MORRISTOWN, Ohio—Through two sets, top-seeded Morgantown appeared poised to capture the OVAC Class 5A volleyball championship.
Senior Kaitlyn Anderson and sophomore Paige Brink were experiencing great success angling attacks cross-court from the left side.
The result had the Mohigans up 25-19, 26-20 over Warren (Oh.) after two sets. Someone forgot to tell the Warriors to stop playing.
Warren battled back and the No. 3 seed captured its first OVAC volleyball crown and only its second OVAC championship since joining the conference.
The Warriors won the final three sets 25-16, 25-23, 15-9, ruining what began as a promising start for Morgantown, snapping its opportunity to four-peat as the 5A champs.
“We came out strong the first two sets and then as the game progressed, we weren’t taking care of the things on our end we needed to and we ended up with the result that we did,” MHS head coach Erica Manor said.
Morgantown started the third set strong, taking a 5-2 lead before Warren started chipping away at the lead.
In fairness, it was more hammering away at the lead as Warriors 5-foot-11 junior Madyson Long started firing powerful cross-court attacks at Morgantown and there was little the Mohigans could do.
“She’s a big player for them and she started making some big attacks,” Manor admitted.
Long finished with 15 kills but equally as impressive was the total disregard for her body she played with. Long dug out more than a few seemingly impossible balls to keep plays alive, adding 15 digs with her total.
Warren won the third set 25-16 and while its players were working to keep their composure, the Warriors’ fans were smelling upset and started getting vocal.
Warren also made adjustments defensively, not giving Morgantown the attack lanes that Anderson and Brink flourished in earlier. It made a point to stick 6-foot sophomore Sydney Starcher in the way. Starcher responded with 10 kills and five blocks, forcing the Mohigans to move the ball around to look for points.
A kill from Starcher ended the fourth set, 25-23, setting up the fifth and deciding set.
Brink hammered down a kill for a 1-0 start for Morgantown, but the Warriors quickly knotted the score and started to pull away behind Long and Starcher.
Starcher struck one more time to make it 14-9 a receiving error on a serve resulted in an ace for the final point.
Morgantown dropped to 21-4 but Manor admitted that it’s better her team get a bad match out of the way now before the postseason rolls around.
“Now we just regroup and get ready for the sectionals,” Manor said.
Anderson finished with 16 kills and 20 points total while Brink added 10 kills and 11 points for the Mohigans. Grace DeVall had 22 assists and 10 digs while Isabelle DeVall had 5 kills and 22 assists to go with 7 points.
BY MIKE HUGHES