The Big Walnut High School girls volleyball team fell short in its quest for its first state championship.

The Golden Eagles lost to top-ranked Parma Padua Franciscan 25-20, 25-14, 25-10 in the Division II state final Nov. 11 at Wright State University.

Big Walnut, which also was state runner-up in 2010 and 1991, finished 25-4. The loss snapped the Golden Eagles’ 14-match winning streak.

“I thought we came out OK, but I think our inexperience of being at this level came through as the match went on,” said coach Ron Lehman, whose team was ranked seventh in the final state poll. “Padua played great defense. We just couldn’t put a ball away.”

Big Walnut led 14-10 in the first set before Padua closed out the set on a 15-6 run. The Bruins, who also finished 25-4, jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second set and raced out to a 7-2 lead in the third set.

Padua closed out the second set on an 8-1 run and held its biggest lead in the third set at 23-6.

“We weren’t reacting to their offense quickly enough,” Lehman said. “It seemed like we were a half step behind the whole time. It was frustrating and we just didn’t adjust.”

Machaela Podraza led the Golden Eagles with seven kills, 12 assists and six digs. Emma Urhammer had five kills, Kelsie Imertreijs had three kills and six digs, Meredith Thomas had nine digs and Sammi Bickley had eight assists and five digs.

Making its first state appearance since 2010 and seventh overall, Big Walnut beat second-ranked Kettering Alter 22-25, 19-25, 28-26, 25-23, 15-9 in a semifinal Nov. 10.

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