DAYTON — It will be an all-Midwest Athletic Conference matchup in Saturday’s Division IV volleyball state championship.
Thursday night, New Knoxville defeated South Webster in four sets – 25-21, 25-11, 14-25, 25-20 – in a Division IV state semifinal at the Nutter Center on the campus of Wright State University.
In Thursday’s first Division IV state semifinal at the Nutter Center, St. Henry won its match in four sets over Monroeville – 25-12, 24-26, 25-15, 26-24 – to advance.
New Knoxville (26-2) and St. Henry (22-6) will face off at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Nutter Center.
During the regular season, St. Henry lost to New Knoxville in four sets.
The last time St. Henry played in the state tournament was 2015, when the Redskins finished state runner-up in Division III.
New Knoxville’s last trip to the state tournament was 2006, when it finished state runner-up in Division IV.
“With the MAC, any team in our league is super competitive,” New Knoxville head coach Meg Lageman said. “We certainly know this game (championship match) is going to be a dogfight on Saturday. So, we’ll definitely have to be ready.”
In the first set, South Webster jumped out quickly on the Rangers.
The Rangers did not record their first lead until they claimed a 12-11 advantage.
In the first set, the score was knotted eight times. New Knoxville went on to notch a hard-fought 4-point victory in the opening set.
Carsyn Henschen led the way for New Knoxville in the first set with 10 kills. Her sister Avery had six kills.
On the night, Carsyn Henschen hammered a total of 30 kills, while Avery Henschen had a total of 16 kills and 20 digs.
Next school year, Carsyn Henschen will be playing volleyball at Duquesne University.
New Knoxville dominated the second set.
Carsyn Henschen led the Rangers with nine more kills, en route to a convincing 4-point victory.
New Knoxville continued to show its dominance around the net in the second set. The Rangers hammered 18 kills in the second set alone. South Webster, on the other hand, recorded just seven kills.
The momentum swung in South Webster’s favor in the third set.
South Webster jumped out to a lead and was never seriously challenged, en route to an 11-point victory.
The Jeeps recorded 15 kills in that third set, while the Rangers managed just eight kills.
The Rangers came out a little more aggressive in the fourth and final set. There were five lead changes and six ties in the fourth set, before New Knoxville finally put South Webster away.
“They definitely kept us out of system,” Lageman said about the third set. “I just told them, ‘We just need to work harder.’ I told them that we needed to play every point like it’s our last. So, I thought they responded well in the fourth set.”
On the night, Ellie Gabel had 51 assists and 17 digs for the Rangers. Teammate Haley Fledderjohann had 12 digs.
Carsyn Henschen added, “We know that every game is not going to be given to you. You have to work for every point, every set, every match. They aren’t going to give you anything. So, I think it has taught us all – growing up in the MAC – that we will need to work for everything.”
St. Henry 3, Monroeville 1
In the first set Thursday night, St. Henry rolled to a convincing 25-12 victory. Brianna Siefring led the way with four kills. On the night, Siefring pounded 18 kills to lead the Redskins.
Monroeville (23-5) came roaring back in the second set. After a back-and-forth rally toward the end, Monroeville finally put St. Henry away, winning the hard-fought second set, 26-24.
Carley Winner led the way for St. Henry in the third set, recording five kills, en route to a 25-15 victory for the Redskins. Winner ended the night with 11 kills.
In the fourth and decisive set, the score was knotted six times before St. Henry finally closed the door on Monroeville, 26-24.
On the night, Grace Lange led St. Henry with 19 digs. Teammate Lydia Werling recorded a game-high 41 assists.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.