Shekinah victorious in regional semifinal
By CHRIS MILES
On the back of its collection of determined seniors, the Shekinah Christian volleyball team would not be denied during a Division IV regional semifinal Wednesday at Lancaster High School.
The Flames (23-2) caught fire midway through the first game and burned bright all night as they crushed Reedsville 25-20, 25-17, 25-16, and advanced to a D-IV regional final.
Things didn’t necessarily start off in the best of ways for Shekinah. The Eagles (24-2) had the look of a team with supreme confidence prior to the start of the match and played accordingly, jumping out to a 7-3 lead in the first game. But once the Flames got their bearings things started to turn in their favor.
“I don’t why we got off to such a slow start,” Shekinah coach Jerry Troyer said. “They’re a good team, well-coached and just really good. But even though we were down our girls never hung their head and stopped playing, they kept playing and things turned around.”
Shekinah still trailed 17-14 when senior Krista Shrock began an impressive run in the Flames service game.
She and her teammates rattled off eight straight points which turned the game and the match for good. Along the way senior Annelise Rohrer and junior Ashley Gingerich collected big blocks and even bigger kills.
“In all the sports I’ve ever coached, volleyball is probably the one sport where momentum plays the biggest part,” Reedsville coach Howie Caldwell said. “We were up 17-14 and we had two bad passes and hit the ball into the net and that absolutely switched the momentum.
“They have a really nice club and we knew we had to bring our “A” game and we didn’t do that tonight.”
The Flames found themselves in a 9-9 tie in the second game, but just like the first game they strung together a series of nice plays that got them some much needed separation.
From there they rolled to the win in the second game and finally closed out things in the third against a clearly frustrated bunch on the other side of the net.
“This isn’t golf, this isn’t tennis, this is a team sport,” Caldwell said. “The thing is if you get one or two of the six individuals that are out on the court and they’re not performing, it lets everybody else down. We had a few that didn’t live up to their capabilities and it cost us tonight.
“We lost to a very good team. They played as a team and played together. Give them all the credit for making it so hard on us.”
Shekinah, which lost in the regional final a year ago, will once again play in one when it tangles with undefeated Beaver Eastern (26-0) Saturday at 2 p.m., also at Lancaster.
The Flames are motivated to get past the place where they were knocked off last year, and are going to go as far as their senior class takes them.
“The seniors have played together so long and it’s just so good to see them playing with that confidence level so high,” Gingerich said. “We got off to a rough start but we all looked at each other and said we are here for a reason, we’ve been here before and no one wanted that to happen again so our seniors stepped up and led the way.”
Troyer said his seniors are on a mission and it all starts with getting past the regional.
“They really stepped it up,” the coach said of his seniors. “Tori Yoder, Bridget (Troyer) and Annie have been carrying us all year and there’s no better time than to step it up than right now.
“When they play our ball, Shekinah ball, when we control our side, things click. This is what we have to do every game, every time we play. We’ve got a bigger one on Saturday.”
Shekinah will have its hands full on Saturday when it squares off with Beaver Eastern.
That set of Eagles easily dispatched of the Central District’s top seed, Newark Catholic in three games in the other semifinal.
“They’re a good very good team,” Troyer said. “I was really surprised on how good they are. We’re not going to take them lightly. We’re going to have to come with our “A” game against them.
“They want to go (to the state), but they know it gets tougher every game from here on out.”