CENTERVILLE — After posting back-to-back hard fought victories in tournament play over Piqua and Tecumseh, the Northmont girls volleyball team fell to Centerville in three sets the sectional final.
Northmont, which ended the season 11-13 overall with the loss, managed to play a competitive first set before Centerville posted a 25-16 victory. The Lady Elks, who captured the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East crown with an overall record of 19-3, went on to dominate the second and third sets 25-5 and 25-9.
“We knew we were going to have to play our best and we knew if we played our best that Centerville had weaknesses that we could expose,” said Northmont Coach S. Jim Smith. “They are just a very experienced team and it was hard for us to put a ball away on them. It got into our heads and we had a hard time finishing the match.”
Smith was pleased with how well the Lady Bolts performed in their previous two tournament matches.
“We battled really hard and beat a couple of higher seeded teams to get here,” Smith added. “The team really improved throughout the season and in the postseason we came together and performed well. That’s all you can ask for. It was good to see us get to this spot.”
Northmont came from behind to upset the Piqua Indians in the first round of the sectional tournament. The Bolts got off to a slow start on offense losing the first set 25-20 with 10 hitting errors. Aggressive serving led to a 25-16 second set win but Northmont let down and dropped set three 25-12. Scrappy defense and efficient offense carried Northmont to a five set win (20-25, 25-16, 12-25, 25-19, 15-9).
Northmont was led by sophomore Shay Heath with 7 kills and 5 blocks, senior Ryanne Stoffel with 28 assists, 14 digs, 3 kills, 2 aces, junior Isabel Stoffel with 25 digs, 2 aces, freshman Daisy Sampson with 15 digs and senior Cecelia Stebel with 14 kills and 17 digs.
“Set three was as poor as we have played all season but set five was some of the best volleyball that I have seen Northmont play. The girls fought really hard to extend their season,” Smith said.
Northmont volleyball pulled off their second consecutive 5 set sectional tournament upset against Tecumseh on Wednesday, October 19. The Bolts started strong with a 23-4 first set lead.
“Our girls lost focus after building a large lead. Our offense started the match on fire,” Smith commented.
Northmont finished off the first set with a 25-8 win but followed it up with losing the next two sets 25-19, 25-23. The Lady Bolts repeated their performance from their first round tournament victory as they controlled the fourth and fifth sets 26-24, 15-9. The key to Northmont’s success was the serve receive performance led by Isabel Stoffel, Cecelia Stebel, Daisy Sampson and Marissa Bardonaro. Senior Ryanne Stoffel carried the team with 30 assists, 10 kills, and 4 blocks.
“Ryanne was outstanding,” Smith praised.
Other highlights include Cecelia Stebel with17 kills and 18 digs, Isabel Stoffel with 26 digs, Madi Glass with 6 blocks and Kara Brown with 4 aces. Northmont will play Centerville in the finals Saturday at 4pm.
“Our team has been improving their ball control all season,” Smith added. “We have noticed the huge improvement in our skill. We have just been waiting for everything to click and it seems to be happening in the tournament.”
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind