jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Toledo Central Catholic in the Division II
volleyball state semifinals at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.
But the Irish had been down before and used their
experience to come from behind and defeat the Quakers 22-25, 18-25, 25-15, 25-6 and
FAIRBORN – In the regular season Salem lost only three games en route to a 21-0 season. Therefore, it was no surprise Friday when they jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Toledo Central Catholic in the Division II volleyball state semifinals at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.
But the Lady Irish had been down before and used their experience in close matches to come from behind and defeat the previously undefeated Lady Quakers 3-2 (22-25, 18-25, 25-15, 25-6, 15-13). TCC plays for the state title today at 1 p.m.
The first two games were close affairs but Salem led most of the way in both games. Central Catholic led only three times in both games and by only single digits. Otherwise, it was the Scullion sister show. Time after time the arena announcer would broadcast that either Katie or Amy Scullion was responsible for another Salem point. The seemingly ever present Scullions caused the Lady Irish serious defensive problems, at least in the first two games.
Central Catholic coach Melissa Belcher addressing these problems, commented, “In the first two games we didn’t pull out everything on our defense. We were not using the right people.”
Following the second game the situation looked bleak for Central Catholic but the Lady Irish let it be known early that they were not intending to go away quietly. Jumping out to a 8-1 lead, Central Catholic never allowed the Quakers to come within four points the remainder of the game and with Ashley Frazier, their most consistent hitter, serving, the Irish took the games’ last seven points to climb back into the match at 2-1.
“We used the first two games to see what they (Salem) had. We didn’t know much about them and had to adjust,” said Central Catholic’s first team all-stater Ashley Frazier.
The fourth game was never a game. Central Catholic scored the first twelve points and the Quakers never seriously challenged after that. The Irish enjoyed scoring runs of 12, 3, 5 and 4 on their way to a 25-6 match tying victory.
As to the Irish comeback, Salem coach Don Conser, Division II Coach of the Year, said, “You saw three or four different Salem teams out there. We have had a target on our backs since about mid-season and today someone hit that target.”
The fifth and deciding game started out back and forth but after a 4-4 tie the Lady Irish slowly began to pull away. At 14-9 Central Catholic seemed to be on the verge of the victory but suddenly the Quakers caught fire and pulled within one at 13-14. The Lady Irish, however, regrouped and scratched out a 15-13 victory and a date in the state finals.
The Salem Lady Quakers end their season with a remarkable 27-1 record; a 27-1 record in which they lost only 10 individual games all year.
Central Catholic moves on to the state finals for the first time in their history while improving their record to 24-4.
A smiling Central Catholic coach, Melissa Belcher, capsulated it all by simply stating, “It is just increditable.”