DARKE COUNTY – A trio of seniors who finished great high school careers in their respective sports are The Daily Advocate’s soccer and volleyball players of the year.
Ansonia’s Lydia Sink has been named The Daily Advocate’s volleyball player of the year, Franklin Monroe’s Bryanna Diceanu has been named The Daily Advocate’s girls soccer player of the year, and Franklin Monroe’s Jacob Shellabarger has been named The Daily Advocate’s boys soccer player of the year.
As a senior, Sink led all Darke County volleyball players with 316 kills and 122 blocks. She also was second in the county to teammate Aliya Barga with 45 aces.
“Lydia is a tremendous athlete who was the backbone of our team this year,” Ansonia volleyball coach Craig Riethman said. “As a senior captain, her expectations were very high and she delivered. Lydia was a very strong player for us both in the back row and at the net.”
Sink also led Ansonia with 210 digs and was second among the Tigers with 39 assists.
For her efforts Sink was named first team all-Cross County Conference. She also received second team honors from the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association in District 9 and was selected to the District 9 senior all-star game.
“Her focus and determination helped Ansonia become one of the better teams in the area this year,” Riethman said.
Sink helped guide Ansonia to a 17-5 record overall and a 9-3 mark in the CCC. The Tigers also won the Greenville Federal Volleyball Invitational.
“We are going to miss Lydia’s outgoing personality and wish her the best as she continues to develop as a person, as a young athlete and as a leader,” Riethman said.
Bryanna Diceanu helped lead Franklin Monroe to a 10-6-3 overall record and 3-1-2 mark in the CCC. She also helped lead the Jets to two wins in the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs and a spot in the OHSAA sectional finals for the first time since 2013.
“Great senior year,” Franklin Monroe girls soccer coach Scott Howell said. “Overall really a great career.”
Bryanna Diceanu was third among Division III girls in the Miami Valley with 27 goals, which also was the highest total in the CCC and Darke County. She had a pair of assists as well and helped control the middle of the field for the Jets.
“She knew when to be selfish and when to give it up,” Howell said. “She had to earn every goal, and to be honest with you she did.”
The CCC recognized Bryanna Diceanu as its girls soccer player of the year for the 2016 season.
“She’s a great player. She’s always around the game,” Howell said. “Got a lot of knowledge, a lot of talent and a lot of heart.”
It was her finesse, skill, work ethic and drive that allowed Bryanna Diceanu to finish second in program history in scoring. While she was a big-time scorer, she remained very unselfish.
“She’s a definite role model amongst the kids,” Howell said. “She’s probably a better kid than a soccer player. Her grades are fantastic.”
Shellabarger earned first team all-CCC honors as a senior. He was the conference’s boys soccer player of the year as a junior but was slowed by injuries this year.
“Jake had a down year per se statistical-wise due to an injury he suffered early in the year on his ankles,” Franklin Monroe boys soccer coach Danny Diceanu said. “He played through it. He scored a couple goals.”
By the end of the season Shellabarger was almost back to full strength and showed how special of a player he could be in helping Franklin Monroe reach the district championship game of the OHSAA tournament for a sixth consecutive year.
“He practically doubled his regular season output in the playoffs,” Coach Diceanu said. “Jake can be a spark. He can change the outcome of a game in a split second. He’s just that type of player.”
The FM senior scored four goals in a tournament game against Fairlawn, three in a tournament game against Carlisle and two in a sectional championship tournament game against Miami Valley.
“He’s a very good skill player,” Coach Diceanu said. “He’s just a joy to have on your team.”
Even when he wasn’t at 100 percent, Shellabarger’s presence on the field provided invaluable leadership for the Jets.
“His experience and his leadership, just having him on the field and being vocal, playing through and being the best that he can, it motivated the other boys,” Coach Diceanu said.
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.