By Matt Zircher
TIPP CITY — The No. 2-ranked Jackson Center Lady Tigers charged into the finals of the Division 3 Regional Volleyball Tournament, taking care of New Knoxville in impressive fashion, 3-0 in action Thursday night.
The Lady Tigers, now 26-1, return for the championship game Saturday at 2 p.m. at Tipp City against defending state champion and county rival Fort Loramie. Loramie owns the only win over Jackson this season.
New Knoxville bows out of tournament play with a final 16-10 mark.
The Lady Tigers took the first game 25-15, the second 25-14 and the third 25-16 to mark the second 3-0 win over the Lady Rangers this season for Jackson.
“Total team effort tonight,” said Jackson Center coach Kim Metz. “We did a good job of controlling the things that we were able to control. We didn’t panic when we made mistakes or when New Knoxville would have a run.
“We swept New Knoxville during the regular season, but we knew they would be a different team,” she continued. “We did a good job of containing Madison Lammers, who had really come on as a senior leader for them late in the season. Cassie Meyer and Alicia Kessler really came alive with their serves in the second and third set. Those serves helped us come from behind and gain the lead.”
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first game and it never got closer than three the rest of the way, that coming at 5-2. Two straight kills by Alicia Kessler gave Jackson a 14-5 lead, and after a blocking error by the Lady Tigers, two kills by Pauline Meyer and an error by Knoxville made it 17-6.
The second set was close in the early going, with the score being tied at 11-11. But Jackson scored the next four on a kill by Cassie Meyer, an attack error on Knoxville, a bad hit by Knoxville and an attack error on Knoxville to make it 15-11. Knoxville was within three at 15-12, but the Lady Tigers took control from there and pulled away. With the score at 16-13, Jackson Center’s Cassie Meyer got a kill and followed that with three service aces to make it 20-13.
In the third game, New Knoxville held the lead early at 3-1 and 5-3, but the Lady Tigers scored five in a row, the last two on kills by Vanessa Winner and C. Meyer, to make it 8-5. The Lady Rangers got a kill from Shayna Bierlein to make it 8-6, but that’s as close as they would come the rest of the way.
Two more aces by C. Meyer and a kill by Winner made it 15-6 and the Lady Tigers were well on their way.
Both Cassie and Pauline Meyer had 10 kills apiece and Cassie was credited with five ace serves. Kessler added six digs.
Kameron Elchert had 15 assists and Jayel Frye nine, Peyton Esser had 10 digs, and both Cassie and Pauline Meyer had nine digs each.