TROY – Tri-Village took on Emmanuel Christian in the second round of Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV Troy Southwest District volleyball tournament.
The Patriots didn’t start well, dropping the first set 25-15, and then showed some character and grit in set two to come from behind to tie the match, 25-23. But Tri-Village made too many mistakes and smart play by Emmanuel Christian was enough to elevate the Lions to wins in sets three and four by the score of 25-19 and 25-18 to win the match.
In the opening set the Patriots held a slim 9-8 lead … but what has plagued them all year snuck up on them again when they allowed the Lions a couple of long service runs and Emmanuel Christian took set one 25-15.
“We just didn’t execute,” Tri-Village coach Chris Brewer said. “The effort’s there. I see effort, girls diving. I’m not sure if it was the nerves or what … but we froze up on a couple of plays we normally cover. It’s almost like we were playing not to lose. I don’t feel like in that first game we played to win. We were being protective and not attacking.”
In the second set the Patriots were a little more active but found themselves trailing 17-11 before going on a little run behind the serving of Abbi Lipps. The Patriots rolled off 11 straight points to go up 22-18, and they finished the set with a 25-23 win.
“Our offense when it’s good and when we’re rolling is up on the net and attacking, and we did that in the second set tonight,” Brewer said.
The momentum from set two carried the Patriots to a 10-9 lead in the third set, but then it started to slip away.
“Sometimes we go in stretches where we are back on the 10-foot line, and that never works out well for us,” Brewer said.
Emmanuel Christian took advantage and finished strong, winning the third set 25-19.
The Patriots were never really able to get out of their own way in the final set, dropping it 25-18 and the match to the Lions.
“I knew this was going to be a tough match for us … we aren’t blocking the best at the net, and they have two really good hitters who make you move around a lot. They don’t always hit to the same spot. They were smart and tip, so give them credit, their hitters did a good job finding the holes tonight,” Brewer said.
“We worked the last couple of days trying to cover those holes, but we just didn’t come out here and execute. Yes, I’m disappointed we didn’t play a little better … but on the positive side these girls got their first tournament win ever and everyone wanted to be here tonight and got valuable experience,” Brewer added.
“These girls were hungry and wanted to come out here and get that second win. We wanted to keep playing. I don’t think that’s always been the case the last couple of years. I’m not sure they wanted to keep going the last couple of years. It’s good to have them ready to come to practice and get to work.
“I told these girls in the locker room, I hope this experience incentivizes them … you hate to go out with a loss … but everyone is going to lose but one team before it’s over.
“If you would have watched us from the beginning of the year ’til the end of the year and see the improvement these girls have made, especially, Maddie Downing and Abbi Lipps, my setter, both have improved dramatically, so those are the kinds of things going into next year I watch.
“We have girls coming up from the junior varsity who are going to help if they are willing to work at it. I’m not sure where we will fit into the conference. I believe we have a bright future, and I’d like to think Tri-Village can be in the thick of things,” Brewer concluded.