KETTERING – Versailles won the first set Wednesday evening, but Newark Catholic proved to be too much for the Tigers as they lost in four sets to end their season in the regional semifinals.
The regional tournament match between Versailles and Newark Catholic, who is ranked sixth in the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association Division III state rankings, was close throughout with the Green Wave ultimately winning 16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22.
“They were persistent, and they were frustrating,” Versailles volleyball coach Karla Frilling said of Newark Catholic. “We knew that going in. They’re a disciplined team. I mean you saw their hitters out there. They’re used to rallying against that style of competition in practice every day, day in and day out. So they know how to keep a ball alive and how to reset and still get a good attack, and they did that, and they did that well. They were frustrating to go up against. I thought my girls did a nice job, too. We picked up some ball tonight that we haven’t dug in a while.”
The first set was back and forth with neither team building more than a two-point advantage early, which led to eight ties including one as late as 11-11. But from there Versailles went on a 14-5 run to close out the opening set and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five match.
“We came out, and I thought we played pretty strong,” Frilling said. “We just had to believe that we could do it, and I thought we had a nice start to the night.”
In the second set Newark Catholic took an early lead as the Green Wave scored nine of the first 13 points. Versailles battled back, though, and tied the game at 9-9 with a 5-0 run.
After Newark Catholic again took the lead, Versailles again battled back and tied the game at 20-20. But the Green Wave scored the final five points of the set and won 25-20 to tie the match at 1-1.
“We always talk about scoring in bunches, and we did that well in the first game on top of some of the errors they also made that they didn’t make in the next three,” Frilling said.
The third game again was closely contested throughout with nine ties this time. A 17-17 tie led to an 18-18 tie and a 20-20 tie. But again Newark Catholic was just a little stronger at the end of the game and won 25-22 to go up two games to one in the match.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” Frilling said. “We pushed them, they pushed us back, and that’s what got us so many ties.”
The trend continued in the fourth game with neither team giving much ground, leading to 10 more ties in the set. From a 17-17 score Versailles went up 18-17, but Newark Catholic evened the score at 18-18. The Green Wave then went up 19-18 before Versailles tied it at 19-all. But then Newark Catholic took a lead it didn’t surrender, winning the game 25-22 and the match 3-1.
“I can’t remember how many times I looked at the scoreboard it was 17-all and we just didn’t use the opportunity to push it 20,” Frilling said. “Twenty seems to be that magic number, and unfortunately we just didn’t get there soon enough.”
With Wednesday’s loss in the Ohio High School Athletic Association regional tournament Versailles ended its season with a 15-12 record.
“I am proud of them and what they did, especially because we did make so many changes and a lot of youth,” Frilling said. “You know I don’t like hearing that word, ‘young’ and ‘youthful,’ and that’s an excuse. But, you know what. I’ve got to be realistic, too. So the girls did a nice job for me this year, and I’m really proud of them.”
The loss also ended the high school volleyball careers of Versailles’ three seniors: Kristin Langston, Lauren Monnin and Haley Winner.
“You can’t help but get a little emotional watching them say their farewells tonight,” Frilling said. “You know that they did what they could for us all season and in the postseason. They’re definitely going to be missed.”