BROOKVILLE – The Northeastern Lady Jets brought the OHSAA D-III Southwest District’s best record into Tuesday night’s sectional final against the Arcanum Lady Trojans, but it was the Lady Trojans coming away with a dramatic comeback 3-2 win, stunning the 2019 Heritage Conference champions.
“I am unbelievably proud of this team finally getting out of Brookville (Sectional) and heading to Northmont (District) and showing that we are a team,” said Arcanum coach Macey O’Dell. “We haven’t gotten out of sectionals in I don’t know how long – it’s been a long time.”
The 23-1 Lady Jets took the court tied for the No. 12 D-III state ranked spot, looking like a state ranked team jumping out to a 2-sets-to-none lead over the 18-6 Lady Trojans.
“They only lost one match,” O’Dell said. “Northeastern is an incredible team – they are great.”
In the opening set, Northeastern opened with a 19-11 lead and closed out with a 9-point 25-16 win to go up 1-0.
Set No. 2 looked like it would be a short night for the Lady Trojans as they struggled to find an answer for the aggressive Lady Jets, quickly trailing 9-2 bringing a timeout from the Arcanum bench.
Arcanum battled back to trail 13-11 only to have Northeastern use five unanswered points to lead 18-11 bringing a second Arcanum timeout. The Lady Trojans would outscore the Springfield school 8-7 in coming up short and facing elimination with a 25-19 to trail 2-0.
“Getting down the first two games really put us in a bad situation but my girls never gave up,” said O’Dell, “they fought every point.”
The Lady Trojans took an early 3-0 lead to open set No. 3 only to have Northeastern come back and tie set at 3-3, 4-4, 6-6 and 7-7 before Arcanum would lead 14-11. Once again, the Lady Jets evened the set at 14-14 followed by an Arcanum 4-0 run to lead 18-14.
Arcanum took 5-point leads at 20-15 and 23-18 before the Lady Jets would make it a 2-point set trailing 24-22 bringing an Arcanum timeout. The Lady Trojans scored the final 2-points out of the timeout to stay alive with a 25-22 victory and trail 2-sets-1.
Set No. 4 was tied early at 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 7-7 and 8-8 before Northeastern took an 11-8 lead bringing an Arcanum timeout. The Lady Jets added 2-additioonal points to complete a 5-0 run and lead 13-8.
Northeastern pushed its lead to 6-points at 16-10 quickly bringing a second timeout from the Arcanum bench.
“That fourth set I wasn’t sure what was going on again,” O’Dell said. “We got down six and I thought – we did not come back to beat them the third game to lose now and I called those two timeouts pretty close.”
Arcanum responded with a 3-0 run to trail 16-13, Northeastern went back up by six at 19-13 before the Lady Trojans took advantage of a pressure packed 8-0 run to grab a 21-19 lead.
With Arcanum leading 23-20, Northeastern had one more point to score before the Lady Trojans would even the match at 2-2 with Arcanum winning 25-21 and sending the match to a fifth and final set with one of the teams advancing in tournament play while one would be going home.
Northeastern led early at 1-0 and 2-1, but it was the Lady Trojans stunning the Lady Jets with 8-unanswered points to lead 9-2 bringing a timeout from the Northeastern bench.
The Lady Jets would close the gap to 11-5 followed by 3-unanswered Lady Trojans points for a 14-5 advantage and close out the night with a 15-6 fifth set win sending the Arcanum Lady Trojans to Districts.
“They all played amazing – the entire team played amazing tonight,” O’Dell said. “It took everybody.”
“Defense – I told them the beginning of the week it’s going to be what wins the ballgame” continued Coach O’Dell. “You have to get down, you have to talk and that is what we weren’t doing the first two sets. “We weren’t talking, everybody thought everybody else should have the ball and then we started playing our own game and came back.”
The five set match was a first of the entire 2019 season for both teams on the court.
“We haven’t played five all year so I was really kind of nervous about going into that fifth set, whether we could do it,” O’Dell stated. “My girls told me after the game, ‘we weren’t running seventeens tomorrow’. It’s something we do in our gym every night. My one coach told me seventeens won that game because we weren’t tired, we fought hard the entire match and never gave up – and like they say, they hate the seventeens but I think that’s what wins ballgames – when you’re not tired.”
“They didn’t get tired, they played their hearts out the entire night and I am so happy with them,” concluded Coach O’Dell.
Contact Darke County Media Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at email@example.com or 937-548-3330