Carey, H-L face little resistance

MOUNT BLANCHARD – John Hardin was a second lieutenant in the Revolutionary War and later in life was killed by the Shawnee Indians while trying to negotiate peace.

The old saying is that history will repeat itself.

On the Division IV sectional volleyball court at Riverdale High School on Thursday night, history did repeat itself a bit as the Seneca County schools in Carey and Hopewell-Loudon killed the tourney runs of their Hardin County counterparts, Hardin Northern and Ridgemont.

It sets up a rematch of the Blue Devils and Chieftains in which Carey is hoping history won’t repeat itself. The Chieftains pounded the Blue Devils in three sets in the regular season.

The two will play Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the sectional final back at Riverdale.

“At tournament time, it’s a totally different story. Records don’t mean anything. You have to put those aside. Yeah it’s nice to know what you did during league, but any team can come out at any given time and beat any team. It’s the team that shows up, is focused and determined and wants it more,” Hopewell-Loudon coach Krissy Lotycz said. “I don’t think we need to take Carey lightly just because we swept them in three. They’re going to be ready to play and they want to win just as much as us. And they want to make a run too. We have to give them a lot of respect and come out ready to play that day.”

There was little challenge for either team in getting to that rematch. Carey won the opener in three sets over Hardin Northern, 25-16, 25-14, 25-19. Hopewell-Loudon’s task was even easier as it dispatched Ridgemont in three sets, 25-11, 25-10, 25-10.

Carey never trailed until the third game when the Polar Bears (9-11) took an early 2-1 lead, and again at 3-2 a few points later. But Carey went on a 13-1 run to take control and started subbing in their reserves. But the Polar Bears started to rally, running off eight straight points to get it back to 20-16 and force Carey (15-8) to call its only timeout of the night. From there a 5-3 run by the Blue Devils ended the match.

“They were that (they let off the gas) when I had to call the timeout,” Carey coach Eric Vackert said. “Anytime I give somebody a chance, I say you have to make the most of it, whether it’s two plays, three plays, whatever it might be. I think they thought we were playing to 21 or something like that.”

Hardin Northern coach Nancy Souder said her team wasn’t only fighting the physical battle with its opponent but also the mental battle inside themselves.

“I think we played the best we could have,” Souder said. “We didn’t play with the intensity we should have in a tournament game. We made some mental mistakes: missed some serves and our serve receive wasn’t very well. Carey served tough at us and they’re a good team. We tend to play mental and think too much about what we’re doing rather than just play the game.”

Despite the 3-0 sweep, Vackert said his team could have played better.

“I thought we played well. We had some moments that were lackluster, if you will, but any tournament win is good,” Vackert said. “We have some things we need to fix by Saturday but overall I thought we attacked the ball well; strong at the net, net play was strong.”?

Shelby Seifert had 15 kills and two blocks and Shelby Kin had 13 kills. They were set up by Sydney Wentling, who had 28 assists. She also had 15 digs and Claire Allison had 19.

While Carey struggled to close out the end of the match, Hopewell-Loudon (15-10) struggled out of the gate as Ridgemont (8-15) led the Chieftains 9-8 in their opener.

“We always start out of the gate very slow. We always shoot ourselves in the foot and kind of get in a hole, just kind figuring (things) out,” Lotycz said. “We had a different lineup to start out with. We had some miscommunications, some kinks we had to work out. Usually after point 10, we finally get out of that rhythm and take control and get in our own tempo. That’s typically our start to every match this season. That’s our story.”

Once they settled in, it was all Chieftains as they went on a 17-2 run to close out the first set.

The second set was more of the same. It was 21-8 before Ridgemont picked up its first kill of the set. It was a microcosm of the night for the Golden Gophers, who had only seven kills the whole night.

A lot of it came from poor serve receive on Ridgemont’s part.

“We came out with some confidence but I think just a lack of experience in this type of atmosphere just killed us,” Ridgemont coach Jill Stover said. “We a major, major mistake in the first set and it just ballooned from there. Then we couldn’t get our serve receive going and then our offense was lacking.”

Lotycz said that helped her team.

“I think we came out strong right off the bat and that was with our serving, just serving the other team off the court,” she said. “That’s one thing we really focus on in our practices: that serve and serve receive. That’s the little fundamentals that can make a big difference and take the momentum out of another team’s game.”

Courtney Burns had 10 kills, 14 assists and five aces. Shelbi Sauber had 10 kills and 16 assists with four aces. Lexi Feindel had six aces in the victory.