State Bound! Tigers rally to beat Marion Pleasant in four sets for second straight regional title


By Skip Weaver - sweaver@aimmediamidwest.com



The Versailles Tigers are the 2018 Division III regional champions after defeating Marion Pleasant in four sets on Saturday.

The Versailles Tigers are the 2018 Division III regional champions after defeating Marion Pleasant in four sets on Saturday.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

The Versailles players celebrate after winning the fourth set to claim their second straight Division III regional championship on Saturday. The Tigers defeated Marion Pleasant in four sets for the title.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Elizabeth Ording gets a kill during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Kelsey Custenborder celebrates a point during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Lindsey Winner gets a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Abby Stammen prepares to serve during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Alexa Didier serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Alexa Didier keeps the ball alive on a play during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Caitli McEldowney (0) celebrates a point during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Caitlin McEldowney gets a dig during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Caitlin McEldowney serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Versailles celebrates after winning its second straight regional championship.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Elizabeth Ording serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Emma George gets a kill during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Katelyn Marshall (22) and Raegen Shaffer (34) get a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Katelyn Marshall (22) and Raegen Shaffer (34) get a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Kelsey Custenborder sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Kelsey Custenborder sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Coach Kenzie Bruggeman gets her team motivated during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Lindsey Winner smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Raegen Shaffer smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Rebecca Knapke sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

The student section was loud and proud for Versailles during its regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

The student section was loud and proud for Versailles during its regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Lindsey Winner smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.


Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

KETTERING – A celebration ensued on the floor of Trent Arena on Saturday afternoon seconds after Versailles senior Liz Ording aced her serve against Marion Pleasant to win the Tigers second straight Division III regional championship.

Versailles (18-10) had to rally after losing the first set to the Spartans, who were up to the task of taking on the defending state champions, and the Tigers did just that by winning the last three sets for an 18-25, 25-17, 30-28, 27-25 regional title.

“Regional champions sounds awesome. I love the sound of it,” Ording said. “It feels awesome to have another week of this.”

Ording, a fourth-year varsity player, said she wasn’t worried after losing that first set. And even after they trailed in the third and fourth sets, Ording said those are the situations they train for.

“I think we strive for that kind of competition,” Ording said. “We’ve been preparing and we do those situations in practice every day. Before we left practice (Friday) we knew we are prepared for those types of situations and we sure did go through them tonight.

“I think it was just timidness coming out in the first set,” she continued on her teams offensive struggles. “It is the regional championship game and I think that got to us it a little, but we calmed our nerves down in the second. The last two sets were back and forth a little bit. We wanted to focus on not getting too high or too low and keeping that medium and everything at ease so I think we established that very well. I just knew I had to go do my job and we would get it.”

As dominant as Marion Pleasant was in its first set win, the Tigers looked to be back on their own track in winning the second set to tie the match at 1-1. That made the third set a critical one for each team as the the winner would have a decided advantage and the third set could not have been more closely contested. It was back and forth every other point or two for much of the match until Marion Pleasant was able to build a 6-point lead at 15-9, but the Tigers came roaring back to tie the match 24-24 forcing extra play. The Spartans went up twice only to have Versailles tie it again. Then Versailles got a 27-26 lead but Marion Pleasant tied it also. Finally, at 28-28 Versailles broke the tie and won the set 30-28 on a Raegen Shaffer kill.

“It’s ironic because it is what we talk about in practice all the time,” Versailles coach Kenzie Bruggeman said of the back-and-forth third set. “When you get to that point in a game when you both are in the 20s and when it is back and forth like that it just comes down to heart and it comes down to who is going to focus in on the fundamentals. I can’t say that Marion Pleasant had less heart at that point, but that is just what it comes down to.

“We played so tentative at the net in the first set and that is because of what they were doing on their side,” she continued. “I mean what an awesome job by Marion Pleasant slowing us down offensively, blocking us well and knowing our tendencies. Instead of stepping up and getting more aggressive we went the opposite and got timid and that showed so they did a really nice job there, but somehow we scratched out way back.”

In the fourth set, it was again Marion Pleasant jumping out early determined to force a fifth set, but the Tigers rallied again to tie the match at 10-10 on a kill by Abby Stammen that looked more a dunk than a kill. But the beat continued on for the Spartans who rolled out to a 20-16 lead and a Versailles time out. That’s when Ording took control and led her team back to the brink of winning at 24-21. Marion Pleasant did give up however running off four straight points to gain a 25-24 advantage, but a kill by Ording made it 25-25. Ording stepped to the service line and got a 26-25 advantage before she iced the regional title with an ace.

“This is amazing. It is honestly a dream come true,” said senior setter Kelsey Custenboder. “I just knew at the beginning of the season we had goals and we became so close throughout the season this team and just to be able to go to state with these girls means the absolute world to me. It was so tough but we have been working so hard on our mental toughness and situations at practice so I knew we were going to be able to pull this out. Losing that first set didn’t bother us because we knew we had each others backs and we were going to do it for each other. Regional champions sounds amazing. Two in a row is so amazing.”

