ELIDA — Tiffin Calvert flexed its firepower early against Leipsic and the Vikings never recovered as the Senecas won in straight sets, 25-7, 25-16 and 25-20 to capture the Division VII regional championship Saturday at the Elida Fieldhouse.
With the win, Tiffin Calvert improves to 27-0 and advances to the state semifinals next Saturday. Leipsic ends its year with a 22-4 mark.
“My girls came ready to play that is for sure,” Calvert head coach Lori Rombach said. “We set the tempo in the first set and had to keep our minds and played our game. It was a different game that we had on Thursday against Fort Recovery and sometimes that takes a minute for the girls to settle into that.”
It didn’t take too long for the Senecas to take control of the first set by jumping out to a 13-3 advantage and they kept their foot on the gas and cruised to the 25-7 victory. In that first set, Leipsic scored back to back points once.
For the match, Leipsic’s longest point streak was four and that didn’t come until the the third set.
“I did feel like we had good control of the game the whole time,” Rombach said. “We have some really good hitters, and we have the outsides of Hannah Miller and Ashlyn Jones and then our middles, two freshmen that did a great job (Caroline Lanicek and Cameryn Shook) and Leah Renninger our senior middle hitter came off the bench and did a fantastic job.”
Jones had six kills and Shook and Lanicek combined for eight kills in the first set.
The Vikings did show improvement in the final two sets but never fully recovered from the first game.
“Yea that is what I told them, ‘I wish we could have played the best out of seven,’ because we didn’t get warmed up until that third set,” Viking head coach Brent Newell said. “That first set definitely set the tempo, and we got down on ourselves a little bit and we played better as the day went on but it was a little too late.”
Newell said he changed the defense up in that first set in hopes of dealing with Seneca’s offense but to no avail and reverted back to the Viking defense they were used to playing throughout the season.
“We had a very hard time defensively, and we couldn’t block the ball,” Newell said. “We had a hard time digging the ball because they hit so hard. It was just a lot of things we didn’t do right. We tried a little different defense on them to what we were accustomed to and thought that would be more advantageous for us so set two and three we switched back to the defense we had run all year and had a lot more success digging the ball that way.”
Newell added that he appreciated his team’s effort especially after the first set.
“They don’t give up,” Newell said. “They fight for every point, and it doesn’t matter what the score is. They just play hard all the time and that is why we have a great program because of kids like that.”
For the game, Viking Serenity Siefer had 12 assists and Jocie Hermiller recorded 13 digs. Peyton Heitmeyer recorded three kills and seven digs and Liz Scheckelhoff added three kills and five blocks. Ava Henry notched three kills.