Mt. Notre Dame volleyball advances to state final

Mt. Notre Dame volleyball advances to state final

Gallery

Mt. Notre Dame volleyball advances to state final

By

FAIRBORN – A defeat can be like an arrow through the heart.

Especially, when losses are about as infrequent as snow in July at Mount Notre Dame. In its 12th state tournament appearance, Mount Notre Dame deflected the Arrows of Toledo St. Ursula on Friday night in a Division I volleyball state semifinal, 20-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-18.

Toledo St. Ursula’s last loss came a year ago when the Arrows’ 2013 season of perfection was ruined by the Cougars, 3-1 in the state final. During this season, Toledo St. Ursula got MND back – winning 25-21, 14-25, 25-19 on Aug. 30 – in the Cougars’ third contest of the day.

As they did in last year’s final, the Arrows took the opening game. MND coach Joe Burke swears it wasn’t in the game plan.


MND students and fans celebrate with their team after winning their state semifinal at the girls volleyballl state semifinal at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio.

“We knew this wasn’t going to be a three set match,” Burke said. “We were fully prepared to come in and play four or five sets because of how quality a team they are. They’re a bunch of fighters. It wasn’t a strategy, but I’m glad it worked out.

Mount Notre Dame volleyball ranked No. 24 nationally by MaxPreps

MND came back to win Games 2 and 3, putting Toledo St. Ursula into a fourth set for just the second time (North Royalton in regional; Ursuline during regular season). The Cougars and their powder blue crowd seemed to seize the momentum after the opening loss.

In the fourth and final game, the Cougar train hit full steam, led by the digs of senior libero Margo Wolf and the kills of juniors Dani Szczepanski and Sydney Mukes.

Wolf finished with 22 digs, senior setter Jessica Towle had 38 assists and Szczepanski racked up a team-high 13 kills.

“I kept getting awesome sets off of Margo’s (Wolf) digs,” Szczepanski said. “I couldn’t be more proud of these girls.”

Now 26-2, Burke and the Cougars return for a 5 p.m. Saturday date at Wright State’s Nutter Center for a chance at their eighth state title. The opponent is Massillon Jackson, which defeated Columbus DeSales.

“They played well in first two sets, then faced some adversity in the third,” Burke said of the Polar Bears. “They fought back from not playing as well. They’re a well-coached team.”

In terms of common opponents, Massillon Jackson lost to Ursuline during the regular season.

Mt. Notre Dame prepares for volleyball state semifinal

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports