Jackson Center looking for fifth district title in six years; Tigers ranked No. 2 in state in D-IV

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Jackson Center Volleyball
A close look at the Jackson Center volleyball roster and it
appears the Tigers are a year ahead of schedule. Despite having only
three seniors, Jackson Center is 20-3 and No. 2 in the latest Division
IV state coaches poll. JC is riding
an 11-game win streak and hasn’t dropped a contest since losing to Lima
Central Catholic on Sept. 15. The Tigers roster is littered with underclassmen.


SIDNEY – A close look at the Jackson Center volleyball roster and it
appears the Tigers are a year ahead of schedule. Despite having only
three seniors, Jackson Center is 20-3 and No. 2 in the latest Division
IV state coaches poll. JC’s roster is littered with underclassmen.

On Saturday the Tigers opened D-IV tournament play at Sidney with a
25-4, 25-3 and 25-3 rout of Dayton Jefferson. It was the first step in
what the Tigers hope is a long tournament run. Currently JC is riding
an 11-game win streak and hasn’t dropped a contest since losing to Lima
Central Catholic on Sept. 15.

The Tigers return to action Tuesday against Bradford in a sectional final.

“You have to jump in with both feet when the tournament starts,” JC
coach Kim Metz said. “Every game now has to be your best game.”

For the last few years when people talked about Shelby County League
volleyball they talked about Anna and for good reason. Last season the
Rockets ran through the conference on their way to a D-III state title.
But now the Rockets are sharing the stage with the Tigers. The two
teams tied for the SCL title at 11-1. After losing to Anna in four
games early in the season, Jackson Center made a statement on Oct. 2
with a three-game sweep in the rematch. The Tigers other loss is to No.
1 ranked Marion Local.

“We shared the crown with Anna,” Metz said. “They beat us at home
and then we turned around and beat them on their court a few weeks ago.
It is extremely huge to beat Anna. The team performed so well and
really covered the floor.”

Metz is hoping the win can catapult her team to better things. Even
though there is not a lot of senior leadership, after 23 games Jackson
Center is an experienced and tested team. But more important the girls
work well together and just enjoy being around each other.

“These kids are friends off the court and it is so much easier to coach a team like this,” Metz said.

Leading the Tigers is outside hitter Casey Gates, who as a sophomore
is an established and feared hitter. Joining Gates is Allissa Ware, who
provides another crucial option for the Tigers.

“Two players that we really rely on are Allissa and Casey,” Metz
said. “Those two players want to get the job done and are very
dependable. They have had dreams of playing volleyball since they were
in elementary school.”

Like any volleyball team, the hitters upfront get all the press, but it is the setters and back row players that make a team go.

For Jackson Center, it’s motor is powered by Bethany Hoehne and Cortnee Sosby.

“I rely a lot on my setters Bethany and Cortnee,” Metz said. “They
are both juniors and know how to run the court. They just know what to
expect and what I want from them on the floor.”

Something that makes the Tigers a lot different than other
successful squads is height. Metz doesn’t have the traditional front
row, but they make up for it with determination and placement. Tara
Spicer (5-foot-8) plays the middle for Metz and is an efficient player
who understands how to win.

Like all great teams, the Tigers also have a solid supporting cast that allows Metz to utilize the squad’s depth.

“My supporting cast is just waiting to get on the floor,” Metz said.
“I have real cast of characters just waiting and they know what to do.”

Jackson Center is looking for its fifth district title in six years.
The Tigers were district champions in 2002-05 and finished runner-up
last season to Fort Loramie.

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