FAIRBORN — DeSales girls volleyball coach Brenden Pence and his players knew they had cleared a hurdle Nov. 8 when they defeated Solon 25-10, 25-18, 25-21 in a Division I state semifinal at Wright State.
Still, they seemed shocked when they heard that it was just the Stallions’ second win in a semifinal and their first time advancing to the championship match in 37 years, since they won the program’s only title to date.
“None of us are that old,” Pence deadpanned as several players beamed.
DeSales, whose only championship came in Class AA in 1982, improved to 26-2 and will play Parma Padua in the state final at 5 p.m. Nov. 9 at Wright State.
Making their first state appearance since 2014, the Stallions controlled the semifinal from the start, taking leads of 10-3 and 15-4 in the first game and 14-7 in the second before Solon got its bearings in the third.
The Comets’ lead in the third game peaked at 11-4 before the Stallions reeled off runs of 9-2 and 13-4 to take command. The third game was tied at 13, 14, 15, 17 and 18.
Maryanne Boyle’s eight kills led a balanced performance for DeSales, which also got seven kills from Avery Boyd and six from Emma Brown.
“We have a lot of girls who can put the ball down,” said setter Bella D’Amico, who had 28 assists and nine digs. “We try to mix it up and I feel confident in every single one of our hitters to get the job done.”
Also for DeSales, Bridget Javitch had nine digs and Brown added eight.
“We had not seen a team that can block that consistently. They are definitely the best blocking team we’ve seen this year,” Solon coach Kaylee Rodriguez said. “I think it was almost a shock factor for us early getting blocked that much and we struggled to adjust.”
Simone Tyson’s nine kills led the Comets, who finished 18-10 and overcame a 3-5 start to make state tournament for the second year in a row.