LOGAN — The South Webster Lady Jeeps volleyball team battled during Thursday’s Division III, Region 11 semifinal versus Byesville Meadowbrook.
Unfortunately for the Lady Jeeps, the eventual regional champion Colts proved too much, earning their spot in Saturday’s Region 11 final with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-22) victory.
In each of the first and third sets, which were decided by a combined five points, there were eight ties and three lead changes between SW and Meadowbrook.
South Webster rallied to pull within five in set two — after trailing 24-15 — but were ultimately unable to narrow the gap.
“I think that they showed a lot of grit and perserverance out there. I’m really proud of them,” SW coach Darcee Claxon said, after the game. “That second set was rough at times, they had a pretty big lead on us. But they didn’t quit, they didn’t give up.”
The Lady Jeeps saw juniors Bella Claxon (eight) and Skylar Zimmerman (seven) combine for 15 of their team’s 26 kills during the contest.
South Webster continued in its’ excellent serving throughout, totaling 11 ace serves for Lady Jeep points. Claxon led SW with a team-high six aces, as well as 18 assists.
Freshman Addison Claxon had a team-high 15 digs defensively. Sophomore Lauren Kaltenbach and Makayla Raynard each had 12 digs.
The Colts win snapped a 22-game winning streak for the Lady Jeeps.
Meadowbrook, led by seven seniors, went on to defeat Adena 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-13) in the Region 11 final, two days after their regional semis victory.
“You could see experience, leadership, and there was a definite size advantage that played in their favor. But the girls continued to battle.”
South Webster (23-3) will graduate two seniors from this year’s team in Natalie Adkins and Riley Raynard.
The pair were key players during this year’s district and SOC II co-championship team, as well as four-time district champions and contributors in the program’s first regional championship in 2021.
“Really proud of them, sticking with it and being our leaders out there,” Claxon said. “We talked about Natalie, she made the comment in 8th grade that she didn’t know if she could play for me because she was intimidated of me. I don’t know if she spoke a whole sentence her freshman year. The growth I’ve seen from her and Riley. She’s (Raynard) been outsized her whole year, but she’s worked on hitting shots. She did her job, got big kills for us in big moments in games and she did what I asked her to do and worked her butt off. That’s what South Webster volleyball is — you come in and work hard, and you’re apart of something special.”
While those are key losses, the Lady Jeeps return 10 of their 12 players from their varsity roster entering next fall.
“They’re more seasoned,” Claxon said. “Skylar and Bella have a lot of experience, our other girls have big game experience now. They’re going to have to really find some grit and determination. Natalie was our biggest girl, and we don’t have anybody coming up that’s big either. Defense, serving, we’re going to have to keep improving and refining those areas.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved