TIPPECANOE – A hush swept through the Tippecanoe gymnasium Saturday afternoon. No. 1 seed Versailles (22-2) was down 8-1 to Purcell Marian. It was a very unlikely start to the D-III district volleyball final.
But, then something happened and that something was Versailles’ outside hitter Emily Bohman. The senior made some plays and offered advice spearheading a 25-8 Versailles run that ended up in a 25-16 Tiger victory in the first game.
“Emily was tremendous,” Versailles coach Jeremy Riley said. “She put this team on her back and said come on. She had some words of wisdom for her teammates and Emily is not going to be denied.”
The first game run led to an easy 25-16, 25-17 and 25-10 win for Versailles. This was the Tigers eighth consecutive district title and sets up a third consecutive regional meeting with Anna. The Rockets beat Versailles in the regional final last year and the semi-final the prior season.
For the Tigers they are looking for a different outcome this season, hoping to break their regional jinx.
“All I can say is we are hoping a third time is a charm for us,” Riley said. “We have a strong team and we feel like this could be our year.”
Anna had a bit more difficult match, dropping Hamilton Badin in four games 20-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-23. The Rockets are the defending D-III state champions and are in search of a third straight state appearance.
The much anticipated game will be Wednesday night, 6:00 at Wilmington High School.
In the match against Purcell Marian, the Tigers held a clear physical advantage. The Cavaliers were looking to use an aggressive game and solid defense to offset the Tigers’ frontcourt advantage. The problem was it only worked for a short time.
After a brief struggle with service return, the Tigers settled down and Purcell Marian had no answer.
Shelby Bey completed the first game comeback giving Versailles a 14-13 lead and the Tigers never trailed for the rest of the match.
Bohman made it 18-14 and it was just a matter of process to reach 25. They finally got there on Brittney Dabe’s serve, winning the first game 25-16.
There were no Versailles let down in the second game, although Purcell managed to stay close at the start, but that too was short lived. Things started to change when Megan Campbell made it 9-6 Versailles. It continued with Bey making it 12-7. From there the outcome of the game was really no longer in question as the Tigers won 25-17. Again it was simply a matter of Versailles being too big and strong at the net.
Now up 2-0 in the match, Versailles headed out looking for the match sweep, they got it. Bohman provided the first run making it 4-1, but it was Shelby Shimp that took it to another level.
The junior libero served the Tigers to a stunning 19-2 lead and for all tense and purposes ended the game and the match. Purcell continued to fight, but the hole was just too deep. Climbing out of it against an opponent like Versailles was a near impossibility.
In the end Versailles won the game 25-10 and the match 3-0, sending them to regional play once again.