Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

Down to the wire

Celina wins five-set marathon over Coldwater

By Gary R. Rasberry

Celina's Amelia Lutz (8) tries to tip the ball past the the block of Coldwater's. . .

CELINA - The fans that packed into the Celina Intermediate School gymnasium on Tuesday for the Coldwater-Celina volleyball match were not short-changed when it came to action, though the fans, coaches and players of Coldwater left unhappy.
The Cavaliers took set one 25-23 before the Bulldogs took the next two 27-25 and 25-23. Coldwater forced a fifth set with a 25-20 win in the fourth set. Celina then used a great service run by Allison Schwieterman in the final set to take the lead for good and get the 15-10 win.
"Coldwater is a fantastic team. We knew we had to bring everything tonight," said Celina coach Phil Bange. "It was a 'throw the kitchen sink' kind of night. Our girls did a great job responding to that pressure in a big-game environment."
"The level of volleyball in this area is high and competitive," said Coldwater coach Nikki Etzler. "Exactly where we want this as coaches. It's a match to prepare for the MAC championship. We're moving through some things now emotionally and getting some people back (from injury). It's good to see where we're at right now."
Coldwater had to fight back from a six-point deficit to take the first set. Trailing 14-8, the Cavaliers got the serve back and Madison Wendel served up four straight points to cut the margin to 14-13. Celina pushed the lead back to 18-14, but Mia Knapke used several Celina hitting errors to make it 19-18 Coldwater before Celina tied the set again at 19-all. With the score knotted at 21, Celina was called for being in the net, allowing Kendra Clune to serve Coldwater back into the lead to stay.
Celina took the next two sets, but in the second set the Bulldogs saw a 17-9 lead disappear as Coldwater fought back with solid serving from Mia and Keira Knapke, with Keira Knapke using a four-point run to first tie the set at 22-all, then give Coldwater a 23-22 lead. Coldwater was the first to 24, but an Ava Knapke kill knotted the set at 24-all. Coldwater also had set point at 25-24 before Ava Knapke scored a spike to tie again. Amelia Lutz stuffed the ball to the Cavalier side of the floor to give Celina set point, then the Cavaliers were called for a double-hit to level the match at 1-1.
The third set also went down to the wire as Lutz scored some big kills early, but several Cavalier hitting errors down the stretch allowed Celina to get the win in regulation to go up 2-1.
In the fourth set, Coldwater jumped out early and deflected Celina's chances to tie the game down the stretch to force the winner-take-all set.
Celina won the right to serve first and jumped out 3-1 early, but Coldwater worked its way back to get ties at 6-, 7- and 8-all before Schwieterman went back to serve. The Bulldog libero came up big as Knapke had a block, Payton Bertke faked the set and spiked the ball to the Cavalier side for a kill and Evie Holstad came up with a big kill to help make it 12-8 Celina.
"Allison is such a great defensive player, but her serves have come along this season," said Bange.
Coldwater managed just two more points. Brooklyn Bourne got match point with her 18th kill of the night and then a Cavalier spike went out of bounds to end the set.
"Great credit to our team for coming together, ready to battle for big points," said Bange. "First time we've gone five sets all season."
In addition to her 18 kills, Bourne had 36 digs and five aces while Lutz finished with 17 kills. Bertke had 49 digs and recorded her 500th career dig during the match.
"Those were our seniors. They came through in a big way," said Bange. "It was an all-around effort."
"We're going to take this loss and get better from it and keep moving forward," said coach Etzler.
Both teams return to league play on Thursday. Celina hosts Ottawa-Glandorf in a Western Buckeye League match and Coldwater hosts Versailles in a battle of state-ranked Division III teams.
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