DAYTON — Mistakes were costly for both teams, during Wednesday night’s nonleague girls volleyball battle between Xenia and Dayton Carroll. But those mistakes cost Xenia in a bigger way.
Xenia (1-1) came within five points of winning crucial sets three times, but late-game errors earned Carroll (1-0) an eventual 26-24, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22 win in a sweltering Carroll gymnasium. The Patriots earned the win, but neither coach was particularly satisfied with their team’s level of play.
“Capitalizing on errors seemed to be the biggest factor in this match,” Carroll coach Seth Wilson said. “There were a lot of errors by both team, but I think the outcome was determined by the team that made the least.”
Unofficially, Xenia coughed up 60 unforced errors and had 13 service errors. At the same time, Carroll came up with 33 unforced errors and had 15 service errors.
The first set saw Xenia lead 24-22, only to see Carroll’s Sam Keller record a block and then a kill on back to back plays to tie things up. Julia Farrell then served up a go-ahead ace serve, and then a Buccaneers double-hit enabled the Patriots to claim the 26-24 win.
Carroll held a 22-19 advantage in the second set, only to squander the lead with four errors. Xenia’s Deborah Michalski hit one of her team-high 17 kills to make it 22-20 in Carroll’s favor. MiKayla Hand dinked over a score for Xenia, then a Carroll carry, wide-right hit, missed set, and a deep hit gave Xenia the 25-22 second-set win.
The third set was all even at 22-all when Xenia hit a shot wide left out of bounds, hesitated and failed to return an ace serve by Carroll’s Taylor Waggoner, then bumped a shot deep, to give Carroll a 25-22 win.
The two teams were all even at 22-all in the fourth set when Waggoner served out the match, capitalizing on three straight Buc miscues.
“We had too many service errors. Even when it was just 12-10 early on in the match, we’d already given them six of those points on errors. I think that was ultimately the difference in this match,” Xenia coach Jessica Threats said. “We’re fairly young. A lot of the players I have this season were sophomores who are back as juniors. There’s not as many substitutes, so I try and emphasize that we focus on the next point.
“Service errors. That’s something we can control. We have to focus that all the time, and control the controllables.”
Threats said Kirsten Shelley and Makena Farrell both played well in the back court.
“They did a nice job of getting after balls and digging them out. And I thought Deborah Michalski did a nice job for us hitting. She’s really stepped up offensively for us, and I thought Hannah Propes did a nice job with her serves (three aces).
Michelle Bruns led Carroll’s senior dominant lineup with nine kills and six blocks, unofficially.
Carroll takes its season opening win into Bellbrook on Saturday for a tri-match with the host Golden Eagles (at 10 a.m.) and then a match with Huber Heights Wayne (at noon).
Xenia hosts Sidney for a Greater Western Ohio Conference divisional crossover match at 7 p.m. tonight at Xenia High. They’ll then host Xenia Christian on Monday.
(John Bombatch is sports editor for the Greene County Newspapers.)