final 10 points, with back-to-back Northwest attack errors as part of that stretch.
Emily Allen, with an emphatic block and kill, amassed Zane Trace’s two match-clinching points.
Allen ended up with five blocks, as Lexi Scott paced the Pioneers with 14 kills.
Alli Bennett netted nine kills and 11 assists, as Kinley May set for 16 assists.
For the Mohawks, Reagan Lewis set for 41 assists — and added two kills, three blocks and seven digs.
Jenkins led in digs with 13, as she and Kloe Montgomery had a block apiece —with Copas recording a dozen service receptions.
Terah Webb was the leader in that category with 14, as she and Copas had six digs apiece —while libero Lydia Emmons added eight digs and eight service receptions to trail Jenkins’ nine.
It was the final tournament tilt for five Northwest seniors: Wamsley, Copas, Emmons, Webb and Tayler Butler.
“They’re a great group that is the heart and soul of our team and are definitely going to be missed next year. Haidyn Wamsley is a solid six-rotation offensive player,” said Lewis. “On and off the court, they are great all-around kids.”
Northwest still has two Southern Ohio Conference Division II matches remaining — including at league co-leader South Webster for a makeup matchup on Tuesday.
The Mohawks have one more home affair as well —against Waverly in an SOC II makeup encounter on Monday.
“We’ll come out next week playing and giving it their all,” said Lewis. “The seniors definitely want to finish their last year.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved