John Bruce, Staff Writer
Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.
LOGAN — Adena lost 10 seniors after last season’s Final Four run. But because of that run, the Warriors understood the amount of work they had to put in if they were to go back to Dayton.
However, Meadowbrook was the final hurdle to accomplish that feat and the Warriors couldn’t match the Colts, strength for strength.
The Colts (25-2) showed to be too athletic, too overpowering and moved too well defensively as they ended Adena’s season by a 25-10, 25-15 and 25-12 score in a Division III regional final on Saturday.
“We battled for awhile and we kept believing, but we didn’t have an answer for Meadowbrook’s athleticism up front,” Adena coach Laura Smith said. “They’re a really solid team and we thought there were some things that we saw they did on Thursday against South Webster that we could take advantage of. But they just hit the ball straight down and we don’t have the height to counter that in any way.”
Meadowbrook came out firing, using three kills from Cami Black to jump ahead 7-2 and it wasn’t letting off the gas. Kills from Megan DeVillez, Taylor Sichina and Kendyl Cannon helped push the lead to double-digits and it stayed that way for the remainder of the set.
The Colts were prepared for the moment, witnessing what Adena did on Thursday against Wheelersburg and continued to bring the fight.
Cannon helped the Colts get out to a 6-2 lead with a pair of kills and a block to set the tone. Carly Bowdle ripped back-to-back aces for Adena, trimming the lead to 6-5, but that was as close as the Warriors would get.
“That was a big spot and Carly coming up with those aces were much needed. I think it allowed us to breathe a little bit,” Smith said. “We only scored one or two points off of her serves on Thursdya against Wheelersburg, so we had a backup plan just in case that situation happened again. But she did such a great job from the serving line.”
Cannon, Black and Karly Launder were relentless with their attacks at the net, outjumping the Warriors’ blockers and sending shots straight down to the floor. Adena’s Sydney Foglesong registered one kill after another, cutting the lead to 18-14 but the Warriors couldn’t keep pace as the Colts ended the set on a 7-1 run to go ahead 2-0.
With its season on life support, Adena took its first lead of the entire match at 3-2 in the third. Yet, Black, Cannon and Ella Jefferies all racked up kills to put the Colts back ahead, 8-6.
The Warriors attempted to keep pace as a kill from Brinlee Preston and an ace from Brenna McQuiniff trimmed the lead to 11-9. However, the errors began to amass for Adena and Meadowbrook had no issue taking advantage with a 10-1 run that ultimately sealed Adena’s fate.
“I think the reality of the situation settled in around the middle of the third set, and that’s when the errors began to pile up,” Smith said. “Meadowbrook was completely blowing our blockers away and the ball was coming at our back row so quick that we didn’t have time to get in position. We haven’t seen that type of power and they have five players who can hit the ball hard. We kept fighting, but we got worn down and couldn’t answer back.”
Adena, who ends the season at 24-3 and as SVC, sectional and district champions, alongside regional runner-up, now say goodbye to four seniors in Foglesong, Bowdle, Brenna McQuiniff and Hannah Burns.
“Syd was the alpha leader. She did all of the talking and laid out how we were going to do things and what point they were going to do them on the floor,” Smith said. “The other three seniors found their own niche and it made this team work. Plus, they all liked each other. There was no sense of jealousy or anything between one another, and those four leave big shoes to fill.”
Though those four will be gone in 2023, that also means players like Preston, Grace Townsend, Katie Burns, Eva Kurger and Brooke Bossert — and a host of others — are returning next fall.
After tasting Saturday’s loss, you can bet your bottom dollar that Adena isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
“We’ll get in the weight room and work on getting stronger as well as doing some jumping work outs,” Smith said. “It wasn’t a solid thing that the whole team did in the offseason, but we’ll make that a priority and hope to get back to this spot next year and win.”