FINDLAY — The Celina Bulldogs have won four straight Western Buckeye League volleyball championships, losing just one match over that span.
Early in the season, the Bulldogs dismantled the Wapakoneta Redskins in three games — 25-14, 25-10, 25-12.
In other words, it was going to take a perfect match from the Redskins on Saturday to knock off Celina.
It wasn’t to be.
Despite a valiant Wapak effort, the Bulldogs pulled out a three-game sweep — 25-14, 25-14, 25-20 — in the Division II district title game Saturday at Liberty-Benton High School.
The loss ended the Redskins’ season and denied them their first-ever trip to the regional tournament.
“This isn’t Celina’s first time here,” Wapak coach Keith Rambin said. “We knew there were two key areas we couldn’t afford to struggle. And that was serve reception and service. I don’t know the exact stats, but I’d venture to say we had eight to 10 service errors. ...
“You cannot give easy points to Celina. They get on a two or three-point run and it’s just like a snowball going downhill.”
The Celina juggernaut included WBL Player of the Year Angie Fisher and first-teamer Lizz Carr. Five of the six Bulldog starters had earned all-WBL honors.
Wapak started strong in each of the three games.
The Redskins led 7-5 early in Game 1. But with the score tied at 12-12, Celina scored seven straight points to take a 19-12 lead.
A pair of Megan Hayzlett kills staunched the bleeding for a moment.
“We negotiated their block a lot better this time around,” Rambin said. “The last time they absolutely stifled us.”
But the Bulldogs rattled off the final five points of the match for the 25-14 win.
Wapak took a quick 6-2 lead in Game 2 and held on to an 11-11 tie before Celina once again rallied, outscoring the Redskins 14-3 over the remainder of the game for a 25-14 win.
The Redskins once again came out of the gate strong in Game 3, taking a 7-3 lead on three kills by Krissy Stienbaugh and two from Morgan Quellhorst.
The third game was a back-and-forth contest, with the lead changing hands 10 times. Tied at 20-20, Celina took advantage of a pair of Wapak errors, got a kill from Karr, an ace from Kiernon Koontz, and block from Zoe Kriegel to score the final five points of the match.
“I told the girls if we would have only played to 12 we would have won,” Rambin said.
Wapak came into the match winners of seven in a row. The Redskins finish the season 16-9 overall.
After winning just 11 matches over the previous three seasons, Wapak has won 30 in Rambin’s two seasons as varsity coach.
“They’re a very improved team from the first time we played them,” Celina coach Carolyn Dammeyer said.
Quellhorst led with eight kills. Amber Dickerson had 13 digs. And Nicole Brown had 17 assists.