By Rob Kiser
TROY — The Lehman volleyball team is back in the “middle” of things.
After having a streak of 21 straight district titles ended a year ago in the sectional finals, the Lady Cavaliers are back in the Sweet 16.
And the opponent will be no surprise either.
The Lady Cavaliers defeated Miami Valley Christian Academy 25-9, 25-16, 25-14 Saturday in a D-IV district final in the Trojans Activity Center at Troy High School.
Fort Loramie had defeated Fairlawn in four sets in the first match of the day, setting up a regional semifinal showdown Thursday at Tippecanoe High School. They will play the second match, at approximately 8 p.m.
“It is a big match,” Lehman coach Greg Snipes said. “It always is. It doesn’t matter if it is regular season or tournament. Fort Loramie has a great program and both teams get up for the match.”
On Saturday, it didn’t take Lehman setter Maddy Smith long to figure out the way to attack MVCA was through the middle — and Marianne Hissong and Allie Hall were relentless all match long against a shorter Lady Lions team..
“It was a little frustrating early on because we had a couple chances to get them the ball and we couldn’t because the passes weren’t where we needed them to be,” Snipes said. “Once we got a couple passes close to the net, Maddy (Smith) was able to get them the ball and Marianne (Hissong) and Allie (Hall) both played really well.”
The only drama of the match came early in the first set.
MVCC scored three points to close within 7-6, before Lehman scored the next 14 points.
The Lady Lions hit a ball long to make it 8-6 and Madison Hussey served 13 straight points to make it 21-6.
“It was a one-point game and Madison went back to the service line,” Snipes said. “All of a sudden, we were two or three points from finishing off the set.”
During that run, Hissong had three kills and a spike, Maddy McFarland had two kills and Ellie Scott had a spike.
“Marianne (Hissong) has stepped up,” Snipes said. “It is great to see. She is a senior playing her best volleyball.”
While the last two sets final scores were closer, Lehman was never in any jeopardy in either set.
Smith finished with 36 assists on the night, while Sidney Chapman had 16 kills and 15 digs.
Hissong finished with seven kills and joined Hall in having four blocks each.
McFarland added six kills and Hussey had 15 digs.
Lehman is now 19-7 on the season.
“The girls don’t take anything for granted,” Snipes said about the district title streak ending last year. “It is great to see them win a championship. They have worked hard. There were still some things we did on defense and serve receive that can’t get away with in our next match.”
Which they will get corrected — because they know who is waiting next.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937 0451-3334.