NEW MADISON – After winning the first two sets Tri-Village held off a strong rally from Mississinawa Valley to take the match in four sets Tuesday night in girls volleyball action by the scores of 25-20, 25-14, 20-25 and 25-21.
Tri-Village and Mississinawa Valley had already played once this year with the Patriots taking that match as well.
The opening set was closely contested and went back and forth with the ‘Hawks holding a 20-19 lead. That’s when the Patriots front line – bolstered by the play of two freshmen – took over with Meghan Downing pounding two strong left-handed kills and Maria Petry had a kill and a big block. Senior Maddie Downing would then put away the first set with a powerful kill to secure the first set 25-19.
The Patriots used the momentum from the end of the first set to get out in front of Mississinawa early and the ‘Hawks played from behind the rest of the way unable to catch up falling 25-14.
If anyone thought the match was over, well they didn’t ask Mississinawa coach Billie Hunt or her team because the ’Hawks refused to quit and after making a few adjustments they rallied strong in the third set.
“We looked for some things in those first two games we lost and said what do we need to do differently,” Hunt said. “They had Meghan and Maddie blocking up front, so we adjusted by playing to their outside hand and that helped, and we got some momentum going with good hits and kills back in the corners and were able to rally back in it.”
TV led 16-15 when the ‘Hawks rallied taking the lead 21-17 then finishing it for an exciting 25-20 third set win.
Mississinawa used the momentum to play the Patriots tough in the fourth set with several lead changes. But strong service by Abbi Lipps and Lucie Morris helped Tri-Village pull away down the stretch to secure the match 25-21.
“I’m thankful to get the win tonight,” Tri-Village coach Chris Brewer said. “We are coming off couple grinding games going 5 sets against a strong Milton-Union team that we won, then 4 sets last night with Northeastern, and tonight with Mississinawa. When you can win those it’s good for your team. What I’m hoping is our girls learn you can’t just sit back, hit and hit and hit.
“We have to be smart and find spots on the court,” he continued. “It doesn’t always take a hard hit to score. Sometimes when your power game is good you rely on it all the time and become predictable, so you have to mix it up or the defense can sit back and figure you out, that’s exactly what MV did tonight. We didn’t do a good job in the third and fourth set of making them move around to cover us.”
Tri-Village leaders for the game was Maddie Downing (11 Kills, 10 service points and 3 aces), Edie Morris (9 kills, 11 serve points), Meghan Downing (8 kills), Maria Petry (8 kills), Kelsie Wehr (5 kills, 21 digs, 15 serve points), Lucie Morris (20 assists, 19 digs, 12 serve points), Abbi Lipps (16 assists, 14 serve points) and Jadyn Sharp (37 digs and 17 service points including 3 aces).
Mississinawa leaders were Sidnie Hunt (15 kills, 10 assists, 3 blocks, 21 digs), Olivia Murphy (7 kills, 17 assists,15 digs), Macy Stewart (4 digs), Lindsay Johns (3 kills, 2 digs, 1 block), Kya Lavy (4 kills, 4 digs, 3 blocks), Riley Price (4 kills, 17 digs), Leah Scholl (3 kills, 18 digs) and Taylor Stachler (11 digs).
Despite the loss coach Billie Hunt was pleased with the play of her team.
“We played a phenomenal game is what I told the girls in the locker room and I just hope we keep playing inspired like we did tonight,” Hunt said. “That was fun volleyball, we were competitive in all aspects. We hit, served, volleyed, blocked, passed and dug well tonight against a great team and that’s something we can build on.”
Tri-Village coach Chris Brewer was impressed with Mississinawa Valley and thankful to get the win.
“These late season conference games are tough and can be a grind. We faced Mississinawa early in the year and they have had a chance to refine their game and be more prepared for us and what we like to do. You could tell they made good adjustments throughout the match knowing where our hitters were going to go, dug some balls up and sometimes that’s all it takes is to get a good dig to take the air out of the other team and that’s what they did tonight,” Brewer said.
“I give Mississinawa Valley, their coaches and players all the credit in this game. They have improved a ton since the beginning of the year,” he added.
Mississinawa Valley falls to 8-9 overall and 5-4 in the Cross County Conference and will host Newton on Thursday.
Tri-Village improves to 15-2 overall and 8-1 in the conference tied for second place with Arcanum, each with one loss and one back of league leading Miami East who remains undefeated in the conference.
The Patriots have a tough one Thursday when traveling to Franklin Monroe who also is having a good year with just two losses in Cross County Conference play.