YELLOW SPRINGS — The tables were tilted against Legacy Christian from the very start. Playing without their starting setter, the Knights were short-handed and perhaps a bit out of their normal playing rhythm.
Meanwhile, the host Yellow Springs Bulldogs — playing their first match after successfully defending their Metro Buckeye Conference title last week — were at full strength and ready to have some fun.
“The first time we played them (a straight-set Bulldogs win back on Sept. 12), Tyler Linkhart didn’t play. So now she’s in the game, too, and that didn’t help their cause at all,” Yellow Springs coach Christine Linkhart said. And as a result, the fully-loaded Bulldogs attack rolled to a 25-4, 25-14, 25-7 win, Oct. 8 at Yellow Springs High.
With Tyler Linkhart opening the match from the service line, Yellow Springs charged out to a 4-0 first set lead. Linkhart, a future addition to the Wittenberg University women’s volleyball program, finished the evening with match-best totals of nine service aces and six kills. Seven of her kills came in a 13-0 run to start the third set.
“We had already wrapped up the conference championship, so they were able to freely play the game and have some fun, without any pressure,” coach Linkhart said.
Bulldog teammate Emma Ronnebaum unofficially finished with five service aces and four kills, and Angelina Smith finished with three aces and three kills, to help lead Yellow Springs to a 17-1 overall record, and a perfect 12-0 finish in Metro Buckeye Conference play.
Somehow despite their near perfect record, Yellow Springs emerged as a No. 6 seed in the Division IV Covington 1 Bracket of the postseason sectional tournament. They have a first-round bye, then will face either No. 10 seed Pleasant Hill Newton or No. 4 Jackson Center on Oct. 19.
Yellow Springs will see Newton a bit earlier as well. The two teams are scheduled to play at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Newton High for the Bulldogs’ final regular season match.
LCA coach Amy Pickens knew the match would be tough for her Knights. Just the “Knight” before, the team’s regular starting setter — Kaitlyn Crawford — suffered a concussion in a match against Middletown Madison. As a result, several Legacy Christian players were forced into roles they weren’t as accustomed to playing.
“For us to be down a player, our only setter, it was a tough task for us today,” Pickens said. “But these girls, I’m very proud of them. They played positions that they’ve never played, and they tried to make it work. And there was evidence that they were able to sometimes make it work, in that second set. But Yellow Springs has some very formidable players.
“We’re young and are kinda missing some key components. It is what it is, but that’s okay, because that’s how you get better.”
In that second set, the host Bulldogs had held a 12-8 lead when Legacy battled to a long rally to take a point on a Springs error, Layne Burke came up with a solo block for another point, a Bulldog hit a shot into the net, and then Meriya Angel hit a kill from the left side for a brief 13-12 Knights lead.
But Yellow Springs then closed out the set with a 13-1 run.
Legacy Christian (7-10) will host Dayton Ponitz for its final regular season match at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 in Xenia. A No. 4 seed in th eD-IV Reading Bracket, Legacy Christian will take on Middletown Christian in the tournament’s opening round, Oct. 15.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.