TROY – Ansonia’s volleyball season came to an end on Saturday as Mechanicsburg swept the Lady Tigers in their Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament opener 25-8, 25-21, 25-16.
Ansonia hung with Mechanicsburg for a large portion of the match, but errors by the Tigers, particularly in the first set, were too much for them to overcome against the tough competition.
“We were up and down,” Ansonia coach Jason Hemmelgarn said. “I think that first game we played with a little bit of nervousness. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes, gave them a lot of points with our hitting errors and our passing errors. And for us to be successful we have to pass the ball well so we can go up and get the ball to our hitters.”
Mechanicsburg started off the first set by scoring eight of the first 10 points, which prompted Ansonia to use it first timeout. Mechanicsburg continued to roll and went ahead 16-5, prompting Ansonia to use another timeout. But the Tigers couldn’t recover and lost the game 25-8.
“They had a really, really strong setter and some nice hitters where they spread it around, and it was hard for Lydia (Sink) to key on one girl and get a bunch of blocks that way,” Hemmelgarn said.
The second set went much better for Ansonia. The Tigers fought back from an early deficit to take a 15-14 lead, which led to a Mechanicsburg timeout.
“I was really happy with the way they came back in that second game and didn’t quit after getting beat that bad (in the first game),” Hemmelgarn said.
After Ansonia extended its lead to 16-14, Mechanicsburg got back on track and scored the next four points to go up 18-17. From there Ansonia couldn’t catch up and lost 25-21 to fall behind two games to none in the best-of-five match.
“The first game was really rough but they came out and kept fighting, didn’t quit, didn’t give up,” Hemmelgarn said. “So I’ve got to be proud of the girls for that, coming back strong in the second game.”
The third set started off well for Ansonia as the Tigers took an early lead with a three-point advantage at 6-3, 7-4 and 11-8. Mechanicsburg recovered and scored five consecutive points to go up 13-11. After giving up the lead Ansonia never recovered and lost 25-16 to lose the match in three sets.
Saturday’s loss ended the season for Ansonia, who finished the year with a 10-13 record. The season went about how Hemmelgarn expected with the Tigers being competitive in almost every match, he said, although he had hoped to finish above .500.
“It was a fun year,” he said. “It’s hard to believe it’s gone already because, man, it went really fast.
“Overall a lot of good memories from the girls, a lot of good effort.”
The loss also ended the high school volleyball careers of Ansonia’s six seniors – Alyssa Henderson, Brooke Neal, Taylor Thwaits, Molly Walters, Haley Wampler and Madison Young. The Tigers will miss the leadership from that group as they try to build toward a winning season next year, Hemmelgarn said.
“We’re definitely going to miss our seniors, though, next year,” he 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. For more features online go to advocate360.org or ‘like The Daily Advocate’ on Facebook by searching Advocate360.