BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Maumee’s deep volleyball tournament run ended with a 25-10, 25-20, 25-16 regional semifinal loss to Division II defending state champion Holy Name at Lexington on Halloween night.
Green Wave junior setter Abrianna Marchetta spread her 10 assists around to five different hitters during the night’s first set and freshman setter Alyssa Krause added a pair of aces.
Senior middle blocker Jessica Perrault and sophomore outside hitter Jolie Sobb combined for three kills and two blocks over the same period, but the Panthers gave Holy Name 13 early points on six hitting errors, four violations and three serving errors.
“We didn’t execute,” said Maumee coach Lindsay Vannett. “We never got in a rhythm and that hurt us. Missed serves were huge at crucial times. They happened when we were gaining momentum and were just deflating. Holy Name took full advantage of that.”
Finding itself trailing 1-0, Maumee cleaned its game up in the second set, allowing Sobb to rack up five more kills and Perrault to add two kills and another block.
“Jolie has done a significant amount of growing up over the last season,” Vannett said. “She is smarter, stronger and is more of an all-around player, but she is still learning. She is learning how to handle pressure when she is being relied on to make big plays.
“Being able to play right alongside (Holy Name outside hitter Samantha Snow) should give her all the confidence she needs for the next two years.”
Furthermore, junior setter Brynn Brown, classmate and libero Beth Brady and freshman setter Camy Wedge combined for nine assists over the stretch and freshman middle blocker Katelyn Owens came up big with three kills, two aces and two blocks.
“Katelyn has really matured as a player over the course of this season,” Vannett said. “She worked a ton in the weeks leading up to the tournament on blocking and her serving, which were her areas of weakness.
“Her serving was really what kept us in the match and she came in and had two huge blocks that helped swing momentum at times. She has three huge seasons in front of her and will really be fun to watch.”
Despite the Panthers’ strong play, however, the Green Wave never trailed in the set.
Marchetta increased her assist total to 12 in the stanza, helping Snow to seven kills and fellow senior outside hitter Zelie Kessler to five more.
Now down 2-0, Brown, Sobb and junior opposite side hitter Maddie Kontak helped Maumee’s offense stick within four points of Holy Name all the way up to the 13-9 point of the third set, but the Green Wave began to pull away shortly thereafter.
Kessler, Marchetta, Snow, senior middle blocker Megan Oleksik, senior libero Lauren Whetstone and sophomore outside hitter Jessica Nary opened things up to 24-16 from there and junior middle blocker Mary Margret Adams followed with a final kill on Marchetta’s 31st assist of the contest.
“This was a stage that we have never been on,” Vannett said. “Even competing in the NLL does not prepare you for the new pressures that the Sweet 16 brings. We were nervous. Holy Name was just here last year with a lot of the same girls that played.
“The fact that we were able to rally to give ourselves a chance shows the same heart and determination that I have seen all year. They fought and that is all I asked for. We could have caved and been done, but we didn’t. The stage is set for another successful season next year.”
Marchetta added 19 digs for a strong all-around performance, Snow racked up 14 kills and nine digs, Whetstone totaled 17 more digs, Kessler posted 13 kills and two blocks, Adams recorded four kills and four blocks and Nary had six kills and two blocks.
Oleksik finished with four kills and a block and Krause, senior defensive specialist Caitie Masters and freshman defensive specialist Maddy Brubeck combined for seven aces.
Brown, who it was recently revealed earned honorable mention All-Ohio honors, paced the Panthers with 14 digs, 12 assists and three kills.
“All our hitters contributed, but at times, Brynn needs the ball,” Vannett said.
Sobb added 12 kills and five digs, Brady totaled eight digs and four assists, Wedge posted eight assists and four digs and senior defensive specialist Chloe Bunce recorded eight more digs.
Additionally, Kontak contributed four kills, two digs and a block, Owens had three kills, two aces, two blocks and a dig, Perrault chipped in three kills and a block and senior opposite side hitter Ashlee Arndt managed a block.
When asked to talk about her three graduating seniors, Vannett said, “There is so much I could say about this group, but there is not enough room in the paper.”
“They have been looking for this moment for two years,” she continued. “They recognized early what potential this year could be and started working toward it last year. They were already in my office talking about things they wanted in December 2018. They are amazing leaders, teammates and friends and they will always have a special place in my heart.
“I wish they were juniors so we could do it all over again. I hope our younger players have seen the commitment and sacrifice those three made to put themselves in a position to have the season they had. They will be truly missed by all of us.”
That being said, Maumee will return a formidable sextet that includes Brady, Brown, Kontak, Owens, Sobb and Wedge.
“There is a ton of potential for next season to be the same or greater than this year,” Vannett said. “We have some very experienced players returning and it will be a battle to fill the open voids that were left by some amazing seniors.
“I am sad the season is over, but so excited for what next year could bring.”