By Rob Kiser
On a special night, in which Piqua and Sidney volleyball teams bonded together to help the Garber family, the ending was not what Piqua had hoped for.
After three straight five straight wins over Sidney in the last two years, the magic ran out this time around — with Sidney rallying for a 20-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-16, 15-12 win in GWOC American action.
Piqua dropped to 7-4 overall and 6-3 in GWOC American action, while Sidney improved to 10-5 overall and 6-3 in GWOC American play.
And while a second five-set loss in three nights was tough for the Indians to take, Piqua coach Liana Michael knew what really mattered on this night.
Before the game, the Garber family was presented a check for $1,000 to help as Piqua volleyball senior Navie Garber’s mom Michelle battles colorectal cancer. The fundraising efforts will continue through the Piqua-Sidney football game next Friday.
“That was the big thing tonight,” Michael said about helping the Garber family. “When the team said they wanted to do something for the Garber family, this is what we were hoping for. And we will continue to do that and hopefully it will continue right through to the football game.”
On the court, the Piqua-Sidney matchup continued what it has been the last two years.
“This is a great rivalry,” Michael said. “Really, it reminds me of the kind of rivalry and intensity the Piqua-Troy football game has.”
And the ending was only different because of the winning team.
For the fourth straight time, the match went five sets.
And despite Sidney scoring the final seven points of the fourth set to force a fifth set, it seemed like Piqua had regained the momentum.
Piqua sophomore Tylah Yeomans had five kills as the Lady Indians took a 7-4 lead — but once Yeomans rotated to the back row, the momentum swung back to Sidney.
Yeomans didn’t make it back to the front row until a Taylor Cavender kill cut the Piqua deficit to 11-14.
Haley Michael served one point to make it 14-12 before a net foul on Piqua ended the match.
“I feel like all six of our rotations are pretty even,” Michael said. “We just had some things that didn’t go our way at the end.”
A tip by Michael and two aces by Garber had raillied Piqua from a 10-7 deficit in the opening game.
Savannah Hulme had a kill for a sideout and Lauren Williams had a four-point run at the service line.
Three kills by Yeomans on Kelsey Magoteaux’s serve would make it 22-13 and Piqua put the set away a short time late.
After Sidney won the second set, Piqua stepped up again in the third set.
Piqua was trailing 18-16, before a four-point run at the service line by Kylie Trissell — including two aces and a Garber kill made it 21-18.
At 21-19, Yeomans had a kill and served out the set, including two aces to give Piqua the lead again.
But, Sidney won the fourth set and Piqua couldn’t find the fifth-set magic.
“I don’t know what is about Sidney, that we just can’t finish a match with them,” Michael said. “That it ends up going five sets. I am not sure what is, there is something going on (when Piqua gets up by a set).”
Yeomans finished with three aces, 21 kills and two blocks; while Michael had nine kills and Hulme had four blocks.
Williams had 37 assists and 2o digs and Magoteaux led the defense with 34 digs.
Piqua hosted Fairborn Thursday and will conclude a big week with the Piqua Invitational Saturday.
“This has been a tough week so far,” Michael said. “We have played 10 sets and came up a little short in both matches. But, we played well at times. It wasn’t from a lack of effort. This kids plays so hard and have so much heart.”
Which on this night, was on display —both on and off the court.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.