Blue Jackets, Senecas sweep their way into district final

PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO Calvert's Hannah Myers makes a return against McComb's Brooklyn Downing during a Division IV district semifinal in Fostoria Monday.

FOSTORIA — It will be an all Sandusky Bay Conference River Division matchup Thursday in Fostoria as New Riegel and Calvert each took care of business Monday.

New Riegel — which lost to Arcadia a couple weeks prior to the Division IV district semifinal — swept the Redskins 26-24, 25-21, 25-22.

No. 3 Calvert didn’t have much trouble with McComb in a 25-14, 25-13, 25-19 sweep.

McComb (16-9) played well Monday, but was simply overmatched. The Panthers led early in the first set, but it was scoring bursts in each game that set the teams apart.

Calvert (23-1) led 12-10 in the opening set and then with the help of three consecutive kills from Hannah Myers went on a 9-1 burst to lead, 21-11.

“We kept pushing to make things happen, but we didn’t know how to cut that off and regroup,” Panthers coach Bob Moran said of Calvert’s scoring runs. “I thought we blocked well again today, but our serving wasn’t as aggressive as it has been.”

After warming up for Game 1, Calvert looked locked in for the second set, racing out to a 5-1 advantage. Zoe Meyer blasted a pair of kills and Ashlyn Jones slammed one as well to get the Senecas started.

However, McComb wouldn’t go away.

The Panthers battled back to take a 7-6 lead after a Alexis Shoop ace. But after the score was tied at 8, McComb managed to score just five more points, while the Senecas began to churn out the kills and points.

Meyer had four kills and three straight blocks to put the Panthers away.

“Monday games are hard and I think our outsides struggled a little bit, but our middles in Zoe Meyer and Hannah Myers dominated,” Calvert coach Lori Rombach said. “They were lights out tonight. Zoe had (13) kills and I think Hannah had like eight kills, so between the two of them they were great.

“There definitely is room for improvement, but I think some of the girls stepped up in ways they don’t normally step up, which is great for me to see. If we can keep working on that and have other parts come together, we should be good.”

Calvert once again started well in the third set with a 4-1 lead, but McComb responded and went back-and-forth with the defending state champions. The Panthers led 17-15 late in the set, but Calvert flipped a switch and ended the contest. Hannah Miller, Emma White, Jones, Myers, Meyer and Kate Rombach each smacked a kill to finish off the Panthers.

“They blocked us really well on the outside,” Rombach said. “I’m glad we got the tempo set from the first set and we were trying to get the pins in it, but the middle was just working all night. They were getting the job done.”

Overall, Jones had 13 kills for the Senecas, while AJ Hemminger tallied a pair of aces and eight digs, Kate Rombach had two aces and nine aces, Emma White dished 35 assists and Miller finished with 11 digs.

The result was the same for New Riegel (20-4) Monday, but each set was close with Arcadia (20-5).

The first set was close throughout as a 10-5 New Riegel lead early was the largest scoring margin. Arcadia led 24-22 with a chance to finish off the Blue Jackets, but Aubrey Bouillon tossed a kill and Jordan Hohman tied the game with an ace. The Blue Jackets fended off the Redskins for the first-set win, which gave New Riegel momentum.

“They were digging everything, but our girls just stayed after it,” New Riegel coach Jon Price said. “We’ve had a little problem in the past of giving up big runs and then folding, but tonight I thought we just kept coming back and coming back.”

New Riegel capitalized off the momentum leading pretty much the whole second set, building a 16-10 advantage. The Redskins cut the lead to 22-20 on a Samantha Burnett kill, but Julia Reinhart and Kaitlyn Kirian hammered kills for the Blue Jackets to give them a 2-0 lead in the match.

New Riegel led early in the third set, but Arcadia took a 17-13 lead later. But the Blue Jackets made timely points late to get the win.

Kirian compiled 19 kills, four blocks and 16 digs for New Riegel, while Bouillon collected 10 kills, 14 digs and 11 assists, Brooklyn Gillig made 14 digs, Hohman had three aces, five kills and a block, Marianna Tiell compiled 22 assists and five digs and Reinhart ended with six kills and four digs.

“I’ve seen them this summer in early July and I said (Calvert) was even better than they were last year when they won state,” Price said about the matchup with Calvert looming Thursday. “It is a big task at hand, but we were the only Division IV team to beat them last year, so we know you show up and play any day and you can win.

“Anybody can have an off day, anybody can have an exceptional day, and that can be all the difference. Even though the second time we played them this year, the scores didn’t end up well, but we led in the midpoint in most of those games. We know we can play with them. It’s not going to be easy. I’m not going to say it is.”