BROOKVILLE – In the second round of the Division III Southwest sectional tournament No. 5 seed Arcanum took on No. 3 seed West Liberty-Salem.
It would be a monumental undertaking for the smaller Trojans to take down the Tigers, who were riding the exploits of 6-foot 4-inch senior Jamie Peterson, who will attend the University of Dayton next year to continue her volleyball career.
It was a championship caliber effort by Arcanum, falling short of pulling off an upset as West Liberty-Salem pulled it out in the end 3-2 by the score of 25-11, 20-25, 10-25, 25-19 and 15-12.
In the opening game Peterson made her presence felt at she dominated the net with thunderous kills while rising way above the net blocking a number of Arcanum shots as the Tigers rolled in game one by the score of 25-11.
In the second game the Trojans kept it close early, and with the score tied at five, Shai Robinson was finally able to put one past the large obstacle in the middle and followed that up with a couple of service points to put Arcanum up 8-5.
Arcanum played well enough to pull off a 25-20 win in game two, and you could feel the Trojans’ confidence building.
“It took one game for them to believe. They won that second game. You could see they believed they could do it,” Arcanum head volleyball coach Terri Day said.
After a few powerful jump serves by Peterson in game three and Arcanum trailing 10-4, the Trojans broke her serve on a great cross court play by Stevie Johnting to regain service.
That’s when Elle Siculan shined. The sophomore got hot serving the ball, keeping the Tigers off balance by mixing up her serve. It was like the perfect storm with Peterson on the backline and Rebecca Deao, Brittany Kinney and Michaela McGaffic dominating up front at the net for Arcanum.
Arcanum’s confidence grew with each point and frustration was showing for West Liberty-Salem, and despite a couple time outs the Tigers could break the Trojans’ momentum.
Siculan served 17 consecutive points to help propel the Trojans to a 25-10 win in game three.
In the fourth game neither team relented as it went back and forth … but after a few mental mistakes late and a few miss hits the door opened and West Liberty stepped through to pull out game four 25-19, and you could feel the momentum shifting back to the Tigers.
In the deciding fifth game the Trojans got off to a good start … but Peterson got hot again with her jump serve, and Arcanum had trouble handling it. By the time they broke her serve they found themselves trailing 13-7, and they never could recover as the Tigers took the match 15-12 to advance to sectional finals.
It was a championship effort by the Trojans … one you could be proud … but in the end the Tigers made just a few more plays.
“We were right there,” Day said. “It’s a game of emotions and runs, and our girls played well enough to win, but in the final game that’s shortened you can’t make mistakes. We made a few, and it led to the next play, and in the end that’s what decided it.
“We told our seniors they can be proud. They played with great effort and enthusiasm tonight,” Day concluded.
Arcanum says good bye to five seniors: Shelby Howard, Alexis Abner, Michaela McGaffic, Rebecca Deao and Emily Miller, but the future looks bright for Arcanum with a nucleus of players returning next year including juniors Brittany Kinney, Shai Robinson, Lucy Shannon, Stevie Johnting, Mackenzie Sharritts and Annie Ketring as well as sophomore Elle Siculan.
Arcanum ends its season with a 16-7 overall record and 10-2 in the Cross County Conference, good enough for a third place finish.