By John Bombatch
RIVERSIDE — It was Senior Night for Wednesday’s girls high school volleyball game between the host Carroll Patriots and the visiting Xenia Buccaneers. So when you have seven seniors on your squad, and it’s Senior Night, what do you do?
You play ‘em!
Carroll used almost an entirely senior lineup to cruise to a 25-9, 25-13, 25-13 win over Xenia in front of a rowdy Patriots crowd.
“I thought we played really good defense today, and kept a lot of balls in play that Xenia was hitting at us,” Carroll coach Don Wood said. “We’ve been improving on that every week, and this is probably the best match we’ve played all year.
“It’s not our normal lineup. We played all our seniors the whole day. Those seniors don’t usually play in the back row, but they did a nice job of passing and playing defense. Normally, our liberos are back there, but we decided to let our seniors hit.”
While the Carroll seniors of Abby Schrand, Sonja Kosir, Madison Mustovich, Ashley Shafer, Kate Jefferson, Haley Sliper and Samantha Keller were busy hitting the ball around and keeping it in play, Xenia was struggling to establish any sort of a playing rhythm.
The Bucs seemed to be on the defensive for much of the 49-minute match.
“We knew Carroll would be a little bit up for this one, being that it was their Senior Night, and they had a big crowd that really got behind them,” Xenia coach Jessica Threats said. “But we were a bit off tonight. We play again tomorrow (7 p.m. at Trotwood-Madison), and hopefully we’ll be able to get ourselves into a good rhythm, and finish off the rest of the season strong. But tonight just wasn’t a good night for us.”
Unofficially, Xenia committed 40 unforced errors — a combination of mishits, over-sets, line or net violations, one lineup violation and a service foot fault.
Thirty five of Carroll’s points were from kills, blocks and service aces, and seniors accounted for all but two of those.
Schrand led the Patriots with a match-high 11 kills, Keller hit four kills, served up three aces and blocked one Bucs hit, Schafer came up with four kills and a block, Jefferson and Kosir had three kills each, and Mustovich had two kills and block for the senior contingent. Sophomore Olivia Wright also got into the scoring with a service ace and one kill.
Xenia’s Hannah Propes entered the match ranked fifth in the entire Greater Western Ohio Conference in kills with 177. That’s more kills than Carroll’s top-2 spikers (Keller and sophomore Mary Kate Fleischer) combined. She led the Buccaneers with eight in Wednesday’s loss, and had a block as well. Fellow senior Megan Cain was the other Xenia to record multiple points. She finished with three kills, a block and a service ace.
The Buccaneers may be 6-12 overall, but they are still in first place in the GWOC’s American South division with a 5-6 mark.
Carroll’s Wood was understandably proud of the way his senior lineup played.
“They’re just a wonderful group of kids who are a joy to coach,” he said. “They don’t bicker, they don’t fight or yell at each other. … They’ve gotten so much better at doing the process, and so much better at doing what we ask them to do, coming in the gym every day and doing it in the match. It’s been really nice to have each of them, and I really appreciate how hard they work to improve each time they take the court.”
Wood said the team’s 8-12 overall record might not show it, but his team is getting better with each time they are on the court.
“That’s all I can ask from them. We beat Chaminade Julienne twice this year. It’s the first time in like 15 years that we’ve beat them at all, so we have some things to be proud of this year. Now we just have to get ready for Dayton Christian on Monday,” Wood said.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.