FAIRBORN — For the fifth time in program history, the Hartley High School girls volleyball team will compete in a state championship match.
The Hawks defeated Mentor Lake Catholic 25-18, 25-23, 25-15 in a Division II state semifinal Nov. 9 at Wright State, improving to 22-6 and advancing to play Parma Heights Holy Name (25-3) in the state final at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 at the same site.
Hartley won its only state title in 2011.
“Defensively, (Holy Name is) probably one of the best I’ve seen,” Hawks coach Mike Rahe said. “Their libero looked very strong. They’ve got two good swings.”
For the Hawks, Chiamaka Nwokolo had 14 kills, Colleen Sweeney had 27 assists and Kayla Malone had seven kills and 16 digs.
“Kayla Malone was the difference,” said Lake Catholic coach Rob Cline, whose team finished 16-12. “I thought she played great. She had a ton of digs and was really good today.”
With Hartley trailing 23-22 in the second set, Nwokolo had a kill and followed with a service ace to give the Hawks a 24-23 lead. Alexa Wilson then closed out the set with a kill.
For the match, Lake Catholic had 25 attack errors compared to 13 for the Hawks.
“We had a game plan and kind of guessed what they were going to do from some things we had read,” Rahe said. “This team has just gutted it out every single time.”Division I
Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 3, Olentangy Liberty 0
Liberty’s perfect season came to an end with a 25-22, 25-13, 25-19 loss to Ursuline Academy in a Division I state semifinal Nov. 9 at Wright State.
The Patriots finished 27-1, while the defending state champion Lions improved to 26-2 and will play Parma Padua Franciscan (27-1) in the state final at 5 p.m. Nov. 10 at the same site.
“Even though it’s not the result that we wanted, I’m proud of this whole entire team,” said Patriots coach Jen Chapman, whose team was making its first state tournament appearance. “I’m walking out of here with my head held high and that’s what I told these girls, that they should walk out of here with their heads held high.”
In the opening set, Liberty took an 18-16 lead on a kill by Grace Clark, but the Lions scored the next four points and never led by fewer than two points for the remainder of the set.
In the second set, Liberty committed eight errors while the Lions had just four.
For the Patriots, Claranne Fechter had 11 kills, Taylor Karlo had eight kills, Logan Flaugh had 25 assists and 10 digs and Maile Steckelberg added 14 digs.
“(Ursuline Academy has) got some good height at the net and we knew we were going to have to challenge them at the net,” Chapman said. “They were in their system enough to get the ball to their key hitters at the right times.”