By John Bombatch
BELLBROOK — With the Division II postseason tournament draw set for the following day, the Bellbrook Golden Eagles girls volleyball team may have felt they had something to prove in Saturday’s home match with Division I school Kettering Fairmont.
Maybe the voters listened.
The Golden Eagles (18-2) bashed their way to a 25-15, 25-14, 25-17 win over Fairmont on Saturday. A day later, Bellbrook was voted as the no. 1 seed in the Division II sectional tournament, which will get under way this weekend.
“We’re very much a balanced attacking team, but I don’t know if I can say that this one was typical for us,” Bellbrook coach Lynzee Johnson said. “(Saturday night) is our girls’ homecoming night, so I think the girls may have been a little bit distracted by that today. I hate playing on this day, but they did what they had to do and they got the job done.”
Unofficially, Kira Merkle and Mara Neal both recorded seven kills, Abby Crotty smacked six kills, while Kaitlyn Urbaniak hit three. Merkle also had two blocks and a service ace, Neal knocked a service ace, and Urbaniak tossed up a pair of aces. In all, 10 different Golden Eagles players recorded at least a point in the win.
Distracted by homecoming or not, Bellbrook dominated all three matches. The Firebirds never led in any of the three sets, and could manage to tie the stronger Golden Eagles five times in the entire match.
“Bellbrook is a very solid team, and they’ve had a very strong program for the past couple years now. Right now, we’re missing a few key elements, but I think we showed some improvement toward the end of the match,” Fairmont coach Megan Smith said. “It’s definitely a frustrating feeling to wait until the end of the match to fight, but at least we stepped up to the challenge and controlled some of their stronger hitters.”
Fairmont (4-17) reeled off five consecutive points, on jarring hits from sophomores Emmaline Meyer and Jocelyn Leisure to pull within 20-16 of Bellbrook in the third set, but the Eagles closed things out with a 5-1 scoring run to end the match. Meyer led the Firebirds with five kills and a block; Leisure added three kills and a block, and senior hitter Kara Jones finished with three kills.
On Sunday, Fairmont became the no. 14 seed in the Division I Centerville sectional bracket. They’ll open up their postseason against fifth seed Lebanon on Oct. 18.
Bellbrook is the top seed in the D II Lebanon sectional. The Golden Eagles begin postseason play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 15 at Lebanon High School, where they’ll face 11th seed Cincinnati Shroder.