CHILLICOTHE – Casse Mogan knew the Circleville Lady Tigers faced a momentum swing Wednesday.
Or at least that was until she delivered a pair of slams.
Facing two Vincent Warren game points, the Lady Tigers responded to tie the game and used the Mogan kills to win the second set 27-25. The game win paved the road to sweep the Southeast District Division II semifinal match 25-16, 27-25 and 25-22.
“Our team needed someone to step up,” Mogan said. “We didn’t play our best game, but I felt like I needed to step up and take over.
“We knew we only had one more game to win if we take the second game.”
The Lady Tigers (22-3) return to the district championship game for the second-straight year Saturday to face Unioto, which beat Washington Court House 25-15, 25-18 and 25-11 in the first game at Chillicothe Southeastern High School.
Washington defeated Circleville in five games to win last year’s district title.
“Our goal this year is to go deeper in the tournament,” Circleville senior Jill Truex said. “We’re a stronger and more experience team this year and we want to accomplish our goals.”
Mogan provided Circleville with early momentum in the first game, serving six-straight points. The serving streak, combined with attacks from Amanda Wade and Kellie Willis put CHS ahead 8-3 and paced the way for an early match lead.
Warren (16-9) and Circleville fought back and forth in the second game. The Lady Warrior attack was led by senior Alaina McAuley.
She hit back-to-back aces that gave Warren a 9-7 lead and kept the Lady Warriors close with some of her 16 kills for the night.
“(McAuley) is phenomenal and our blocking did a good job for the most part,” CHS coach Crystal Affolter said. “Sometimes we were a little shaky, but the girls regrouped and did a good job.”
Warren eventually earned a 24-23 game point but a Wade attack landed just inside the back line to tie the game. Another Wade hit denied Warren the second game point, and Mogan contributed her pair of crushing spikes to give Circleville a commanding 2-0 lead.
“It would’ve been a little different if we could’ve got that game,” Warren coach Ron Kidder said. “Our girls hung in there and fought hard, but we didn’t play our game.
“ … We made bad passes and didn’t hit the ball well. You can’t have a bad night and continue to be here (in the tournament). Circleville played strong all night and we didn’t show up very well.”
Circleville and Warren played another close game in the third set, but consecutive aces from Wade and hitting from Kristen Walters edged Circleville in front to take the match.
“We knew we had to keep our intensity up and keep playing hard,” Truex said.