ELIDA — For the longest time, Celina has owned Elida in volleyball and when the visiting Bulldogs took the first game 25-20, it appeared that trend was going to continue Thursday night.
However, Elida regrouped and rallied to snare the next three sets, 25-21, 25-22 and 25-11, to capture the match, 3-1 over Celina in a Western Buckeye League clash at Elida High School.
With the win, Elida improves to 2-1 in the WBL and 7-5 on the season. Celina suffers its first league loss and falls to 2-1 and 5-6 overall.
Elida head coach Traci Sneery said Celina always has a talented team and she could not remember the last time they beat them.
“Celina is always a tough team and I knew that coming in and it has been a long, long time since we have beaten them. I can’t tell you the last time we have beaten them so I am going to enjoy this one and then we have Defiance next week.”
Sneery added after that first-set loss she told the squad to keep working because she said the team has a tendency of hanging their heads this year.
“I told them ‘hey you are going to make mistakes so keep on working and keep on moving and keep doing what you are doing and it will be OK,’” Sneery said. “They rallied well and started playing as a team and hustling better and killing the ball.”
Elida sophomore Kylie Vorhees led the team in kills with 16 and Rachel Mitchell added 10. Evelyn Frueh and Addyson Freeman recorded seven each.
Celina head coach Amy Sutter said this is one of the best team Elida has fielded in years and the team’s downfall was due to the team’s inconsistency which is expected from a young squad.
“It was our own errors which has been a problem for us all season,” Sutter said. “Inconsistency and a failure to capitalize when we have leads and to somehow stay hungry and confident and to keep after it instead of letting them back in the game.”
Sutter added that she didn’t know if it was their inexperience but she said it definitely was a confidence thing.
“We are either overly aggressive or overly cautious. Right now I think we are own worst enemy,” Sutter said. “I thought in the first two sets we played OK. Our passing was like seriously on the money and in the third set we gradually let up and in the fourth set we weren’t covering very well and we weren’t playing very well.”
Elida got some tremendous defensive efforts from its front lines as they continually came up with big blocks. Rachel Mitchell, Freeman and Vorhees spearheaded the effort at the net. Mitchell was credited with two blocks.
Not to be overlooked was the tremendous play of Kenzie Miller who manufactured clutch digs for Elida. On the night, Miller had 30 digs. Cadence Miller produced 20 digs and added 36 assists.
Finishing proved to be difference in Elida capturing the win and it was Elida’s experience over Celina’s enthusiasm that propelled the black and orange to the win.
In game one, Celina came back after being down 17-12 to secure the victory after outscoring Elida 13-4 down the stretch and in game two Celina, perhaps with a little confidence, owned a 17-12 lead.
But this time it was Elida which snatched away the momentum and kept their composure down the stretch to race past Celina and secure the 25-22 victory when Elida’s Vorhees, who had seven kills in the set, spiked a hot smash to secure the victory.
The third set was a see-saw battle with neither team owning more than a four-point lead but down the stretch it Elida who pulled away to win, 25-22.
By the fourth set, Elida was brimming with confidence while Celina’s seemed shaken as the home Bulldogs broke out to a 13-3 advantage and never looked back.
In the loss, Celina’s Maria Lutz had 10 kills and Kayla Brunswick added nine.