UNION CITY – Ansonia took a big step toward its goal of establishing itself as one of the best volleyball programs in the Cross County Conference on Saturday by winning the Greenville Federal Volleyball Invitational.
Mississinawa Valley hosted the varsity portion of the invitational, which included eight CCC teams: Ansonia, Arcanum, Bradford, Franklin Monroe, Mississinawa Valley, Newton, Tri-County North and Tri-Village. After three rounds of play Ansonia was the champion with a 3-0 record, defeating Newton 25-17, 26-28, 25-23 in the championship match.
“Our goal this year is to bridge the gap, to be more competitive, to be able to be one of those upper echelon teams in our conference,” first-year Ansonia head coach Craig Riethman said. “I thought they made a big step today in doing that, and it’s definitely a confidence boost for the whole program.”
To get to the championship round Ansonia started out with a 2-0 victory against Franklin Monroe. Tri-Village beat Bradford, Arcanum beat Mississinawa Valley, and Newton beat Tri-County North in the other first round matches.
In the second round Ansonia beat Tri-Village 2-0 while Newton beat Arcanum to set up the championship match.
“From the very first game against Franklin Monroe we played a lot of little games – wanted to win games to 10, a lot of strings of three,” Riethman said of the Lady Tigers’ mentality in the tournament. “We just tried to stay focused with what we needed to do and keep things possession by possession until the end.”
Against Newton Ansonia won the first set and had three match point opportunities in the second set. However, Newton was able to fight back to force a decisive third set.
“To score you’ve got to earn your points, and in game two we weren’t earning them,” Riethman said. “We had some hitting errors, and we had some plays we didn’t close down, we didn’t finish them.”
After seeing its lead slip away in the second set, Ansonia rebounded in the third set to win the championship and improve its season record to 5-0.
“We had an opportunity in the second game to close things down, and we didn’t,” Riethman said. “They haven’t had too many opportunities to do that so they put themselves in a position to grow from that and in game three I thought they did.”
Arcanum beat Tri-Village in the third place match of the Greenville Federal Volleyball Invitational.
In the consolation bracket Franklin Monroe beat Bradford and Mississinawa Valley beat Tri-County North. Mississinawa Valley then beat Franklin Monroe in the fifth place match, and Bradford beat Tri-County North in the seventh place match.
While the varsity teams competed at Mississinawa Valley, the junior varsity teams competed in their own tournament at Franklin Monroe. Arcanum beat Franklin Monroe for the junior varsity championship. Tri-County North beat Tri-Village in the third place match, Mississinawa Valley beat Ansonia in the fifth place match, and Newton beat Bradford in the seventh place match.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.