Volleyball notes: Fort Loramie battle-tested heading into postseason


Russia hopes for ‘little extra edge’ in tournament

By Bryant Billing - [email protected]



Fort Loramie senior middle hitter Katrina Berning bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium. Berning had eight kills, three blocks and three aces.

Fort Loramie senior middle hitter Katrina Berning bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium. Berning had eight kills, three blocks and three aces.


Russia senior outside hitter Kate Sherman as Fort Loramie's Katrina Berning tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Russia senior outside hitter Cece Borchers, left, and Kate Sherman try to block a spike from Fort Loramie's Katrina Berning during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Fort Loramie junior outside hitter Summer Hoying bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League meet against Russia on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Russia junior outside hitter Carley Scott spikes as Fort Loramie's Katrina Berning tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Fort Loramie junior defensive specialist Hallie Grillot bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Russia senior outside hitter Kelby Doseck, left, and junior middle hitter Roni Poling try to block a spike from Fort Loramie's Victoria Mescher during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Russia senior outside hitter Cece Borches spikes as Fort Loramie's Avery Brandewie, left, and Skyler Albers tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Russia senior outside hitter Kelby Doseck tries to block a spike from Fort Loramie's Summer Hoying during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Russia junior middle hitter Roni Poling tries to block as Fort Loramie's Victoria Mescher spikes during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.


Fort Loramie junior middle hitter Victoria Mescher spikes as Russia’s Kate Sherman, left, and Roni Poling during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium. Mescher had eight kills.


RUSSIA — Fort Loramie couldn’t sustain a hot start against Russia and lost the first times the teams met. With a Shelby County Athletic League title on the line on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium, the Redskins stopped another late collapse.

Fort Loramie earned a share of the SCAL title by beating the Raiders 25-20, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23. Fort Loramie and Russia (16-5) each finish SCAL play with 11-1 records.

Despite a relatively youthful roster, Fort Loramie was able to earn a share of its fourth consecutive league title. The squad is now hoping to earn a 14th consecutive district title and compete for a state berth.

“We’re still on our learning curve,” Fort Loramie coach John Rodgers said. “… It’s no secret we were an inexperienced team coming into this season. All of (our success) has proven to (our players) that they can do this. They can play at the level necessary to win.

“The biggest thing we’re working on right now is confidence in crunch time and working on consistency. Right now, this time of the year, nobody is teaching anything new. They’re working on consistency. That’s what we need to continue to do.

“We were a little bit more consistent this match than we were the first time we played them.”

Fort Loramie won the first two sets 25-17 and 27-25 on Sept. 15 in the teams’ first matchup but lost the last three 25-17, 25-14, 15-13 to lose the match.

Fort Loramie played strong again at the start on Tuesday, but Russia finished the third set on a 9-2 run to win and built an early lead in the fourth set.

But the Redskins scored three straight points to take a 21-20 lead, then scored the last two to earn a 25-23 win that closed out the match.

“It’s a really big deal, especially after that hard loss the first round,” Fort Loramie senior middle hitter Katrina Berning said. “It’s hard to play here and it’s tough to win here. But I think we really showed how tough we are and how far we can go this year.”

Berning is the lone senior starter and made several big plays, many of which big plays came late.

“She did some great things in the back row and front row, and she’s someone who plays front row only for the most part,” Rodgers said. “When she serves, she’s got to play defense, and she made some incredible defensive plays.

“… She just has fun. You can see it in her face.”

Berning finished with eight kills and had three blocks and three aces.

“I think a lot of times with our team, especially with as many first-year players as we have, we get really scared at the end and start to tense up a lot,” Berning said. “… But today, we were able to go out and play our game.”

It was another balanced effort. Junior middle hitter Summer Hoying led the squad with 12 kills while Skyler Albers had 10, Jenna Barhorst had eight, Victoria Mescher had eight and Avery Brandewie had seven.

Albers had five blocks and Brandewie had three. Katie Luthman had 19 digs, Hoying had 13 and Hallie Grillot had 10. Sophomore setter Jenna Barhorst had 35 assists and junior Jaden Rose had 27 serve receives.

“The credit goes team wide,” Rodgers said.

The win was the first over a state-ranked opponent after several close matches. Fort Loramie lost 3-2 to Division IV top-ranked New Bremen on Sept. 24 and lost 3-1 to Versailles and Marion Local in nonconference matches in the last month.

The Redskins have one last regular-season test remaining when they travel to St. Henry (15-5) on Saturday; they lost 2-0 to St. Henry in the Coldwater Spikeoff on Aug. 20.

“I’m under the mindset that I’m going to go out there and play the best that I can and whatever happens, happens,” Berning said. “I think that’s starting to rub off on our other players. We’re ready to play and have fun.”

Russia and Fort Loramie could face each other again. The squads were voted the top two seeds in the Dayton Div. IV sectional, and if they win their first four tournament matches, they’ll face off in a regional semifinal on Nov. 2.

The squads have played in regional matches each season since 2019.

“It is what it is for Aaron (Watkins) and I,” Rodgers said. “We know it’s coming. We’ve talked about it. It’s a great rivalry, it’s a lot of fun, it brings out the crowd, the girls are always excited. I think it’s mutual respect across the board for the two of us. We know it’s coming. When you get to that level, that’s what it’s supposed to be.”

Russia hopes for ‘little extra edge’ in tournament

Tuesday’s loss broke a 10-match winning streak for a veteran Russia squad that has nine seniors.

But coach Aaron Watkins said that may not be a bad thing heading into the tournament.

“This senior group is something special, and I think this is going to give them a little extra edge in tournament,” Watkins said.

The Raiders trailed almost all of the first set. They battled to a tie midway through the second and were trailing 17-16 when senior defensive specialist Jilian Chapman went down with a leg injury and had to be helped off the court. (Chapman returned to the floor in the third set but left soon after, saying the leg was too sore to play on.)

After the lengthy delay due to Chapman’s injury, play resumed, and Fort Loramie scored eight of the last nine points to pull away.

“I won’t use that as an excuse. We still have the girls to step up and win that match. But it definitely makes it harder,” Watkins said. “We had a little bit of a different lineup and had some girls not playing where they’re used to.”

The Redskins looked to be pulling away in the third set, but Russia rallied, including a 9-2 run to end it and force a fourth game.

“The third and fourth set, we had a lineup out there we feel confident in, and we were definitely in a position to win that match,” Watkins said. “I think it shows a lot of maturity for them. In past years, I think they would have just rolled over.”

Senior middle hitter Kate Sherman led Russia with 15 kills while Cece Borchers had 10 and Roni Poling had eight. Poling had six blocks and Borchers and Kelby Doseck each had three. Miah Monnin had 13 digs and 32 assists.

Russia will wrap up regular-season play on Saturday by hosting Convoy Crestview (15-6).

“I really think we just need to focus on us,” Watkins said. “I don’t think we need to be worried too much about the other team. I think we just have to focus on ourselves, come back in tomorrow, have a good practice. A little bit of a reset, then get ready to roll.”

Final SCAL standings

Jackson Center (15-7, 8-4) finished third, Anna (10-12, 6-6) finished fourth, Fairlawn (10-11, 4-8) finished fifth and Botkins (8-14, 1-11) and Houston (6-16, 1-11) tied for sixth.

Russia, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center earn top three seeds

The Raiders, Redskins and Tigers earned the top three seeds in the Dayton Division IV sectional. Tournament draw meetings were held Sunday throughout the state.

Sectional sites were split between Troy and Arcanum High School.

Russia will play all sectional and district games in Troy. The Raiders were voted the No. 1 seed and will start tournament play on Oct. 19 against No. 24 Dayton Jefferson, will face No. 23 East Dayton Christian in a sectional final on Oct. 22 and will face either Lehman Catholic, Mississinawa Valley or Catholic Central in a district semifinal on Oct. 25.

