OTTAWA — Two points from elimination.
Down two sets, Leipsic was tied with Miller City 23-23, in the third game and facing the end of its season. But the Vikings rallied to get the next two points and then rallied to secure the next two sets to defeat the Wildcats, 3-2, to garner the Division IV district title Thursday.
Leipsic won 21-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-14 and 15-9.
With the win Leipsic advances to Pioneer North Central, a 25-11, 19-25, 19-25, 25-15, 15-9 winner against West Unity Hilltop, in the regional semifinals Thursday at Elida High School. Miler City ends its season with an 19-5 mark.
Leipsic head coach Brent Newell was at a loss for words.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Newell said. “When you get into tournament time all you try to do is win, and I am super proud of this time finding a way to win. It has been like that all season just finding a way to win and especially in the league this year.”
This marks the second time Leipsic defeated Miller City 3-2 this year.
In addition to coming back down two sets, Leipsic also had to make a comeback in the fifth set when Miller City jumped out to a 5-2 lead, however, the Vikings regrouped and tied it at 8-8 before going on a 7-1 run to end the game and secure the match.
“it was very memorable for them to be down 0-2 and a home game and go out like that,” Newell said. “It was special for this group. We were on life support so like I said we just fight and find a way to win. That is what is what we did and that is what we do. Kudos to Miller City for getting up 2 sets but I just like our fight for winning that third set. They could have gone down 0-2 and thrown in the towel and give up and be lackadaisical but they work hard and I appreciate that.
Miller City head coach Kari Wenzinger said she came out with a new strategy and new libero in order to counter the potent Leipsic attack and it appeared the moved paid off when the Wildcats won two thrilling first sets.
“I think we spent a lot of time in the last week coming up with a rotation and I couldn’t be happier with our showing,” Wenzinger said. “Leipsic started digging and hitting and then it got a little bit harder and they came alive.”
Wenzinger added that her team did well with serve receive in the first two games but faltered in the final three sets.
“Towards the end when we started losing, the serve receive and it started falling and it is hard to get hits when serve receives aren’t where they are supposed to be and it just starts to trickle down,” Wenzinger said. “I still felt we played pretty aggressive.”
In the contest Leispic’s Casey Brough finished with 21 kills and three blocks and Peyton Heitmeyer recorded 18 kills and 20 digs. Liz Scheckelhoff added 14 kills.
Viking setter Serenity Siefer got a school record with 63 assists, and she also made nine digs and teammate Jocie Hermiller made some incredible saves and finished with 35 digs.
For Miller City, Abi Lammers notched 25 kills, 32 digs and three blocks and Abi Teders had 12 kills, four blocks and two aces. Lexi Banks had nine kills and two aces and Tess Oedy had 37 digs and Adi Niese had 22 digs and one ace.
Wildcat Adrienne Kuhlman had 47 assists, three blocks, 13 digs and two aces.