Four of the fifteen, top-ranked, volleyball teams in Ohio Division IV are set to meet at Northmont High School on Thursday night in the regional semifinals. The southwest region, which has produced the state champ 14 of the last 17 years, attempts to claim the top prize once again.
Fifth-rated St. Henry (19-6), the regional favorite, battles Jackson Center (20-5), ranked 11th, in the 6 p.m. opener. Eighth-ranked Fort Loramie (20-6) tangles with Russia (16-10), rated 15th, in the 7:30 tilt.
St. Henry was the state title winner in 2004 when Ohio first went to rally scoring, 25-points wins a set, and the best of five sets wins a match.
ScoresBroadcast.com covers the Thursday doubleheader starting at 5:30. WMVR, 105.5 TAM FM, simulcasts. Conversations in prematch segments include all four head coaches— Tricia Rosenbeck of St. Henry, Kim Metz of Jackson Center, John Rodgers of Fort Loramie and Aaron Watkins of Russia.
The southwest region tourney is filled with rosters of exceptional talent. St. Henry’s Brianna Siefring was awarded first-team honors in District 8. Teammate Lydia Werling earned second-team. Grace Lange was named honorable mention.
In District 9, Ava Sholtis of Fort Loramie was named to the first team and was voted Player of the Year. Her coach, John Rodgers, garnered Coach of the Year honors. Riley Heitkamp was also voted to the first team. Summer Hoying was selected to the second team.
Three members of the Jackson Center Tigers were recognized by District 9. Sarah Clark and Shia Akers were awarded first team honors, and Ava Winner was chosen to the second team.
Russia’s Kate Sherman earned first team recognition in District 9, and teammate Miah Monnin notched a spot on the second unit.
Fort Loramie, state champs in 2014, has split the last eight matches with Russia. Only one set separates the two schools in head-to-head competition over this span. The Raiders beat Fort Loramie in the regional last year. Fort Loramie defeated Russia in the regional in 2019. Each won a 3-1 match this season.
Jackson Center has reeled off 11 straight triumphs. St. Henry has played the toughest schedule of the four clubs in the regional. The Redskins nipped two conference foes, Marion Local and Fort Recovery, by the same score of 3-2 in district play.
Russia, which lost seven of its first 10 matches, has streaked to 13 triumphs in its last 16 outings.
St. Henry earned state titles in Division IV in 2004 and 2011. Jackson Center blitzed to state championships in 2015 and 2016.