Volleyball: Shawnee, Celina notch sectional titles

SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP – Shawnee came into Thursday’s Division II volleyball sectional final against Fostoria, looking to control the match.

The No. 1 seeded Shawnee squad did just that.

Shawnee swept Fostoria in three sets – 25-10, 25-10, 25-11 – to notch a sectional title at Lappin Gymnasium.

Shawnee improves to 22-1. Fostoria ends its season 6-17.

Shawnee came into the tournament ranked No. 5 in the state.

With the sectional championship, Shawnee advances to next Tuesday’s district semifinal at Bluffton University, where it will face Celina. First serve is set for 6 p.m.

In Thursday’s second sectional final at Shawnee, Celina (10-13) defeated Defiance (10-12) in three sets – 25-13, 25-21, 25-18.

In the first set between Shawnee and Fostoria, the score was knotted five times before Shawnee began to take over the set.

Being the top seed in the sectional tournament, Shawnee had a bye in the first round.

“It’s nice to get that first set, and first match out of the way,” Shawnee head coach Brooke Hutchins said. “I think some apprehension and maybe some first tournament game jitters came into play. Our philosophy is ball control and controlling the tempo of the game. I think as the match progressed, we did just that.”

Leading the way for Shawnee around the net was senior Kelly Cooper, who knocked down 13 kills. Junior Lea Rudasill recorded eight kills for the Indians.

Shawnee senior Grace Freiberger, who will continue her volleyball career at the University of Toledo next school year, came away with 22 digs and seven serving aces from her libero position.

Sophomore Karleigh Hutchins, Coach Hutchins’ daughter, recorded four kills. Senior Addie Maxwell ended the night with 22 assists.

“I think we’re pretty balanced,” Coach Hutchins said about her team, which also won the Western Buckeye League title this season. “Obviously, Grace (Freiberger) is a frontrunner in that backcourt. We have a lot of substantial role pieces around her, that she can be confident with and trust to help cover those tips and deep shots. We have that kind of balance between backcourt and frontcourt with (Kelly) Cooper, and some other hitters that do very well, too. So, I thought we were able to control it (against Fostoria) for sure.”

For the match. Shawnee served up 12 aces.

“Controlling the tempo and just being assertive and aggressive with our serves, I think put them (Fostoria) at a little bit of a disadvantage, because they were probably out of their system, more than in their system — forcing their hitters to hit off the net, and not getting clean looks,” Hutchins said. “So, aggressive serving and controlling the pace of the game is where we want to head as we move forward.”

Last season, Shawnee got beat in the district finals by Liberty-Benton.

“We’re going to have to be ready to play,” Hutchins said about moving on in the tournament. “(It’s) one set and one match at a time. We don’t want to look too far in advance, but keep our eyes set on the ultimate prize. I think that will be key for us.”

Shawnee’s only loss of the season came at the hands of Coldwater in the second match of the campaign.

“(Coldwater is a) tough team. It was the second match of the season,” Hutchins said. “We were up 2-0. … We won the first two sets.

“We’re skilled enough to play against the elite-type teams. But the mental side of the game is what we really tried to develop as we came off that loss.”

Celina 3, Defiance 0

Celina swept Defiance in three sets Thursday to notch a sectional title at Shawnee.

Celina controlled all three matches, en route to its sectional championship.

Mylee Sapp led Celina with nine kills. Teammate Ava Knapke knocked down seven kills. Allison Schwieterman had 28 digs.

Defiance’s Karteigh Hoffman led all players with 13 kills on the night.

Match Summaries

Shawnee 3, Fostoria 0

Kills: Shawnee – Kelly Cooper 13; Fostoria – Addisyn Talley 8

Digs: Shawnee – Grace Feiberger 22; Fostoria – Ceegan Talley 9

Aces: Shawnee – Grace Freiberger 7; Fostoria – Jacey Blair 1

Celina 3, Defiance 0

Kills: Celina – Mylee Sapp 9; Defiance – Karteigh Hoffman 13

Digs: Celina – Allison Schwieterman 28; Defiance – Ella Westrick 31

Aces: Celina – Haley Kizer 3; Defiance – N/A