ELIDA — Momentum can either be good or bad, depending on which end a team is on.
In Wednesday’s Division II sectional semifinal volleyball match between Western Buckeye League-foes Elida and Bath, both teams found themselves at both ends of the momentum swings, at one time or another.
However, it was Bath that mustered up the runs when it needed them, en route to a victory over Elida in three sets, 25-20, 25-23, 25-17.
With the win, No. 9-seed Bath will face No. 1-seed Shawnee at 2 p.m. Saturday in a sectional final at Shawnee.
Despite sweeping Elida in three straight games, Bath had to make runs in each one in order to secure the win.
“Coming back was huge for them,” Bath coach Ginger Stahr said about her squad. “It’s been a long season and for them to do that is huge, because we haven’t been able to do that at all this season.”
In the first set, Bath (8-14) saw a 24-14 lead shrink to a 24-20 advantage, before the Wildcats recovered and finally put the Bulldogs away.
In the second set, Elida (5-18) claimed the lead early, and went on to lead by as many as nine points. However, Bath came roaring back, behind the strong play of sophomore Mallory Clark, who recorded four blocks.
“She (Clark) has been an amazing blocker this year,” Stahr said. “She’s leading our team in blocks. She’s fifth in the WBL in blocks, and I believe she had 12 blocks tonight. That helped us a lot tonight.”
In the third and final set, Elida finally pulled out to a lead, midway through. Then, down 14-12, Bath exploded for a 13-3 run to close out the game.
Clark had plenty of help around her on Wednesday. Kaleigh Ketcham had eight kills and three aces. Caitlyn Renner had 29 assists, while teammate Kali Armstrong recorded 28 digs for Bath.
“When we play together as a team, we play very, very well,” Elida coach Traci Sneary said. “That second game, we played really well. … We were talking and we were moving our feet. We were doing all the little things. We just kind of let them back in it. When the momentum switches, it’s hard to get that momentum back.”
On the night, Amiah Jones led the way for Elida with nine kills and 21 digs. McKenzie Miller had 16 digs, while teammate Nevaeh Vorhees served up four aces for the Bulldogs.
During the regular season, Elida defeated Bath in a hard-fought five-set match.
“They wanted to win so bad,” Stahr said about her team’s victory Wednesday. “It’s amazing how they hit the ball tonight. The last time we played them, we wanted to tip it, and I told them they had to hit it tonight.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.