BATH TOWNSHIP — When Elida and Bath matched up for a Division II volleyball sectional opener Tuesday night, there were no secrets between the two squads.
The two Western Buckeye League rivals met during the regular season, which Bath won in four sets.
However, Tuesday’s sectional clash at Bath did not take quite as long to play out.
Bath jumped out to quick leads in all three sets and went on to win in three straight – 25-20, 25-17 and 25-13. With the win, Bath (10-12) will advance to a sectional final against No. 2 seed Defiance Thursday at Defiance High School at 7:30 p.m.
Elida ends its season 9-14.
“We watched film and noticed where we needed to put the ball,” Bath coach Ginger Stahr said. “They did really well putting it in the right spot. It wasn’t always a hit, but they found the holes. We worked on that a lot this week in practice.”
Bath made a strong statement in the first set.
After Bath took an early lead, Elida knotted the score twice, before Bath finally went on a run and pushed out to a commanding nine-point lead, twice.
Bath’s front line was dominant. Kaleigh Ketcham knocked down four kills in the first set. The senior middle-hitter led Bath on the night with 10 kills.
In the second set, both Ketcham and Mallory Clark got busy near the net. Clark ended the night with eight kills. Also getting in on the action for Bath was Eden Adkins (four kills, two aces).
“Those girls have been consistently hitting very well for us,” Stahr said.
The third set got out of hand in a hurry.
Bath jumped out to an 8-0 lead, behind the strong hitting of Clark and Adkins.
The closest Elida got in the third set was seven points.
“We didn’t have any enthusiasm,” Elida coach Traci Sneary said. “We couldn’t get anything going. Like, we hit balls to the net. We would get a point, and then serve into the net. We just could never get anything steady. That’s the way it felt tonight. It’s hard when you get down 7-0, 8-0 and try to overcome that. Bath played a pretty good game, but we made a lot of mistakes.”
Lauren Engle led the young Elida squad with eight kills and 15 digs. Teammate McKenzie Miller had 11 digs. The Bulldogs have just one senior on the roster – Lindsay Brocklehurst – who was out with an injury Tuesday night.
“They played well,” Stahr said about her team. “I think their nerves got to them a little bit. But, once we were up, they were confident and played really well.
“We played them (Elida) early in the season. So, I was expecting them to come out really strong. I told my girls to be ready. We were ready for it.”
Stahr wasn’t going to look past Elida.
“I wanted to focus on this game. That’s why we practiced and watched film all week,” she said.
Added Sneary, “They are young. They do everything we ask them to do. They work hard. We just can’t get down like that and have to try to come back.”
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