July 2, 2016

Partly cloudy

Special Olympics: Medina team wins state title

Matthew Doyle | The Gazette

COLUMBUS — The Medina County Special Olympics volleyball team has a reputation as always being a state title contender.

That’s exactly what the team won June 29 at Value City Arena. After finishing third last year, the group defeated Clark County and Wood County to bring home its fourth state title in five years.

The team blew through Clark County in the semifinals, winning 25-17, 25-11. Coach Renee Zatezalo saw growth in teamwork, which she believed was much more important than the victory.

“A big thing we promote with our team is teamwork. No matter if it’s good or bad, you give each other high-fives and tell each other good job,” Zatezalo said. “Everybody plays. We had eight members we took. Six could only play at a time, but everyone contributed.”

Zatezalo enjoyed seeing her players put concepts together that they had been working on all year. Every player did something that amazed her and assistant Nickie Zatezalo.

“We’ve been trying to teach Andre (Williams) to spike for two seasons and during that game, the ball came very close to the net. He jumped up and spiked it as beautifully as I would ever want him to, which amazed us,” Renee Zatezalo said.

The team, which also included Jason Prince, Adam Cerny, Adam Biggins, Shawn Glaser, Cindy Mullins, J.T. VanDendriessche and German VanDendriessche, found itself down a set in the championship against Wood County.

“They come back to me and they’re all defeated. They’re mad,” Zatezalo said. “And I told them, ‘Guys, we’ve still go two games to play. Now we’re still trying. Let’s get back in this.’”

Medina County came back to win the next set in dominating fashion, 25-9, and rode that momentum to the win in the final set, 25-11.

“The ability of them to play together as a team, I think that is the epitome of why they win and why they get these state championships,” Zatezalo said. “If you never come together, boost your team up, there’ll never be that team aspect.”

Contact Matthew Doyle at sports@medina-gazette.com.

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