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LIMA â€” Armed with a new defensive scheme and a new line-up since the last time the two teams played, the Wapakoneta Redskins erased the memories of a past loss to St. Marys on Saturday night.
The Redskins won a sectional title with a three-game sweep of Auglaize County rival St. Marys Â at Lima Senior High School.
The 26-24, 25-19, 25-22 Division II sectional final win means Wapakoneta advances to the district tournament for the first time since 1997.
Avenging a regular season loss to the Roughriders didnâ€™t feel too bad to Wapak coach Keith Rambin and his Redskins, either.
â€śIâ€™ve said all along that the only team that scares me is my own team,â€ť Rambin said. â€śWeâ€™ve got a great team and when they decide to play, they can play with anybody.â€ť
â€śWe let up a lot of runs and played pretty inconsistently,â€ť St. Marys coach Tricia Rosenbeck said. â€śIt had a lot to do with us making unforced errors, which you canâ€™t do against a good team like Wapak.â€ť
While Wapakoneta advanced with its 3-0 win, Celina kept its string of district appearances intact with a 25-19, 25-16, 25-12 win over Elida in the first match on Saturday.
Celina and Wapakoneta advance to district semifinals Wednesday at Liberty-Benton. Celina will play at 6 p.m. against Pemberville Eastwood. Wapakoneta will play at 7:15 p.m. against Napoleon.
St. Marys ran the Redskins out of the gym back on Oct. 4 in four games. After Wapakoneta won the first game, St. Marys won the next three games against a Redskin team in strategic transition.
â€śWe had just put in a new defense that week called the middle-up defense,â€ť Rambin said. â€śWe hadnâ€™t played it all year and we were switching.
â€śWe werenâ€™t ready to compete for a WBL title at that point,â€ť Rambin added. â€śThe pressure got to them. St. Marys was better on that night, but weâ€™re a very good squad.â€ť
Wapakoneta also moved around players to counteract St. Marysâ€™ big hitter Jenny Brown.
â€śWe knew Jenny Brown was their go-to person, it was no big secret,â€ť Rambin said. â€śSo I flip-flopped our middles and put Morgan (Quellhorst) in the middle and also moved Megan Hayzlett next to Morgan.
â€śMeganâ€™s never played next to Morgan. Megan is a lot longer. It worked out real well against Bath and it worked well tonight. You put those two together and thatâ€™s a big wall.â€ť
Jenny Brown finished the match with 11 kills, but held her to two in the key second game. The Roughriders got out to a 11-7 lead in that second game before Wapakoneta scored six straight points to grab control of the game and the match.
â€śThat was the key to the game, slowing down Jenny Brown,â€ť Rambin said.
Rosenbeck said unlike Wednesday night, her team couldnâ€™t find secondary hitters.
â€śWe needed other people to put the ball away and we couldnâ€™t find it tonight,â€ť Rosenbeck said.
With Quellhorst and Hayzlett sealing off the middle defensively, the Redskins turned to Krissy Stinebaugh for hitting. Stinebaugh had a big night hitting with 16 kills.
Senior-laden St. Marys bows out of the tournament with an 18-6 record, ending the run for nine seniors that included a 7-2 record in the WBL and a six-match winning streak heading into the sectional final.
â€śItâ€™s really disappointing, especially to go out with a great group of seniors,â€ť Rosenbeck said. â€śThey brought a lot to this program and I was hoping it would go a lot longer than the sectional final."