Coach Bruggeman agreed.

“Regional champs. I love it,” she said. “I think each year means so much and it means something different. I can’t say that it is means more, it just means something different with these girls. The seniors all had their eyes set on this and getting back to state. Multiple times throughout the game they kept relying on that and just looking to each saying we got this and we have to get back there. Let’s dial it back in and don’t give up hope because we could have. I mean we dropped that first set and we were down in games with them at 24 and us only at 21. There were so many times that they could give up but they really relied on their training not only physical but mental.

“I can’t speak enough for the support from our community coming down here,” Bruggeman continued. “There were so many things going on today and to have all them here and to look out and see all the black and orange it’s so fun and we love having that support. The girls feed off that. We are thrilled that we get another week to try and get one percent better. I just love these girls so much and I am so glad that it is not over and I get to see their face on Monday.”

Versailles will face Zoarville Tuscarawas Valley at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the second of two state semifinals that day at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.

The Versailles Tigers are the 2018 Division III regional champions after defeating Marion Pleasant in four sets on Saturday.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_2018-Regional-Champions.jpgThe Versailles Tigers are the 2018 Division III regional champions after defeating Marion Pleasant in four sets on Saturday. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

The Versailles players celebrate after winning the fourth set to claim their second straight Division III regional championship on Saturday. The Tigers defeated Marion Pleasant in four sets for the title.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Celebration-1.jpgThe Versailles players celebrate after winning the fourth set to claim their second straight Division III regional championship on Saturday. The Tigers defeated Marion Pleasant in four sets for the title. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Elizabeth Ording gets a kill during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Elizabeth-Ording-1-1.jpgElizabeth Ording gets a kill during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Kelsey Custenborder celebrates a point during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Kelsey-Custenborder-3.jpgKelsey Custenborder celebrates a point during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Lindsey Winner gets a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Lindsey-Winner-3.jpgLindsey Winner gets a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Abby Stammen prepares to serve during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Abby-Stammen-1-1.jpgAbby Stammen prepares to serve during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Alexa Didier serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Alexa-Didier-1-1.jpgAlexa Didier serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Alexa Didier keeps the ball alive on a play during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Alexa-Didier-2.jpgAlexa Didier keeps the ball alive on a play during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Caitli McEldowney (0) celebrates a point during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Caitlin-McEldowney-1-1.jpgCaitli McEldowney (0) celebrates a point during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Caitlin McEldowney gets a dig during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Caitlin-McEldowney-2-1.jpgCaitlin McEldowney gets a dig during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Caitlin McEldowney serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Caitlin-McEldowney-3.jpgCaitlin McEldowney serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Versailles celebrates after winning its second straight regional championship.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Celebration-2.jpgVersailles celebrates after winning its second straight regional championship. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Elizabeth Ording serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Elizabeth-Ording-2-1.jpgElizabeth Ording serves during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Emma George gets a kill during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Emma-George-1-1.jpgEmma George gets a kill during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Katelyn Marshall (22) and Raegen Shaffer (34) get a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Katelyn-Marshall-and-Raegen-Shaffer-1.jpgKatelyn Marshall (22) and Raegen Shaffer (34) get a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Katelyn Marshall (22) and Raegen Shaffer (34) get a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Katelyn-Marshall-and-Raegen-Shaffer-2.jpgKatelyn Marshall (22) and Raegen Shaffer (34) get a block during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Kelsey Custenborder sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Kelsey-Custenborder-1-1.jpgKelsey Custenborder sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Kelsey Custenborder sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Kelsey-Custenborder-2.jpgKelsey Custenborder sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Coach Kenzie Bruggeman gets her team motivated during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Kenzie-Bruggeman-1.jpgCoach Kenzie Bruggeman gets her team motivated during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Lindsey Winner smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Lindsey-Winner-2.jpgLindsey Winner smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Raegen Shaffer smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Raegen-Shaffer-1.jpgRaegen Shaffer smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Rebecca Knapke sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Rebecca-Knapke-1.jpgRebecca Knapke sets the ball up for a teammate during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

The student section was loud and proud for Versailles during its regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Student-section-1.jpgThe student section was loud and proud for Versailles during its regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

The student section was loud and proud for Versailles during its regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Student-section-2.jpgThe student section was loud and proud for Versailles during its regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

Lindsey Winner smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/11/web1_Lindsey-Winner-1-1.jpgLindsey Winner smashes the ball during Versailles’ regional finals match against Marion Pleasant on Saturday at Kettering’s Trent Arena. Photos by Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

By Skip Weaver

sweaver@aimmediamidwest.com

The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at sweaver@aimmediamidwest.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.

The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at sweaver@aimmediamidwest.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.