By Rob Kiser
CENTERVILLE — It may have not been the ending Liana Michael hoped for in her first season as Piqua volleyball coach.
But, there is no question the Lady Indians made some strides along the way.
Piqua finished the season at 15-8 after a marathon loss to Northmont 16-25, 25-20, 12-25, 25-19, 15-9 in Centerville D-I sectional match.
It was the final match for seniors Jordan Booker, Ashley Brading and Ashley Ho.
“We are going to miss the senior leadership,” Michael said. “But, I think we are going to have a number of girls who step up and provide that (next year and in the off-season).”
Monday, proved to be an up-and-down match.
Piqua got off to a fast start in the opening set.
Leading 12-11, the Lady Indians began to pull away.
After a sideout, Ashley Ho, Ashley Brading and Lauren Williams all had kills on Williams’ serve to increase the lead to 16-11.
An ace by Brading extended the lead to 18-13.
Tylah Yeomans had a kill to make it 22-16 and Savannah Hulme finished it off at 24-16 with a kill on Kelsey Magoteaux’s serve.
In the second set, Northmont opened up a 22-13 lead behind the hitting of Kara Brown and Cecilia Stebel.
Haley Michael had a block and Mikayla Schaffner and Yeomans had kills to get Piqua within 22-16 on Magoteaux’s serve, before the T-Bolts scored three points to end it.
“We got off to a good start in the first set,” Michael said. “I am not really sure what happened in the second set.”
Again, Piqua turned things around in the third set, cruising to a 25-12 win.
The Lady Indians were trailing 7-6, before running off 13 unanswered points, 12 on Yeomans serve.
She had an ace during the run and Hulme had two kills, with Michael and Brading each adding one as Northmont couldn’t recover.
“They couldn’t touch us in the third set,” Michael said. “We really played well.”
Following a service point by Magoteaux, Piqua had a 13-11 lead in the fourth set.
But, Northmontscored five straight points and never looked back to take the set 25-19.
It was back-and-forth early in the fifth set.
Ho, Mikayla Schaffner and Michael all had kills for sideouts to keep the match even.
Brading and Hulme had kills to get Piqua within 7-6.
But, led by the hitting of Stebel, Northmont went on a 6-1 run and Piqua never recovered.
Ho had a kill and tip to get Piqua within 13-9, but Northmont answered with two points to end the match and Piqua’s season.
“We couldn’t stop her,” Michael said about Cecilia Stebel. “Our defense broke down, both front row and back row. We played good volleyball for four and a half sets.”
Ho had three stuff blocks and eight kills, while Mikayla Schaffner also had eight kills and Yeomans and Brading each had seven.
Brading added three aces, while Macie Schaffner had 17 assists and Williams added 13.
Yeomans led the defense with 38 digs and Magoteaux had 24.
“We played some great volleyball at times,” Michael said. “Even from where we were a week or two ago. We have done a lot of growing the last couple of months and did a lot of good things.”
Which is why she saw Monday not so much as the end, but the start of a promising future.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.