By Rob Kiser
TIPP CITY — It is the speech no coach wants to make — and every coach volleyball coach in Ohio but four have to make after their team’s final match.
Lehman Catholic coach Greg Snipes was forced to do it Thursday after the Lady Cavaliers finished at 19-8 after a 25-22, 27-25, 25-17 loss to 19-8 Fort Loramie in the Tippecanoe D-IV regional semifinals.
It was the final match for seniors Madeline Smith, Michelle Duritsch, Marianne Hissong, Adriana Sehlhorst and Allie Hall.
“I know the kids are disappointed,” Snipes said. “But, one of the things we talked about was they won 19 games this year. They should be proud of that. I just look at how they have come from when they were freshman.”
The entire match swung at the end of the second set and Lehman never really recovered.
After losing the first set 25-22, Lehman jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the second set, with three kills by Sidney Chapman and block by Allie Hall.
After The Lady Redskins closed within 8-7, Chapman served four straight points. That included an ace, a spike by Hall and a kill by Maddy McFarland.
A kill by Hissong made it 15-10 and Lehman had a 21-18 lead after another kill by Hissong.
Lehman’s first deficit was at 25-24, but Chapman had a kill for sideout to even things.
Then came the critical point.
After a series of volleys, Fort Loramie’s Brooke Ruhenkamp lobbed it perfect over the Lehman defense and Lehman hit the ball wide on the next point to give the Lady Redskins a two-set lead.
“We had the lead the whole game until the very end,” Snipes said. “We had chances to win the first set as well. We lost a lot of momentum there (at the end of the second set).”
The momentum carried over to the third set as Lehman made numerous unforced errors in serve receive as Loramie jumped out to an 11-3 lead.
To the Lady Cavaliers credit, they battled back.
Hissong had a kill for a sideout and Sehlhorst served three straight points — including an ace — as Lehman closed to 13-10.
The Lady Cavaliers got as close as 21-15 before Loramie put the match away.
“We had a couple nice runs in the third set,” Snipes said. “The kids kept battling.”
The opening set was back-and-forth the whole.
Lehman was as close as 18-17 and 20-18.
A Hissong serve got the Lady Cavaliers within 22-20 and a Chapman kill on Smith’s serve got Lehman within 24-22, before Loramie finished the set off on the next point.
“We had a lot of chances in the first two sets to win,” Snipes said. “We just made too many mistakes.”
Chapman led the Lehman hitters with 12 kills and Hissong added four.
Smith dished out 30 assists.
Madison Hussey led the defense with 17 digs and Sehlhorst added 15.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.