NEW CARLISLE – Greenville showed a lot of heart Monday evening, but top-seeded Kenton Ridge was just too much for the Lady Wave to handle as they ended their season with a loss in a sectional tournament match.
Kenton Ridge was the No. 1 seed in the Division II Tecumseh sectional while Greenville was seeded ninth out of 14 teams. Even though the Wave were underdogs, they still were able to get the Cougars on their heels multiple times throughout Monday’s Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament match.
“I think that the team played unbelievably well,” Greenville volleyball coach Chelsea Dowd said of her team. “I told them downstairs after the match ended that the way we played tonight was the culmination of like a hard-fought season. You know we competed better this season than we ever have before – since (junior varsity) Janelle (Rinderle) and I have been here. We worked harder, I think, this season than we ever have before, and you could really see that tonight, especially in that second set.”
Kenton Ridge began the match with a dominating first set. The Lady Wave were able to tie the score at 2-2, but from there the Cougars went on a 5-0 run to open up a sizable lead that culminated in a 25-8 Kenton Ridge victory.
“In the first set you could tell that we were a little nervous, a little slow to get going, but even the first set the score didn’t really do justice to how competitive we were playing, which is what we said going into the second set,” Dowd said. “Like you look good, defense looks great, we’re playing well, we’ve just got to find a way to put some balls down, and that’s what they did; they really stepped it up.”
Kenton Ridge took an early 9-5 lead in the second set, but then Greenville started to find its groove. Chloe Cox was at the service line as the Wave went on a 6-0 run to go up 11-9.
The Cougars rallied to regain the lead, but the Wave wouldn’t go away. They soon recaptured the lead, and with Kenton Ridge trailing 17-16, the Cougars used a timeout to regroup.
Greenville was able to frustrate top-seeded Kenton Ridge by hustling all over the floor and even making diving plays.
“That’s the best thing for a coach to see when a girl refuses to let a ball hit the floor,” Dowd said. “Morgan Gilbert ran from like the 10-foot line to the end line. She ate up a ball that went back over the net. That shows that your team is not ready to be done and that they’re excited to come back next year and keep working to keep getting better. So they did a great, great job tonight. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
After the timeout Kenton Ridge scored nine of the next 10 points to win the set 25-18 and go up two games to none.
The score was tight to begin the third set, but from a 4-4 tie Kenton Ridge started to reassert itself. The Cougars scored 21 of the final 31 points to win 25-14 and sweep the match.
With Monday’s loss Greenville ended its season with an 8-16 record. Dowd saw continued improvement from her team throughout the season and expects that to continue next year as the Lady Wave didn’t have any seniors on their roster this year.
“The season overall I’m really pleased,” Dowd said. “We won two more games than we did last year plus a tournament game. It’s nice we’re not losing any seniors. Obviously we’ll miss Cassie (Cromwell) next year; she was a missing piece this year (because of an anterior cruciate ligament injury). But we’ve got 15 varsity girls coming back to be on the varsity team. It will be exciting for us as we move forward.”
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.