KETTERING — Versailles is moving on with another sweep in the playoffs. This time, the Tigers defeated Cardington-Lincoln High School at Kettering Fairmont High School on Thursday in a Division III regional semifinals. They have yet to lose a set in the playoffs.
Versailles opened up with a 6-1 lead in the first set and cruised from there.
Head coach Liz McNeilan said the nervous energy from this type of game got the girls going. She told the team to use that energy as fuel to get going.
“When we were up eight points, I saw a couple of our girls take that deep breath,” McNeilan said. “That opened the gates for them to be a little more aggressive and capitalize on some of those plays.”
The Pirates looked discombobulated in the first set. Their serve receive struggled early and Versailles was finding success on most of their first attack attempts. The Tigers won the first set 25-13.
Then Versailles started of slow in the second set. Cardington-Lincoln came out looking like a different team and started to get some of their attacks to land.
Then the serving game gave Versailles the edge they needed to start to pull away. McNeilan said the game plan was to be aggressive serving. She told the team they would get some leeway with the serving errors since they want to put pressure on the Pirates with their serving.
The Tigers won the second set 25-16.
It seemed like Versailles was going into that third set with momentum on their side. It took awhile for them to get going, but started to separate themselves with their offense.
The Pirates found a groove later in the third set. They were fighting to keep the ball in the air and found ways to move the Versailles defense around enough to score points.
Versailles started to make plays on defense to keep the rally going. McNeilan said she wanted her team to focus on these tough rallies to keep a point alive. It’s going to be a focus as the Tigers go deeper into the playoffs.
“As you start facing teams that are harder and are able to come back with an offense just like yours, you got to dial in on what you’re going to do on the second and third play defensively or offensively. The girls came out dialed in with that in mind,” McNeilan said.
Versailles had to call a timeout up 21-19 with Cardington-Lincoln starting to make a comeback. The Tigers remained calm and finished the set on a 4-0 run to complete the sweep.
It will be Versailles sixth straight Regional Finals appearance on Saturday when they return to Kettering to take on Cincinnati Summit Country Day, which beat Miami East 3-2 in Saturday’s second semifinal. McNeilan said this postseason run has been fun so far and wants it to continue for her players and the community.
“It’s fun to hear everybody from the community. It’s fun to see everybody here. It’s a good time for the girls. I’m happy for them, they deserve it, they worked hard. Hopefully we can push through on this one,” McNeilan said.