NEW WASHINGTON - One would think after the last four North Central Conference volleyball titles, this would be old hat for Buckeye Central coach Bill Bonham.
There was the coach talking with the media after dispatching Wynford in four games, fighting back tears when talking of the accomplishments of his 19-2 volleyball team.
"These guys have been playing as a team all season long and there's a lot of people who didn't think we could do what we did this season because we don't have the big All-Ohio player that we've had in the past. When Makayla Agin and Hannah Heydinger left last year, a lot of people said.... a lot of people thought they couldn't do it."
All the Buckettes did was go perfect a 13-0 in the league and while they had wrapped the Silver Division quite a few games ago, Buckeye Central had its eyes on having the best record in the league.
"These kids come in here every day and they have fun. They don't bring drama into the gym, that I know of. They're friends and all hang out outside of the gym," Bonham said. "They took it personally. They put a chip on their own shoulder this year and said 'We're not going to be told that we can't win. We're not going to be told that it was all the other girls.'
"These guys continue the tradition and made it personal," he said.
It appeared it was going to be a quick three game outing for Buckeye Central as the Buckettes didn't trail in either of the first two games.
The Buckettes cruised in the first one, 25-14, and looked like it was going to stomp past the Royals (16-4, 11-2 NCC) in the second game. But after trailing 5-1 and 8-4, Wynford rallied to tie it up at nine. But behind the serving of Maddie Williams, BC ran off four straight points to pull ahead by four and not look back. The Buckettes cruised from there to a 25-16 victory.
"I thought the first game we came out a little hesitant," Wynford coach Tim Baumberger said. "I thought we were loose coming into the game. Not that we weren't focused or fired up, I think they bring out a little hesitation in us. But our girls bounced back."
The Royals had its first lead of the night in the third game. A kill from Paige Brady, one of 16 for her on the night, gave Wynford a 3-2 lead. The two clubs traded blows through 13. But a Brady kill and an ace helped to put the Royals up 17-13. Buckeye Central cut it to 18-16 but couldn't get any closer the rest of the game.
"That's the way we've done it all season. We've had games where it's 7-7 or 8-8 and all of a sudden we pull out and win 25-12 or 25-14. It's their style of play. They've done it from night one," Bonham said.
Wynford led 4-3 early in the fourth but Buckeye Central ran off four straight points to take the lead. The Royals tied it up at seven but would get no closer. Four kills from Williams, part of a 16 kill night, and another four from Sammi Marcum, who had 18, finished off the match with a 25-19 victory.
"In game two we kind of got some momentum at the end and game three we played really well," Baumberger said. "I don't think we played poorly in the game four. I just thought they transitioned the ball better into a stronger offense than we did. ... We did good things in game four. They just did more of them."
Williams had 20 digs and two aces, Marcum had 13 digs and two aces and Kendra Schultz had eight kills. Jenna Delarber had six kills to go with five blocks and Brooke Karl had 27 digs. Emily Weithman had seven kills and 30 assists and Kilee Kimmel had 19 assists and three aces.
Shannon Miller dished out 28 assists for the Royals and Meghan Harrer and Brenna Quinn each had nine kills. Harrer had 30 digs and Quinn had five blocks.