The No. 10 seed Cavaliers will face No. 12 Mississinawa Valley on Oct. 19 in Troy. If victorious, they’ll face Catholic Central on Oct. 22; the winner of that matchup will advance to face Russia on Oct. 25.

Fort Loramie was voted the No. 2 seed and will play all games in Troy. The Redskins will start against No. 22 Bradford on Oct. 18 and will face No. 21 Troy Christian on Oct. 22. They’ll face either Riverside, Franklin-Monroe or Calvary Christian on Oct. 25.

The No. 15 seed Pirates will face No. 9 Franklin-Monroe on Oct. 18. If victorious, they’ll face Calvary Christian on Oct. 22; the winner of that matchup will advance to face Fort Loramie on Oct. 25.

Jackson Center was voted the No. 3 seed and will play its first three rounds at Arcanum. The Tigers will face No. 20 Twin Valley South on Oct. 17 and No. 19 Springfield Emmanuel Christian on Oct. 19. They’ll face either South Charleston Southeastern, Ansonia or National Trail on Oct. 24.

Fairlawn was voted the No. 8 seed and will face No. 4 Pleasant Hill Newton on Oct. 18 in Arcanum. If victorious, they’ll face No. 7 Cedarville on Oct. 20 in a sectional final. If the Jets win the sectional final, they’ll face either Covington, Yellow Springs or Botkins in a district semifinal on Oct. 24.

Botkins was voted the No. 14 seed. The Trojans will face either Covington or Yellow Springs in a sectional final on Oct. 20, and if victorious will advance a district semifinal on Oct. 24.

District finals will be held on Oct. 29 at Troy High School. If the highest seeds advance, Jackson Center and Russia will face teams from the Cincinnati D-IV sectional in district finals while Fort Loramie will face the winner of the Arcanum sectional featuring Newton, Covington, Cedarville, Fairlawn, Yellow Springs and Botkins.

The Southwest Ohio D-IV regional will be held at Clayton Northmont High School. Semifinals will be on Nov. 2 and the final will be on Nov. 5.

If victorious in the first four rounds, Russia and Fort Loramie will face off in a regional semifinal on Nov. 2, while Jackson Center will face the Wapakoneta D-IV district winner in the other regional semifinal.

New Bremen No. 1, Marion Local No. 2 in Wapakoneta D-IV district

New Bremen and Marion Local could meet again in postseason play if both advance. Coaches in the Wapakoneta Div. IV district seem to think that’s likely, as they voted both squads the top two seeds.

New Bremen earned the No. 1 seed and Marion Local earned the No. 2 seed.

The Cardinals were voted the No. 1 seed and will start tournament play by hosting Upper Scioto Valley or Lima Central Catholic on Oct. 20. If victorious, they’ll face either Lima Temple Christian or Spencerville in a district semifinal on Oct. 25 in Wapakoneta.

The Flyers will start tournament play by hosting the winner of No. 3 Minster and No. 11 Waynesfield-Goshen on Nov. 20 and if victorious will play Lima Perry, New Knoxville or Ada in a district semifinal on Oct. 25 at Wapakoneta High School.

If both advance and win district semifinals on Oct. 25, they’ll play in a district final on Oct. 27 in Wapakoneta.

The winner will advance to the Northmont Div. IV regional.

Versailles No. 1, Anna No. 8 in Dayton D-III sectional

The Tigers were voted the No. 1 seed and Anna was voted the No. 8 seed in the Dayton Div. III sectional, which will be held at Brookville High School.

Versailles will play No. 20 Greenon on Oct. 20, either No. 9 Greeneview or No. 11 New Lebanon Dixie on Oct. 22 and either Tri-Village, Springfield Shawnee or Tri-County North on Oct. 25.

Anna will face No. 15 Milton-Union on Oct. 19 and if victorious will face either No. 3 Preble Shawnee or No. 18 Springfield Northeastern on Oct. 24. If victorious, the Rockets will face either Kettering Alter, Brookville, Dayton Christian or Houston on Oct. 26.

