By Josh Brown
WEST MILTON — After falling behind 2-1 against Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division-leading Waynesville — which knocked off the Bulldogs in four back on Sept. 22 — it looked like the Milton-Union volleyball team was going to miss its chance to even up the division race heading into the season’s final week.
But the Bulldogs (12-7, 8-2 SWBL Buckeye) battled through a back-and-forth fourth set to tie the match and force a decisive fifth one, then they jumped out to a big lead and were able to hold on for a thrilling five-set victory, 25-23, 22-25, 20-25, 26-24, 15-9 Thursday night at home.
“This was one of the guttiest, grittiest efforts I’ve ever seen, let alone coached,” Milton-Union coach Bill Ginn said. “All I saw in my team’s eyes in our huddle was determination. We figured we would go five with Waynesville (14-6, 8-2 SWBL Buckeye) because they have a talented team with a great group of athletic players. But we made plays when they counted.”
Particularly in the fifth set, as Anna Willson served 10 straight points to give the Bulldogs a commanding 11-3 lead, and Olivia Brown converted on a short return by Waynesville in a key moment late.
“Anna had been struggling with her serve in the initial four sets, but she took the ball to the service line at 3-1 Waynesville and served us to an 11-3 lead,” Ginn said. “Anna stepped up. That’s all there is to it, and it fed the rest of our team.
“Olivia is normally a middle hitter, but she was called upon for back row duty. In addition to making some great defensive plays, she buried an overpass while in the front row. When she creamed that overpass, I knew we were going to be all right.”
Willson had 15 kills and 14 digs in the match, Michaela Fullmer added 14 kills and 19 digs and Lauren Craig had 31 assists.
Milton-Union travels to Franklin Monroe Monday before facing Northridge Tuesday in another key SWBL Buckeye matchup.
Tipp 3, Shawnee 0
TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe’s Aubrey Cox set a new school career record for blocks Thursday night as the Red Devils swept Springfield Shawnee 25-21, 27-25, 25-20 — Tippecanoe’s fifth win in its last six matches overall and seventh consecutive win at home.
Cox finished with seven kills and nine blocks, giving her 191 for her career and breaking Gina Port’s record of 186. Emily Shuk added nine kills, Taylor Prall had six kills, Alyssa Crusey had 15 digs, two aces and four blocks, Kara Trimbach had 26 assists, two aces and nine digs, Laura Rosselit had five blocks and Jordan McMahan had 13 digs.
Before the match, the Devils honored their seniors — Cox, Crusey, Trimbach, Rosselit, Taylor Braun, McMahan and Taylor Waltemathe.
Tippecanoe (12-6, 5-3 Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division) hosts a tri-match against Fairmont and Bellbrook Saturday.
ME 3, Covington 0
COVINGTON — Miami East continued its unbeaten run through the Cross County Conference Thursday night, defeating Covington on the road 25-12, 25-9, 25-16.
Jonni Parker had six kills and 13 assists for the Vikings, Carly Gump had 13 assists and Lindsey Black had 11 digs.
Brooke Gostomsky led the Buccaneers (8-12, 7-4 CCC) with three kills and three digs, Rachel York added three kills and Arianna Richards had six assists, six digs and an ace.
“We played against one of the toughest teams on our schedule,” Covington coach Lonnie Cain said. “We wanted to compete with them, but we couldn’t get anything going. It was a tough way to let our two seniors go out, but Brooke and Arianna are both competitors, and they will learn from the loss and move on.”
Miami East hosts Bethel Tuesday then finishes the regular season at Ansonia Thursday, while Covington travels to Bethel Thursday for the regular season finale.
Arcanum 3, Newton 2
PLEASANT HILL — The Newton Indians took Arcanum the distance in a Cross County Conference matchup Thursday, falling to the Trojans 3-2.
Madison Mollette led Newton with 19 kills and Catie Kauffman had 11 kills.
The Indians travel to Fairlawn Saturday for a tri-match along with Ansonia.
TC 3, EC 0
TROY — The Troy Christian Eagles swept Emmanuel Christian Thursday night on Senior Night, winning 25-17, 25-20, 25-13 against the Metro Buckeye Conference’s second-place team.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my seniors tonight,” Troy Christian coach MaryJo Weisenbarger said. “They each brought a passion and drive to the court. They are definitely leaving big shoes to fill and will be missed greatly next year.”
Seniors Jenna Bullock had 17 assists, nine digs, three kills and four aces, Kristen Winger had 11 digs, three kills and three aces and Denise Rohrer had two blocks and an ace.
Jenna Grady added seven kills and three blocks, Emily Sloan had nine digs, three kills and two aces, A’maria Carter had four digs and four kills, Ketley Miller had two kills, Faith King had four kills, three assists, two blocks and two aces, Rachel Winters had four digs and Allison Winger had three digs and an ace.
Troy Christian (7-14, 5-5 MBC) finishes the regular season against Tri-County North Saturday.
* Girls Soccer
Waynesville 3, M-U 0
WEST MILTON —Since a 3-0 loss at Waynesville Sept. 22, the Milton-Union girls soccer team had been waiting for Thursday night’s matchup — not only a chance to avenge that loss, but also to tie the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division-leading Spartans for the league title.
But it was not to be, as the Bulldogs fell once more to Waynesville (11-1-2, 7-0-1) 3-0, which clinched the outright division title with the win.
Milton-Union (11-3-1, 6-2-1 SWBL Buckeye) finishes the regular season at home against Preble Shawnee Thursday.
* Boys Soccer
Bethel 6, TVS 0
BRANDT — Evan Hawthorn and Korry Hamlin each had two goals Thursday night, leading Bethel to a 6-0 Cross County Conference victory over Twin Valley South.
Sam McKenny added a goal and three assists, Evan Hart had a goal and Collin Rust and David Landes each had an assist for the Bees (11-2-1).
“After coming off a hard-fought victory earlier in the week, we were able to cruise to a win tonight,” Bethel coach Bob Hamlin said. “We controlled the play, but we were off on our passes and decision making. Mentally we were not as sharp as we have been in our past few games. Nevertheless, we did score some nice goals and came out of the game healthy — and this time of year, that is very important.”
Bethel hosts Tecumseh Monday night.
Other scores: Lehman 6, Coldwater 0.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.