NEW MADISON – Two teams predicted in preseason to be challengers for a title in the new Western Ohio Athletic Conference met at “The Battleground”. It was the Trojans who got off to a great start … but the Patriots settled in and fired back to win the first set 25-18 and then won the next two 25-17, 25-17 to take the match.
Arcanum came out fired up and took an early 12-7 lead over Tri-Village in the first set … but it didn’t seem to faze the home team.
“Unfortunately, we’ve tended to do that in the past … not as much this year but it reared its ugly head today. I’m just glad the girls maintained their composure and recovered well,” Tri-Village Volleyball Coach Chris Brewer said.
In the first game of the season Tri-Village was down 2 sets to Marion Local then came back to win the final 3 sets to win the match. It’s that kind of composure that gives coach Brewer confidence in his team.
“I wasn’t overly concerned about getting down considering this is a rivalry game, these girls all know each other, and they come to battle. We scrimmaged them in the pre-season and it’s always a difficult match and they play each other hard,” Brewer noted.
Tri-Village winners of the Cross County Conference last year and a regional qualifying team last year means teams are going bring their best when they come to play.
The Patriots used the experience and talents from all their players showing great balance as a team to get the win.
Leading the way was senior Molly Scantland with 13 digs, 12 services points, 5 kills and 27 total attacks.
“Molly Scantland works hard every match and has such a good knowledge of the game, the best on this team and maybe in the league. She is a smart player who knows where to be, where to cover and is a good server.”
“She has an all-around game and is very skilled at digging the ball. Fans don’t necessarily always look at a dig as the key to a point .. but it keeps the play going or can lead to a kill and our girls feed off that,” Brewer exclaimed.
Arcanum has a good front row, so you have to be able to dig up the ball.
Scantland led with 13 digs, Caeli Updike and Meghan Downing each had 10, Morgan Hunt 9 and Maria Petry 7, which reflects the balance of this Patriots squad.
“Give Arcanum credit they were able to dig some hard-hit balls by Meghan and Maria Petry,” Brewer stated.
Ellie Fout led the Trojans with 12 digs and Reece Blinn had 7.
Tri-Village service game is strong as well and led by Caeli Updike who had 18 points. Meghan downing 13 and Molly Scantland 12. Alexis Wilcox had 16 to lead Arcanum.
Coach Brewer gave special praise to his senior libero Caeli Updike after the game.
“She can almost beat a team sometimes by herself by where she places the serve and how she serves. Even when they get the ball up they’re out of system and then we can use it to our advantage. I don’t have to tell her how and where to serve, she always puts the ball in the right spot and it’s always hard to handle, which makes her a special weapon,” Brewer boasted.
Arcanum though is gritty team and wouldn’t go away easy as they have some special players as well led by senior Taylor Gray who has 134 kills on the year, the 2nd most in the WOAC.
Gray registered 16 kills to lead all players and drew the attention of Tri-Village coach Brewer.
“She is a very good player on the front line and our goal was to use our size to try and block her and score as quickly as we can to move her along the front row and minimize the damage she can do,” Brewer said.
Madi Mead and Maria Petry each had 4 blocks up front. Mead currently has 26 blocks on the year the 2nd most in the conference to date.
The Patriots have a very strong front line of their own with senior’s Petry, Downing and Mead. Their size makes it difficult for other teams to score. On the flip side they also use that size to attack and score too. Petry slammed 13 shots to lead TV, Downing and Hunt each had 6 and Mead 5.
Junior Morgan Hunt drew special praise from coach Brewer, who noted her improved hitting at the net this year.
“She has become another option for our setter to go to and can make a kill. She had some hard-hit balls out there. When you have other teams keying in on Maria and Meghan and now you can throw it to that third person who has as much a chance for the kill as the other two and that is hard to defend and I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of that,” Brewer praised.
Of course, many of those kills can’t happen without have a setter who knows how and who to set the ball and the Patriots have that in Shelby Mintkenbaugh who had 27 assist and now sits at 179 on the season, 2nd most in the conference. Mollie Ericksen had 14 and Fout 9 for Arcanum.
The Trojans with the loss fell to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference while Tri-Village improved to 9-0, 5-0 in the conference.
The only other undefeated team in the conference is Preble Shawne and they will meet up with Tri-Village on October 7th. Franklin Monroe, Newton and Ansonia each have one loss in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference.