CENTERVILLE — One year later and back at the level and location where its previous season ended, Bellbrook accomplished a goal 365 days in the making.
Bellbrook advanced to the Division I district finals with a four-set 25-12, 13-25, 25-15, 25-7 win against Fairmont at Centerville High School on Wednesday.
“We really wanted to make it to that district game last year and we fell short,” head coach Lynzee Allen said. “This was the goal to make it to a district final and now it’s an opportunity to play again.”
Last season Bellbrook made it to the sectional finals only to lose to Centerville on its home court. That game has been used as motivation throughout this season, and almost a year later to the day they are now the sectional champions.
Sophie Davis helped the Golden Eagles take control of a crucial fourth set with a run of six straight points to go up 13-4. Bellbrook was never challenged down the stretch as it secured the win.
Service runs by both sides also dominated the first three sets of the match. Bellbrook won 10 of 13 points on the way to an easy win in the first set, while Fairmont had a run of eight straight in cruising in set two. Strong serves by Gracie Crane and Miranda Lobberecht helped the Golden Eagles gain the advantage late in the third.
Fairmont won a regular season matchup between the two teams in five sets. Allen said that match combined with the team’s other games against top competition were part of the building blocks to get to where they are now.
Awaiting Bellbrook on Saturday will be Cincinnati Ursuline, ranked No. 1 in the final state poll of the regular season, at approximately 5 p.m. at Butler High School.
“It’s an opportunity to play one of the best teams in the state of Ohio and a chance to get better for two more days,” Allen said. “That’s going to be our goal.”
Springboro 3, Beavercreek 1
Beavercreek fought off three match points in the third and fourth sets, but was eventually overwhelmed by the Panthers in a 25-22, 25-9, 24-26, 27-25 defeat.
After a tightly played first set by both sides, Beavercreek’s service game didn’t help matters in the second set as it failed to win a point on its first eight attempts and fell behind 22-8.
“We kind of gave the first one away while they made errors and we made some right along with them,” head coach Joseph Baylor said. “I don’t know what happened in the second one.”
It was a team effort from there in the comeback attempt for the Beavers with Rowyn Dent, Emma Kuhn, Adele McCarthy and Kaylee Reddington combining in different ways to gather more than five kills, five digs or four blocks in the match.
Beavercreek fought off one match point at 24-23 in the third and was able to extend the match from that point.
Springboro led for most of the fourth, but Beavercreek stayed within three points the entire way. The Beavers fought off match points at 24 and 25, but couldn’t keep a final rally alive.
Beavercreek had lost its first five-set matches this season before it won its sixth. Baylor said they wanted a chance at start a five-set winning streak but couldn’t get there in this match.
“Love my girls,” Baylor said. “This group of girls plays hard and that’s all you want to see.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.