Two young Mid Ohio Athletic Conference teams are still alive in the postseason, and will continue play tomorrow, Wednesday, in Division III regional semifinal brackets.
Pleasant (14-12) and Highland (26-0) have had two very different seasons. The Fighting Scots come in ranked No. 1 and the Spartans have had to prove that a No. 13 team can fight its way to a district title.
The Spartans are enjoying somewhat of a dark horse reputation. Coach Kim Atherton said it took her players some time to adjust to playing in the new positions they changed into.
“We’re not getting much talk, which is perfect,” she said. “We’re the sleeper for everybody.
“We’ve said all along, ‘let’s show them what a 13 seed looks like.'”
It’s their first district title since 1999.
The Spartans have strong attackers in Ciera Greene (258 kills) and Anna Schmidt (222 kills). Lydia DePrey and Hunter Atherton are chasing the 200 mark. Kara Verity, the lone senior on the squad, is the team’s top for aces (50), followed by Schmidt (41). Atherton has shone with blocks and block assists, as well as digging. Brittany Davis leads the team in digs with 367, and is second only to Verity in serve receptions.
Pleasant faces an Upper Sandusky team that will travel well. Atherton said many Pleasant students might be busy, and they won’t be able to make it to Lake High School for the 6 p.m. game.
Still, Atherton said, she is confident her team will fight to the finish, big or small crowd.
“I can say without a doubt, I believe wholeheartedly that I have the harder-working team for the match,” she said.
The winner of the Pleasant-Upper game plays the winner of the Coldwater-Archbold game at 6 p.m. Nov. 2 at Lake.
The Scots hadn’t lost a set since Aug. 27 until last Saturday’s 3-2 win against Bishop Fenwick. Coach Rob Terrill said Highland hasn’t been to regional competition since 1977.
“We’ve had a fantastic season,” he said. “It was hard to predict we would. I thought we’d be successful. We have six returning lettermen, and we lost six last year.”
There are no seniors on his squad, he said — and only three of the team members can drive. They’re young, but they’ve gotten it done.
The Scots will face Bishop Fenwick at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Kettering Fairmont High School. Terrill said his team’s offense will keep the Falcons on their toes.
“We have good servers,” he said. “We’ll keep teams out of their system. We’ll keep them scrambling.”
Kam Terry has over 1,000 career kills, and 480 already this season. She also has 73 serving aces and 48 blocks this year. Carley Gahm and Megan Oder also have had over 50 aces this year.
Brogin Denman has 171 kills. Ashton Terrill has 136 kills and 232 digs. Marlese Ferguson leads the squad in digging with 261, and has received 328 serves.
Terrill said the team set a goal to win the league this year. After that was accomplished, they set their eyes on the postseason. Since all of Terrill’s players will be returning, he said, the future will be bright.
“It’s hard to top 26-0, and number one in the coaches’ poll,” he said. “There’s not a lot you can do to beat those things.”
The winner of the Highland-Fenwick game will play the winner of the Versailles-Casstown Miami East game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Kettering Fairmont.