Marion Local had a definite height advantage with three girls 6-foot-1
or taller. Friday the Flyers proved they have a couple more strengths
as well. Behind solid serving and mistake-free volleyball, Marion Local handled
Newark Catholic 25-19, 25-13 and 25-14 in a D-IV state semifinal at
Wright State University’s Nutter Center.
Behind solid serving and mistake-free volleyball, Marion Local handled Newark Catholic 25-19, 25-13 and 25-14 in a D-IV state semifinal at Wright State University’s Nutter Center. The Flyers, ranked No. 1 in the final state poll, advance to face Norwalk St. Paul in the state championship game at 6 p.m. today.
Both teams are nicknamed the Flyers and have a history.
In 2002, St. Paul beat Marion Local in the state championship game.
“Ever since we were little after that game we said it didn’t matter because we were going to be the first to bring the state title home,” Marion Local senior Katie Schulze said.
“We’re ready for it and we’re ready for some revenge.”
Said Marion Local coach Amy Steininger: “It will definitely be a challenge for us.”
Friday the challenge was all Newark Catholic’s. The Green Wave were making their 16th appearance at state, but failed to advance to the school’s 12th title game. NC has eight state championships.
“(Marion Local) absolutely played almost flawless volleyball,” Newark Catholic coach Jeri Helfer said. “And when they have that kind of size it’s hard to overcome that. Our kids were expecting a very good and athletic team and that’s what they were today.”
The Flyers looked every bit like a state title contender against the Green Wave.
Ahead 16-14 in Game 1, Marion Local scored the next six points to take control. In Game 2, the Flyers outscored Newark Catholic 13-3 after holding a 12-10 lead.
In Game 3 Marion Local scored the first six points and was never threatened.
“There were a couple points where we put together runs but then it seemed like they would get a sideout and put us back on our heels,” Helfer said. “We just couldn’t turn around and make another run.”
“We challenged our team to get back the momentum after we got into a couple bad lapses there,” Steininger said.
Florida State-bound senior Abby Niekamp (6-foot-1) led Marion with 15 kills, while 6-4 senior Megan Barhorst (Cleveland State) added seven kills and several key plays.
Laney Warthen had 18 assists for Newark Catholic.
“We were worried about their size and to be honest with you their size didn’t affect us as much as we just made errors,” Helfer said. “They are a very solid team – absolutely, but I venture to guess that most of our points were our own errors.”
“I thought our serving was really key tonight,” Steininger said. “And we got a lot of free balls. We were able to set our middles and left-sides a lot and keep them guessing on defense.”