Wapakoneta Redskins junior Lea Stoner (22), left, attempts a kill Thursday against the Celina Bulldogs in a Division II sectional volleyball semifinal at Lima Senior High School in Lima. (Staff photo/Jessica Crawford)
LIMA — The Wapakoneta Redskins improved from their first match this season against the Celina Bulldogs but their effort Thursday was still not enough to gain a win.
Celina beat Wapak in three games Thursday in a Division II Northwest District volleyball sectional semifinal at Lima Senior High School in Lima.
Celina soundly defeated Wapak in three games during the two teams’ Western Buckeye League match Sept. 19, with scores of 25-10, 25-15 and 25-11.
Celina was the co-champion of the WBL this season.
The Bulldogs posted winning scores of 25-22, 25-18 and 25-15 in Thursday’s match.
Bulldog senior Katie Kuhn helped Celina jump to an early lead with five straight serves to take the lead 5-0 before serving it into the net to give Wapakoneta junior Sarah Horman her first chance to put the Redskins on the board.
Wapakoneta won the rally point but lost the ball on Horman’s second serve. From there, Celina and
Wapakoneta traded points until the Bulldogs were on top 11-6. When Celina pushed the first set lead to 11, it looked like the teams would be changing sides quickly.
Celina had the set point, up 24-13, when Wapakoneta began a 10-point rally. Down 24-22, the Redskins lost the rally serve, dropping the first set 25-22.
The second set was more evenly matched from the start.
Wapakoneta stayed within three most of the match. Celina built upon an 19-16 lead with four straight points, allowing just two from Wapakoneta, to win the second set 25-18.
In the third and final set, Celina went on several scoring streaks including a 4-point run to go up 10-6 and another 4-point run later in the match to go up 19-12. In the end, leading 20-15, the Bulldogs scored five straight to win the set 25-15, taking the match 3-0.
“The girls played a very strong match tonight, all three sets,” Wapak varsity coach Amy Ruppert said. “We limited our service errors and our net play was strong.
“It was only our second match at full health so that was positive,” she said.
The Redskins dealt with injury and illness issues the majority of the season. Thursday’s match was just their second toward the end of the season with their entire lineup intact.
Josie Miller had 13 blocks, and Lea Stoner 12 to pace the Redskins. Stoner added six kills, as did Erin Schnell.
Wapak’s Jadyn Nuss had 34 digs and received 23 serves.
Schnell tallied nine service points.
Their loss Thursday ended the Redskins’ season for 2013.
Wapak finished with a 7-15 overall, was 1-8 in the WBL and placed eighth in the league.
The team had a 6-1 start to open the season before experiencing a tough stretch in the schedule and before the injuries plagued their development.
“Unfortunately, the record doesn’t reflect the hard work and effort the girls put in,” Ruppert said. “Due to injuries, for much of the season we had to put girls in positions they were not used to. At the high school level, you hope they can play all the way around. But they played hard in those positions they weren’t comfortable in.
“We wish our record was better but nobody gave up,” she said.
Six seniors — Lyndsi Whitmore, Alexis Schwartz, Haley Armstrong, Schnell, Karli Schneider and Courtney Mosler — will depart the Redskins program.
“In the locker room after the match, I looked at the underclassmen and told them they have big shoes to fill,” Ruppert said.
Celina will play the Elida Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Saturday in a sectional championship at Lima Senior High School.
The winner will advance to the Leipsic district tournament.
Sports Editor Brad Frank contributed to this story.
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