Versailles volleyball advances to District Finals with win over Arcanum


By Drew Terhall

BROOKVILLE — It was a battle between two Darke County teams in the Southwest Division III Sectional Volleyball Tournament. Versailles came away with the 3-0 win over Arcanum to move on to the District Finals.

Versailles head coach Liz McNeilan was anxious for this matchup. She said this morning, she wanted to see the girls to know how they were so she wouldn’t worry about them all day. After seeing the team before they left the game, she was able to relax a bit.

“Right when I walked into the gym after school today, they were driven and ready to go. It was cool to see,” McNeilan said.

The game started with both crowds filling the gym with cheers. It was a big game atmosphere with the energy pulsing through the gym.

Arcanum head coach Jacie Holman said the Arcanum community did their part to make this experience a memorable one for her girls.

“I got to give it up to the Arcanum community. They brought it tonight and it was awesome to experience that for our girls. I wished we would have been able to take it one more further and had that community support even more,” Holman said.

McNeilan echoed the same sentiment. She said both sides helped bring that big game atmosphere that makes high school sports memorable for the players.

The energy helped make the first set a close one. Both teams exchanged leads early on and it looked like it would be a close one.

It was close until sophomore Lauren Prenger went up to the serving line for Versailles. She helped spark a 7-0 Versailles run to go up 12-5.

McNeilan said Prenger was a part of their practice team last season because of her serving. She is proud to see Prenger improve since then and showcase her talent on the court.

After that run, Arcanum stalled out a bit. Holman said in a game like this, they focused on being mentally tough and trying to come away from long volleys with points.

It became harder for Arcanum to execute after Versailles went on that early run. The Lady Tigers held off Arcanum to win the first set, 25-16.

In the second set, the serving continued to favor Versailles. The team was able to spark runs with their serving and maintain them with their defense.

Holman said the team just couldn’t put the ball away against this Versailles team. It also didn’t help they made too many mistakes against a team like Versailles.

“Most nights for us, that’s a kill and we’re walking away and we’re feeling pretty good. Versailles just has an awesome back row and a killer front row that they just can do things that we could not handle today,” Holman said.

The Lady Tigers won the second set, 20-10.

McNeilan said after the second set, she told her team to keep their foot on the gas. They did exactly that.

Versailles jumped out to a 9-3 lead. Arcanum did recover and make a small run to inch closer to Versailles, but couldn’t sustain any momentum.

McNeilan said the defense was in system and in control during this whole game. She also said they were strong and dynamic as a team. With everyone in sync, the Lady Tigers took the third set, 25-15.

The Lady Trojans didn’t go away without a fight. Holman said her team did fight to the last point even when things weren’t going their way.

The co-WOAC champions end their season with a 19-6 record and a 10-1 WOAC record. The team will lose seniors Lily Johnting, Emilie Fout, Ashlyn Miller, Rylee Leeper, Haley Smith and WOAC Player of the Year Katie Sharp.

Holman said this group of seniors were her first group at Arcanum when they were just in seventh grade. She also said through their big sister, little sister program with the junior varsity team, they have helped show what it means to be a part of the Lady Trojan volleyball program.

“These seniors hold a super special place in my heart. I’m not an emotional girl, but when I’m crying in the locker room I think the girls kind of know I’m pretty disappointed too. These seniors are rock solid,” Holman said. “It’s just not on the volleyball court, it is all over. They rock the basketball court, the softball field and in the classroom. They are an amazing group of girls who bring it 24/7.”

Versailles, the fifth seed, will take on fourth seed Cincinnati Madeira on Oct. 28 at Fairfield High School in the District Final. McNeilan said this is something the team has been looking forward to and hopes her team can come out with the same energy as they did in this one.

“It’s tradition. I think the girls look forward to it and it’s something they take a lot of pride in. The girls, they wanted this one tonight big,” McNeilan said. “They knew Arcanum was going to come ready to play. Hats off to them. They came in prepared, they came in very driven and purposeful. I’m hoping they do the same on Saturday.”

The time of the game will be announced later in the week.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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