EATON TWP. — No doubt they would rather have been saying “wait until next week,” but the Medina volleyball players and coaches can certainly declare “wait until next year” with anticipation instead of resignation.
After what the Bees did against Olmsted Falls in a Division I sectional final Saturday, opponents better take that to heart.
Medina threw a huge scare into the heavily favored Bulldogs by winning the first two games 25-23, 25-23, before losing the next three 25-11, 25-21, 17-15.
“That is the best I have seen my team play all year,” Medina coach Jason Schellenberger said. “Some will see it as a loss. I see it as a positive. Everyone’s disappointed that we didn’t win, but we told the team they should be proud to have gone toe-toe-toe with the No. 2 seed.”
Ally Peters, who set a school record for kills in a tournament match with 25, agreed the future looks OK for Medina (6-18).
“We put up a good fight,” Peters said. “It hurts to come this close, but I’m excited for next year.”
Medina spotted Olmsted Falls (18-5) a 4-0 lead before going ahead 10-8 in the opening game. The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run, but from there it was all Medina.
The second game was close the whole way, with neither team leading by more than two points. The score was 22-22 before a bad serve by Falls and a kill by Mallory Gustincic got the Bees to a match point. Kelsey Snider, who led Falls with 23 kills, kept the Bulldogs hopes going, but Peters ended it with her ninth kill of the game.
The Bees played nearly flawless passing and sensational defense to stifle the Bulldogs. Elaina Peak had 45 digs and Gustincic had 41 assists.
Serving was also a strong suit. Medina had only seven bad serves (with five aces) to 12 for Olmsted Falls.
“Serving will win games,” Schellenberger said. “That was what happened with the first two games. We served aggressively.”
Not much went right for the Bees in Game 3. Medina trailed the entire way, but was down only 14-10 before Falls scored 11 of the final 12 points. The Bees owned leads of 7-2 and 14-8 in the fourth game, but the Bulldogs tied at 16 and 21 and scored the final four points.
Then came thrilling and controversial Game 5, which featured 11 ties and a disputed call. Med-ina’s 9-5 lead evaporated when Falls scored five in a row. The score was tied at 14 when it looked as if Falls hit the ball into the net. The officials ruled it a block, and play continued until Snider finished it with a kill.
“We teach our girls to play until you hear the whistle, always.” Schellenberger said.
Katy Bohurjak got a block kill to tie the score for the final time. A kill by Snider and an ace gave it to the Bulldogs.
“Credit Medina,” Olmsted Falls coach Dawn Moses said. “They served aggressively, hit the ball well and played incredible defense. That kept them in it.”
Contact Steve Byrne at firstname.lastname@example.org.