OTTAWA — There will be no area Division II teams in the district finals on Thursday.
Maumee saw to that in the first contest, winning in straight sets over Bryan at “The Supreme Court” at Ottawa-Glandorf.
Bryan had jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first game, but Maumee came back to win game one, 27-25. After that, it was all Panthers, winning the final two games, 25-13, 25-18.
Then in the nightcap, Toledo Central Catholic rallied to top Defiance, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 30-28. The Irish rallied from a 14-9 deficit in the final game to eliminate the WBL runners-up and send Defiance home with a 19-5 record.
“It was definitely hard to go out this way, with a loss,” said Bryan middle hitter Jess Robb. “We didn’t play well today, but I’m proud of my team. It was definitely a good year.”
Bryan finishes the year with a 19-4 record. Meanwhile, Maumee, which finished with a 7-7 mark in the tough Northern Lakes League, is unbeaten outside of the NLL, moving to 18-7 for the season.
“I think playing in a tough league has really helped us,” said Maumee coach Lindsay Vannett. “We learned how to be smarter and to be a better blocking team. Plus, we’re very versatile now. “Our middle hitters have developed, so we’re more than just two hitters now. That makes us tough to defend.”
“We can’t let one game define our season, everyone battled hard,” said Bryan coach Melanie Reinhart. “This game leaves the younger players hungry. They know they have to work harder now, to get back to this point. We did have a lot of serving errors that hurt us. It’s been our Achilles’ heel lately. You have to be able to give yourself a chance, with good serving.
“We knew Central Catholic was capable of coming back,” said Defiance coach Jolene Williams. “They came from behind when we faced them in the regular season and then the other day, we watched them rally from a 2-1 game deficit to beat Celina.The girls fought hard and did not want their season to end. They had a couple of really good hitters and we made some adjustments, moving Kaylee up front and blocked their attacks. We had a couple of net calls late that hurt us, when the girls were trying so hard to block them. In the end, the ball bounced their way.
“There had to be a winner and a loser and unfortunately Central Catholic came out on top. Janelle played great for us today and I’m especially proud of our five seniors. It’s been a pleasure coaching them.”
The setback was the second of the season to the Fighting Irish as one of Defiance’s four regular-season losses came to TCC at the Sylvania Southview Spiketacular tournament on Aug. 31, 26-24, 25-21.
In the fourth game, Defiance held a 19-14 lead. But Central Catholic rallied back by scoring four straight points to cut Defiance’s lead to 19-18.
After a Defiance point off a serve error gave the Dogs a 20-18 lead, Central Catholic scored four straight points to take a 22-20 lead. Defiance rallied to tie the match at 22-22 and the teams then traded points back and forth until the score reached 28-28. At that point, a kill from Madisin Hill and then a service ace provided Central with the win.
“I thought we could pull it out, but when they started to come back on us in that fourth game, we got down on ourselves,” said Defiance senior middle blocker Courtney Daeger. “But we fought hard, we gave it all we had and we pushed to the end. I’m proud of the way we ended. We left it all on the court.”
Division II Districts
Maumee def. Bryan, 27-25, 25-13, 25-18
Bryan (19-4) - Jess Robb 5 kills; Abby Fernihough 5 kills; Gwen Spengler 10 digs; Courtney Whetro 16 assists; Kelly Miller 4 digs.
Maumee (18-7) — No statistics.
Toledo Central Catholic def. Defiance, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 30-28
Defiance (19-5) — Janelle Bryant 14 kills, 43-47 hitting, 12-13 serving, 2 aces, 10 digs; Tori Vukadinovich 25 digs; Kaylee Brashear 11 kills, 30-37 hitting, 14 digs; Jordan Davis 14-15 hitting, 6 kills, 19-20 serving, 2 aces, 19 digs, 26 assists; Courtney Daeger 11-14 hitting, 4 kills, 4 blocks; Kendall Black 12-13 hitting, 5 kills, 17-18 serving, 2 aces, 3 blocks, 5 digs; Abby Elwood 11-16 hitting, 3 kills, 6 digs; Ashley Tettenhorst 13-15 serving, 3 aces, 6 digs; Kaitlyn Parrish 4 digs.
Toledo Central Catholic (13-12) - No statistics.