Brock Netter, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — For the third time in the last six seasons, Adena and Zane Trace met in the postseason with a district championship on the line.
And just like the previous two matchups (2015 and 2019), the district plaque traveled back to Frankfort.
With revenge on their minds from a lone loss this season to the Pioneers, Adena (21-1) wasted little time and dispersed of its fellow SVC foe in straight sets, 25-19, 25-23, 25-20, on Friday, winning its second straight district championship.
“We really made it a point to come together as a team because it was sort of a punch in the face losing to Zane Trace last time,” Adena’s Ellie Harper said. “It made us regroup and refocus, and we wanted this win even more.”
Familiarity can be a good or bad thing, depending on what adjustments are made and Adena adjusts as well as any team in Southern Ohio.
“This time was definitely different, but it all came down to our mentality,” Adena’s Camryn Carroll said. “We kept the mentality that we weren’t going to lose no matter what. We never got nervous, never thought we were going to lose and we kept that focus all day long.”
Adena jumped to a 6-1 lead behind a pair of kills from Jenna Martin, but Zane Trace (18-7) quickly countered with a 9-1 run, capped by back-to-back kills from Alli Bennett and back-to-back aces from Kinley May for a 10-7 lead.
Later tied 11-11, the Warriors pieced together an 8-3 spree behind the net play of Martin, Sydney Foglesong and Hannah Burns, taking a 19-14 lead.
Zane Trace battled to 23-19, but a kill from Makaela Lovely followed by an ace from Hope Garrison claimed the first set win for the Warriors.
Seizing early momentum, Zane Trace jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the secnod after three kills and a block from Gracey McCullough. ZT maintained the lead until a kill from Harper knotted things up, 15-15.
After five ties and three lead changes, the Warriors got the last advantage at 23-22, after a kill from Fogelsong, before a pair of hitting errors by Zane Trace closed out the set.
Aiming to complete the sweep, the Warriors exploded to an 11-1 lead behind kills from Martin and Burns in the third. However, ZT chipped away with contributions from McCullough, Hannah Hale, Lexi Scott and Laynee Hill, going on a 17-8 run and cutting the lead to 19-18.
“We were pushing to close out in the third set and once we got out to that big lead, we sort of relaxed,” Harper said. “Zane Trace started getting closer and closer, then we pieced back together.”
Despite the Pioneers having all of the momentum, they committed a huge serving error that changed the complexion of the game. The Warriors went on a 4-0 run before kills from Harper and, the final one, from Lovely sealed the envelope on the win.
“Seeing that final ball hit the ground was an amazing feeling. Hard to describe,” Carroll said of the last point.
Adena advances to a Division III regional semifinal on Thursday against the winner of Westfall and Alexander. The time and location of the match is yet to be determined.
“Last year, we got stuck at the regional semifinals,” Harper said. “But we’re older and more experienced this time around. We put in so much work during the summer to get us back to this point and now we want to go farther. Everything will come together, we just have to continue pushing.”