TIPP CITY – Tri-Village got better as Thursday’s match wore on, but the Lady Patriots couldn’t keep up with Lehman Catholic as the Cavaliers swept the Patriots 25-6, 25-7, 25-13.
Tri-Village coach Eric Burkhart said he thought his team did very well in its Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament opener against Lehman, who is ranked seventh in the state by the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association.
“We did very well,” Burkhart said. “We started off a little slow, but we picked it up and made some adjustments, which I think helped.”
It was all Lehman in the opening set as the Cavaliers scored the first four points and never relinquished the lead, easily winning the game 25-6.
Tri-Village’s only lead of the match came in the second set as the Patriots scored the first point of the game. Tri-Village also tied the game at 2-2 before Lehman started to pull away and won 25-7 to go up two games to none in the best-of-five match.
The Patriots’ best game of the night came in the third set. After Lehman jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Tri-Village scored three consecutive points to tie the game. Lehman again jumped ahead with two more points, but Tri-Village once again fought back and tied the game at 5-5.
“We just kind of settled down, and we played like we were supposed to play and played as a team,” Burkhart said. “I think they were a little nervous coming in since it’s a young team, a lot of first-year players, only a handful of second-year players. So it’s a good experience for them.”
From the 5-5 tie Lehman scored the next four points to take the lead back, a lead it never gave up. Tri-Village continued to play well, though, and scored eight of the final 24 points as Lehman secured the 25-13 victory to sweep the match.
“Finally in that third game we was able to start getting some blocks on them,” Burkhart said. “But No. 8 (Sidney Chapman), she’s a powerhouse. I don’t think anybody can stop her.”
The loss ended Tri-Village’s season with a 7-16 record. The Patriots, who had no seniors on their team, won their final three regular season matches and feel good about the direction the program is heading.
“We pulled out three wins that last week to end up at 7-15 for the regular season,” Burkhart said. “So we’ll just take that momentum and keep going forward.”