ST. MARYS — Last season, after a regular season loss to the Bradford Lady Owls, the Lady Chucks volleyball team got its revenge in the D-IX title game.
This year, after a three-set sweep at Punxsy, it looked as if the same storyline had a chance to play out.
Unfortunately for Punxsy, the Lady Chucks were unable to have a repeat
performance of last year.
Rather, it was Bradford that repeated with another three-set sweep of the Lady Chucks to become the District IX champs.
"It's not the outcome that we had in mind, but these girls have nothing to be ashamed of after a game like that," head coach Heather Good said.
"They played their hearts out and left everything they had on the court. When a team plays at that level, you can't fault them for anything."
The Lady Chucks were competitive in each game, losing 25-18, 25-22 and 25-17.
Despite the loss, Good said that the Lady Chucks executed exactly how she wanted them to.
"These girls did exactly what I asked them to do tonight and executed their roles at high levels throughout the match," Good said. "It took every single girl on the court to do what we were able to do tonight, and that is what this team is all about — playing as one heart every step of the way."
Last time the two teams met, Bradford had a lot of movement on the offensive side of the ball, which threw the Punxsy defense off.
This time, however, the Lady Chucks adjusted much better to the Lady Owls' attack.
"Our defense was top notch tonight. We got up well on our blocks, and got our hands on balls," Good said. "Our back row defenders kept the ball off the floor in classic Punxsy volleyball fashion."
Helping out the defense was Emily Reitz, as she posted a team-high 14 digs.
Sydney Phillips and Ashley Reitz contributed six digs, as well.
On the offensive side of the ball, Good was pleased with the job that the heavy hitters did at the net.
"We stayed on the offensive at the net, and we put some really heavy balls through their hands," Good said. "Hailey Brady and Taylor Newcome were able to dominate the net at times, and Emilee States, Bella Gallina and Shaina Painter hit their signature shots to score direct points by finding the open holes in Bradford's defense. The connection between passers and hitters lies in their setter, and Ashley Reitz made that connection click consistently all night long."
Brady led the team with 12 kills, while Newcome contributed eight of her own.
Ashley Reitz led the way with 18 assists, while Ivy Phillips led the team on the serving end with three aces.
It's not the way they wanted to end district play, but Good said she is proud of her team, and she's hoping that they make a subregional run.
"I'm so proud of each and every one of these girls. They have grown so much in the past year," Good said. "It stings, but I hope that it also fuels our fire. We're headed into subregional play on Saturday, and I know we can show the state what D-IX is all about."
Punxsy will play Obama Academy on Saturday at 1 p.m. at ECC.