PARMA HTS. — Losses always sting in the tournament, but they don’t hurt quite as much when a volleyball team leaves everything it had on the court.
Buckeye did that and then some in its opener at the Holy Name Division II Sectional on Tuesday night.
Katie Galaszewski fired a career-high 19 kills and Becky D’Amico added eight as the Bucks fought off four match points before dropping a 25-22, 17-25, 25-20, 33-31 decision to Fairview.
The 64 points in the fourth game were the sixth most in Medina County history, and the second-highest total in the postseason — only trailing the 72 scored by North Royalton and Highland at the 2009 Strongsville Division I Sectional.
“I am extremely proud of the way our girls battled tonight,” said Buckeye coach Brittany Morris, whose ninth-seeded squad finished 10-12.
“They fought tooth and nail the entire match and played every point like it was the last point of the season. That’s all I could ask from them, especially in the tournament when everything is on the line.”
All-Gazette setter Galaszewski led that effort in amassing a match-high 19 kills, 16 assists, 24 digs and three aces. The 5-foot-6 sophomore displayed incredible stamina and heart in becoming the first player in county playoff history to reach those numbers.
Galaszewski also logged 84 hitting attempts and made 56 sets while seeing time at every spot except middle blocker.
“I don’t know what we would do without Katie because she does everything for us,” Morris said. “If there was a ball that needed to be played anywhere tonight, she got to it. And when we needed someone to terminate the ball, she found a way to do that. It was just a tremendous performance by her.”
Galaszewski had kills in the decisive fourth game with the Bucks trailing 24-23 and 29-28, while sophomore middle hitter D’Amico scored the equalizing block/kill with them down 28-27.
D’Amico and sophomore outside hitter Mary Spengler earned potential game points with kills for Buckeye, as did junior outside hitter Amy Esker with an ace.
“I couldn’t even hear my teammates because the fans were so loud when we were going back and forth at the end,” Galaszewski said. “It was crazy because you were nervous, but at the same time, you were out of breath from playing so hard.
“No one was willing to let anything hit the floor, which is why it was so much fun to be a part of.”
The seventh-seeded Warriors (18-5), however, had too much firepower to be stopped. They erased a 31-30 deficit with three consecutive points, ending the 110-minute match on a back-row kill from outside hitter Sammie Anderson.
Anderson finished with 14 kills and three aces, while outside hitter Sarah Haagensen had seven of her 12 kills in the final game for Fairview. Setter Marisa Rinehart dished out a match-high 40 assists.
The Warriors won the kill battle 52-46, but the Bucks had 18 aces to six by Fairview. Esker delivered a match-high six aces, while junior setter Maggie Calame had five aces and 16 assists.
“We played really hard and we played together out there, which hasn’t always been the case,” Galaszewski said. “Honestly, I still feel like we were the better team, but we just didn’t win the match. We will learn from this and use it as motivation for next season.”
Sophomore outside hitter Stacie Mercurio had all six of her kills in the second game for Buckeye, which also received 18 digs and 14 service points from Esker.
Senior defensive specialist Maddie Gregor and junior libero Emily Vozar also played inspired in combining for 24 digs.
“That’s why I love those girls,” Morris said. “Maddie and Emily always give 110 percent, sacrificing themselves in order to keep points alive. The type of effort they have provided is going to keep us moving forward as a program next year.”
Buckeye beat Fairview in four games in a Patriot Athletic Conference match on Sept. 3. Galaszewski also recorded a triple-double in that match with 10 kills, 13 assists, and 12 digs.
• The Warriors finished second in the Stripes Division with a 12-4 record, while the Bucks were fourth in the Stars Division at 10-6.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.