NEW CARLISLE – A season in which Coach Chelsea Dowd saw her team make big strides came to an end Wednesday as the Greenville volleyball team lost to Kenton Ridge in the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.
Kenton Ridge won the match 25-17, 25-16, 25-11, but Dowd was happy by the Lady Wave’s performance in the sectional tournament contest.
“I think overall when you look at the full picture they played well,” she said. “They came and they worked hard, and I think overall they did a good job. We played Kenton Ridge earlier in the season at the Troy Invitational, and we did not look good, we did not play well, we could not hang with them, and tonight, especially in the first set, we were right there. We were ahead for a long time. You know they started to chip away; they played really well. But we played infinitely better this game on the whole than we did the first time we saw them. So we got better and that’s all you can ask for sometimes.”
Greenville lost 25-11, 25-8 to Kenton Ridge on Sept. 10 in the Troy Invitational, a loss that dropped the Wave to 0-7 on the year but was immediately followed by a 5-3 stretch over the following two-and-a-half weeks.
Greenville played much better in its second meeting with Kenton Ridge. The Cougars took a 5-1 lead in Wednesday’s first set, but the Lady Wave battled back to tie the game at 11-11 and then go up 14-12. However, Kenton Ridge was able to regroup and scored 13 of the final 16 points to win the opening set 25-17.
The second set started like the first with Kenton Ridge taking an early 5-1 advantage. Greenville managed to pull within two points at 9-7 but couldn’t close the gap any further, eventually losing 25-16 to fall behind two games to none in the best-of-five match.
Greenville again kept it close in the early moments of the third set, trailing by just one point at 7-6. But like the previous two games Kenton Ridge pulled away, scoring 18 of the next 23 points to win 25-11 and sweep Greenville.
Wednesday’s loss marked the end of the season for Greenville, who finished the year with a 6-18 record.
“The team this season has come so far in terms of skill work and teamwork and just competitiveness in general,” Dowd said. “If you think about last year and the season the girls had, it wasn’t great by any means, and this season – even though our record might not be stellar – the games that we played and a lot of the games that we’ve lost from the beginning of the season until the end have been so competitive, good games to five or good games to four against really excellent teams in the (Greater Western Ohio Conference) or out of the GWOC or in tournament. I can’t say enough about how far the team has come from the beginning of the season until the end of the season.”
Most of the team will return intact next year as the Wave will only lose one senior to graduation – Logan Tabler.
“Logan Tabler is a huge part of what Greenville volleyball has been for (junior varsity coach) Janelle (Rinderle) and myself, and she was a leader on the team,” Dowd said. “Even though it’s one person it’s a big loss because she was a good player, a good captain. She was everything you could’ve wanted in an athlete on your team. It will be nice to have everyone back except for Logan, but it will leave an empty spot for us next year.”
With the progress the Lady Wave made this year and so many players set to return next year, Dowd is excited about the future of Greenville volleyball.
“We’re going to get there,” she said. “We’re going to keep getting better, and I’m so proud of them.”
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.