By Rob Kiser
A week off didn’t hurt the Piqua volleyball team any.
The Lady Indians got off to a fast start, then rallied in the second and third sets to defeat Sidney 25-21, 25-20, 25-16 in GWOC tournament action.
Sidney, the 12th seed who had lost to Troy Monday, will play in the bronze bracket next week (ninth through 12th place).
Piqua, the eighth seed, will play at top seed Troy Thursday.
The winner will advance to the gold bracket (first through fourth place) next week, while the loser will go into the silver bracket (fifth through eighth place). In next week’s matches, the high seed will host the matches.
Piqua jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the opening set Tuesday.
Cassidy Sullenberger served the first four points for Piqua, 10-8 — with Ashley Brading and Ashley Ho recording kills.
Several sitting errors made the score 7-1.
“We hadn’t played since Sept. 29,” Piqua coach Kaila Cook said. “Sometimes, you get those slow starts after that, so it was good to see us get off to a fast start tonight.”
But, in a pattern that would continue, Sidney battled back.
The Jackets had a 20-15 run to get back within 22-21.
“I didn’t think it was a case of us settling down,” Piqua coach Kaila Cook said. “I thought Sidney stepped up their game.”
After a net serve by Sidney, Sullenberger served the set out at 23-21, recording a tip on the first point.
In the second set, Sidney led 3-1 early before Piqua recovered.
Kelsey Magoteaux served three points with Piqua leading 10-8 to make it 13-8, with Mikayla Schaffner having a tip and Ho adding a kill.
Sidney showed its fight again, getting as close as 22-19.
Sullenberger served two points — a tip by Schaffner and a service winner to make it 24-19 and Ho had a kill at 24-20 to end it.
“Sidney can be a tough team to play because they don’t let a lot of balls hit the floor,” Cook said. “I thought the scores from the first two sets showed that.”
After trailing 5-4 early in the third set, Carly Brown served four straight points — aided by two Kyla Blankenship kills.
Piqua pulled away from there and Haley Michael finished things off with a kill at 24-16.
“I thought we played pretty consistent all night,” Cook said.
Blankenship had nine kills, 12 digs and an ace for Piqua, while Sullenberger dished out 28 assists and had an ace.
Brading and Schaffner both had five kills, while Ho and Lauren Williams each had an ace.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.