By Jeremy Schneider
One more day, one more chance to play.
Those were the words Maumee volleyball coach Lindsay Vannett closed with after her team beat Central Catholic 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-13) in a Division II district semifinal.
But to think this game didn’t mean a little more would be a lie.
“I’ve been nervous since Friday for this game,” Vannett said.
As the defending district champions, the Panthers were one of the teams to beat in this year’s tournament. And as the top seed, any championship was going to run through Central Catholic.
The Panthers will get a chance to defend their title Wednesday when they travel to No. 2 Lima Shawnee. The Indians outlasted No. 5 Elida 3-2 in Monday’s other semifinal.
In both of the first two sets against the Irish, the Panthers had to rally from early deficits. By the time they reached the third set, Maumee (15-10) was in its groove and raced to the lopsided win.
“We had a rough start, so I was a little nervous, but I had confidence these guys could overcome,” Vannett said. “I’ve seen them do it all season. I wasn’t nervous once the game got going.”
The Panthers had a loud and strong following supporting them on the road, including a collection of fellow student-athletes in the stands. It created a raucous environment for the visiting Panthers to enjoy.
“We’ve been doing it without students and without a lot of people,” Vannett said. “They’re getting some people. Kids are asking to come, they want to come and support. It’s firing these guys up.”
The Panthers were led by a host of outstanding efforts. Four players had double digit digs, three players had two or more blocks, and three players had at least three aces.
“It was absolutely a team effort. There were a couple of balls where I was like, Ehhh, but they just know each other well enough to know who goes and what goes. There weren’t a lot of miscommunication balls today. They knew what they wanted today and they went out and took it.”
Brynn Brown had 13 kills, 16 assists, 15 digs, and three blocks to lead Maumee. Jolie Sobb had a team-high 16 kills with 15 digs, three aces, and two blocks.
Avery Lewis had a team-best five blocks with three kills, and Katelyn Owens added six kills, three aces, and a block.
Camy Wedge had four aces to lead Maumee, with 11 assists. Maddie Kontak had 12 digs, and Kylie Miller paced the Panthers with 21 digs.