YELLOW SPRINGS — They’re champs again, or at least they can lay claim to a share of it.
Host Yellow Springs battered defending Metro Buckeye Conference champion Emmanuel Christian in straight sets to claim at least a share of the 2018 conference crown. Twenty three days after defeating the Lions in five sets at their place, Yellow Springs claimed a dominating 25-17, 25-13, 25-16 win Sept. 27 at YSHS.
“We’ve really come together as a team,” Bulldogs coach Christine Linkhart said. “We’ve tightened up and have worked out some of the kinks they had before, and our freshmen are getting used to knowing who goes where and whatnot. They’re really playing well together.”
Serving, blocking, hitting. The Bulldogs did it all on Thursday night, and it wasn’t just one player dominating the court.
“We’re very balanced now. I had so many young players, they needed to play together for awhile. That’s what we practice as well, we don’t want just one or two players controlling the whole match,” Linkhart said.
Junior Tyler Linkhart unofficially recorded nine kills, two blocks and served up one ace, sophomore Emma Ronnebaum walloped 11 kills, had three blocks and an ace of her own, and senior sis Emma Ronnebaum bashed six kills, blocked three shots and had two aces, including the final match clinching point.
Moments after that ace, the Bulldogs team celebrated on the court.
“This is something we’ve been dreaming about all season, because last year they beat us,” Emma Rosenbaum said. “We were ready this year. In practice, whenever things would get hard, we’d tell ourselves that we gotta push a little extra. We’re two very solid teams, we wanted to be the one that went a little extra. It’s been our motivation all season, it’s just crazy to know that it finally happened.”
Lions coach Erin Cook politely chose not to comment on the match. Emmanuel Christian’s junior Sydney McLain, the MBC’s leader in kills with 173, led her team with nine on Thursday. Hard hitting senior Macy Bowshier unofficially had four kills and a service ace. EC fell to 12-6 overall, 8-2 in the conference.
Five of the MBC’s top-6 kills hitters played in Thursday’s contest. Only Troy Christian’s Emily Baker was missing.
Coach Linkhart pointed to a banner hanging from the Yellow Springs gym walls that showed how the Bulldogs had won the MBC girls volleyball crown in 2015 and 2016, but didn’t win it in 2017.
“We won it in ‘15 and ‘16, but we wanted it back,” she said. “We have two more conference games yet to play, but this is the one that we really needed in order to win the title again. Emmanuel Christian is a very solid volleyball program, and we knew we had to beat them to earn our share of the title.”
Yellow Springs (13-1, 10-0 MBC) has a nonleague matche at Greeneview (10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29), then a nonleague home match with Stivers (Oct. 1) before home conference battles with Jefferson Township (Oct. 3) and Dayton Christian (Oct. 4) before closing out the regular season at home against nonleague foe Fairborn on Oct. 8.
If they defeat Jefferson Township and Dayton Christian, the Bulldogs will win the MBC title outright.