The Wildcats were voted the No. 14 seed and will face No. 5 Alter on Oct. 20.

Sidney voted No. 10 in Dayton D-I sectional

The Yellow Jackets were voted the No. 1 seed in the Dayton D-I sectional and will face No. 9 Fairborn in a sectional semifinal on Oct. 18 at Vandalia-Butler High School. Sidney (10-11) was voted behind the Skyhawks (11-10) despite having beaten them twice in regular season.

If victorious, the Yellow Jackets will face either No. 7 Butler or No. 12 Miamisburg on Oct. 20.

New Bremen, Marion Local top-ranked in latest coaches poll

New Bremen (20-1, 7-1 Midwest Athletic Conference) is ranked No. 1 in Div. IV in the latest state coaches association polls while Marion Local (17-4, 6-2) is ranked No. 2.

Russia is ranked No. 5, Fort Loramie is ranked No. 9 and Jackson Center is ranked No. 12.

Versailles (16-5, 6-2) is ranked No. 3 in Div. III.

Fort Loramie senior middle hitter Katrina Berning bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium. Berning had eight kills, three blocks and three aces.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1945.jpgFort Loramie senior middle hitter Katrina Berning bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium. Berning had eight kills, three blocks and three aces.

Russia senior outside hitter Kate Sherman as Fort Loramie’s Katrina Berning tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1421-Edit.jpgRussia senior outside hitter Kate Sherman as Fort Loramie’s Katrina Berning tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Russia senior outside hitter Cece Borchers, left, and Kate Sherman try to block a spike from Fort Loramie’s Katrina Berning during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1925.jpgRussia senior outside hitter Cece Borchers, left, and Kate Sherman try to block a spike from Fort Loramie’s Katrina Berning during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Fort Loramie junior outside hitter Summer Hoying bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League meet against Russia on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1561.jpgFort Loramie junior outside hitter Summer Hoying bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League meet against Russia on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Russia junior outside hitter Carley Scott spikes as Fort Loramie’s Katrina Berning tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_2026.jpgRussia junior outside hitter Carley Scott spikes as Fort Loramie’s Katrina Berning tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Fort Loramie junior defensive specialist Hallie Grillot bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1532.jpgFort Loramie junior defensive specialist Hallie Grillot bumps during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Russia senior outside hitter Kelby Doseck, left, and junior middle hitter Roni Poling try to block a spike from Fort Loramie’s Victoria Mescher during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1397.jpgRussia senior outside hitter Kelby Doseck, left, and junior middle hitter Roni Poling try to block a spike from Fort Loramie’s Victoria Mescher during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Russia senior outside hitter Cece Borches spikes as Fort Loramie’s Avery Brandewie, left, and Skyler Albers tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1289.jpgRussia senior outside hitter Cece Borches spikes as Fort Loramie’s Avery Brandewie, left, and Skyler Albers tries to block during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Russia senior outside hitter Kelby Doseck tries to block a spike from Fort Loramie’s Summer Hoying during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1344.jpgRussia senior outside hitter Kelby Doseck tries to block a spike from Fort Loramie’s Summer Hoying during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Russia junior middle hitter Roni Poling tries to block as Fort Loramie’s Victoria Mescher spikes during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1212.jpgRussia junior middle hitter Roni Poling tries to block as Fort Loramie’s Victoria Mescher spikes during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium.

Fort Loramie junior middle hitter Victoria Mescher spikes as Russia’s Kate Sherman, left, and Roni Poling during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium. Mescher had eight kills.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/10/web1_BPB_1790.jpgFort Loramie junior middle hitter Victoria Mescher spikes as Russia’s Kate Sherman, left, and Roni Poling during a Shelby County Athletic League match on Tuesday at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium. Mescher had eight kills.
Russia hopes for ‘little extra edge’ in tournament

By Bryant Billing

[email protected]

Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.