SIDNEY — Lehman Catholic is hoping to win a Three Rivers Conference title after some lessons in nonconference play to start the season.
Entering a TRC match at Milton-Union on Thursday, the Cavaliers had won three consecutive contests and four of their last five. They, along with Bethel and Miami East, each had one conference loss.
Lehman (6-7, 5-1 TRC) lost six of its first eight matches, including to Fairlawn and Anna. The squad’s lone loss in its last five matches was a 3-0 loss to Jackson Center on Sept. 9.
“We always start the season with some (strong) teams,” Lehman Catholic coach Carolyn Dammeyer said. “… Now we’re kind of getting in the groove with our lineup, and everybody is starting to play a little better. We’re getting some big wins.”
Dammeyer is in her fifth year and is seeing the results of a rebuilding effort the last several seasons. The Cavaliers tied for fifth in the first year of TRC play in 2021 and finished third last season. Their 14-11 record last year was their first winning record since 2019.
Many of Lehman’s players are multiple-year veterans. Junior outside hitter Kailee Rank, who leads the team with 127 kills, is in her third year as a starter. Senior middle blocker/outside hitter Marissa Corner, who has 125 kills and a team-high 32 blocks and 32 aces, is in her third year on varsity and second as a starter.
“Marissa has always been a very powerful hitter and plays good defense on the back row,” Dammeyer said. “They have the experience and they are my two best hitters.”
Senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Taylor Geise ranks third on the team in kills (68) and first in digs (107). She’s a four-year varsity player.
Rank ranks second in digs with 93 while Corner ranks third. Senior Ashlyn Geise ranks fourth with 77 and senior Claire Adams ranks fifth with 64.
One key spot the Cavaliers had to fill due to graduation loss was setter. Sophomore Jenna Baker and freshman Madison Rank are both seeing time at the position; Baker has 236 assists and Rank has 102.
“My setters have been coming around,” Dammeyer said. “I think I could use either one of them in any given game. Whoever happens to be gelling the best with the hitters is who I usually put in or keep in. They both have had very good matches. I’m impressed with how they’re improving.”
Aside from Thursday’s match in West Milton, the Cavaliers are scheduled to host Riverside (1-9, 1-4) on Saturday and Miami East (7-4, 6-1) on Tuesday.
The Vikings were undefeated in TRC play last year. They suffered their first league loss this season with a 3-0 defeat at Bethel on Sept. 14. Lehman beat Bethel 3-2 on the road on Sept. 5 thanks to a 15-8 edge in the fifth game.
The Cavaliers lost 3-1 at Miami East on Aug. 31.
Dammeyer said she’s hopeful the squad can make a run at the TRC title and make a run in postseason play next month.
“We’re getting better at serving, starting to serve a little tougher and more aggressive,” Dammeyer said. “We definitely have to do that against the better teams. We play a lot of teams that have very tough serving, so we work extra hard on serve receive as well, so we can get the ball to our server and run our offense.”
Poling leads SCAL in kills
Russia senior middle hitter Roni Poling led Shelby County Athletic League players in kills entering Thursday’s action.
Poling, who is one of two returning starters on the front row for the Raiders, has made 189 kills. Fellow returning senior Carley Scott, an outside hitter, ranks sixth among SCAL players with 132 kills.
Fairlawn senior middle hitter Addison Swearingen ranks second with 187, Fort Loramie senior outside hitter Summer Hoying ranks third with 178, Jackson Center junior outside hitter McKinley Reichert ranks fourth with 169 and Anna senior outside hitter Liz Staudter ranks fifth with 158.
Sidney snaps four-match losing streak
Sidney snapped a four-match losing streak by beating Xenia 25-15, 25-21, 25-15 on the road on Tuesday.
The Yellow Jackets had a tough stretch in Miami Valley League play, losing 3-1 to Vandalia-Butler (11-3), 3-0 to Tippecanoe (13-0), 3-1 to Greenville (9-6) and 3-2 to Troy (6-9).
Errors and miscues were costly to the Yellow Jackets in the losing stretch; they committed 21 hitting errors, 13 receiving errors and 10 serving errors in Monday’s five-set loss to the Trojans.
Despite the losses, Sidney (7-6, 6-4 MVL) had a comfortable lead in Valley Division standings heading into a match against Stebbins on Thursday evening.
Tipp leads overall MVL standings; the team edged Butler 15-13 in the fifth game of an MVL match on Sept. 14 to stay undefeated. The Aviators are in second place.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.