TIPP CITY – Mississinawa Valley lost three straight games to Lehman Catholic 25-9, 25-11 and 25-14 in the opening round of the Division IV Ohio High School Athletic Association volleyball sectional tournament.
“We came out with a deer in the headlights look and sort of froze in that first game,” Mississinawa Valley coach Billie Hunt said.
“We knew coming in they were pretty good and worked hard on preparing to block the ball … but it’s hard to practice when you really don’t have anyone who can simulate that,” Hunt said.
“No. 8 (Sidney Chapman) was hitting the ball anywhere she wanted, down the line, cross court and straight down. That was difficult for us to overcome tonight,” Hunt added.
The Hawks improved each game but still played on their heels. On this night it was clear Lehman was a very seasoned and skilled team.
“Our experience was lacking as I only had three players with any tournament experience while also playing a freshman and sophomore, and we were a little overwhelmed,” Hunt said.
Mississinawa’s season ended with the loss, and the Hawks will be saying goodbye to two seniors, Leslie Dirksen and Kasey Hummel.
“Leslie Dirksen came out being a team leader and took the team under her wings, and she had fun with them, joked with them, supported and helped them when they needed it, and that was a real pleasant surprise,” Hunt said.
“Kasey Hummel was very important to this team that was lacking in size. I told her I needed her to pick up where she left off last year. She’s got those long arms, and I needed her out there blocking the ball. She is able get those arms in places most can’t. Sometimes I don’t know how she even gets her hand on the ball, but she does, and that’s what we needed,” Hunt said.
“Our two seniors put a lot of effort and work in over the years, and I thank them for that, and we will miss them. It’s always hard to see your seniors move on,” Hunt said.
The future is bright for Mississinawa Valley with seven juniors, a couple of sophomores and freshman.
“We have a lot of talent coming up, my juniors … well I can’t say enough about them,” Hunt said.
“Spencer Warren is my libero, and she can go in and do anything that I ask of her. She didn’t have her best game tonight, but she can pass like no one I’ve ever seen at Mississinawa before,” Hunt said.
“Mikayla Stump will do anything the team needs. I tell her to get a block … but coach I can hardly get over the net … but she will get in there and get a hand on the ball and willing to help out the team anyway she can,” Hunt said.
“Kelsie Hunt, I never thought I would see her hit the ball way she hit it this year. She put a lot of work in this summer, and if she does that again next summer, whoa, it should be fun to watch,” Hunt said.
“We put a lot of time into the gym, and if we can get the team putting in more time in the summer we can be a really good team,” Hunt said.
“I want to get Sidnie Hunt working on a jump serve, and Makenna Price has been getting better with her timing, and for a small girl she can really jump and is hitting the ball well from the backline,” Hunt continued.
“We have potential. Freshman Olivia Murphy, even though she didn’t get a lot varsity time, but if I need her she will do it,” Hunt said.
“Amanda Armstrong has gotten better. Last year I wasn’t real sure what I was going to do with her … but she has improved, and if she works on her timing and jumping and reacts to the ball she can be really good,” Hunt added.
“I’m sure I left some kids out … but they are all important to this team, and if we commit ourselves this summer to getting better, the future is bright for Mississinawa volleyball,” Hunt concluded.