Emily Florian, front center, attempts to set as her St. Ursula teammates, Sara Holtz (8), Brittany Fox (7), Sarah Florian (11), Laura Fender (1) and Colleen Slattery (5), look for the ball. The Arrows defeated Central Catholic in the district championship.
St. Ursula Academy earned two more three-peats yesterday and is now two matches away from one more after defeating Central Catholic 15-3, 15-10 in the Division I district volleyball final at Perrysburg High School.
The third-ranked Arrows - 23-2 this season and 78-5 over the last three years - defeated the Irish for the third time this season, the prior time to earn their third consecutive City League title Oct. 10.
SUA also won its third consecutive district title, and now looks for a third straight regional crown and trip to the state tournament in Dayton.
The Arrows play fifth-ranked Elyria in a semifinal 8 p.m. Thursday in a tough regional field at Norwalk High School. The 6:30 semifinal there pits No. 8 Anthony Wayne against No. 7 Rocky River Magnificat. AW advanced yesterday with a 15-4, 15-2 district final win over Clay at Liberty-Benton.
St. Ursula's win over Central (16-9) yesterday was not as decisive as its CL title match, in which the Arrows blanked Central 15-0 in the first game.
But this Game 1 was no picnic for the Irish either.
Central had pulled within 4-3 on Mallory Strall's serve before the Arrows ran off 11 unanswered points. Seven points in that game came on the serve of sophomore setter Jessica Dominiak, who also led SUA with 11 assists.
Junior All-Ohioan Sarah Florian and St. Ursula's only senior, Colleen Slattery, had nine kills apiece and junior Kelsey Hills added six.
“I'm shocked with how well we're meshing,” said Slattery, who recently returned after missing 12 matches with a foot fracture. “The teamwork is there. Being the only senior, this is awesome.”
The second game was much more competitive, with Central taking a 7-6 lead before the Arrows regained momentum and closed with a flurry.
On Florian's serve, SUA turned an 8-8 tie into a 13-8 edge before Irish got a sideout. Central cut it to 13-10, but could get no closer.
“I'm just in awe,” Arrows coach John Buck said of a team that graduated much of its 2001 roster. “These kids continue to rise up and play well. They hung in there when Central made a run, and I didn't see anybody nervous.
“Do we have the potential [to get back to state]? Yes. But so do 16 other teams right now. I'm just elated we're back to the regionals again. We're going to give it our best shot.”
In the following match at Perryburg, Suburban Lakes League runner-up Eastwood (18-6) made quick work of Maumee in a Division II district final, dispatching the Panthers 15-4, 15-3 in just 36 minutes.
Maumee was within 5-3 midway in Game 1 before the serves of senior outside hitter Emily Skibicki triggered an eight-point surge.
After closing that game, the Eagles held the momentum and rolled to a commanding 10-1 lead in the second game, which ended on Skibicki's serve.
“Our serving was the key, and we played pretty well at the net,” said first-year Eastwood coach Amy Rapelje, who played on the Eagles' 1993 Division III state championship team. “This is the time of the season where they're peaking, and it's great. These girls are excited. They've never been to a regional before.”
Senior outside hitter Jessica Schult led the Eastwood net assault with 10 kills, junior middle hitter Whitney Hartman added six, and 5-1 junior setter Karly Loomis recorded 22 assists. Skibicki and senior Lacey Speck each had three service aces.
“I've been wanting to do this since my freshman year,” Schult said. “This is awesome.”
Eastwood will play the winner of the Hilliard District in a regional semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Liberty-Benton
NAPOLEON - Archbold was successful on 94 percent of its serves and 87 percent of its attacks as it defeated Coldwater 15-11, 15-7 to win a district championship.
The Blue Streaks advance to a regional semifinal at approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday at Ontario High.
NAPOLEON - Pettisville defeated Montpelier 15-2, 15-3 to advance to a regional semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Elida High.