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Waterford netters hang on against Fort

From left to right, Waterford’s Mackenzie Suprano, Kaylea Harmon, Alayna Jones, Cara Taylor, Jazmine Farmer and Riley Schweikert celebrates after defeating rival Fort Frye in a high school volleyball match Wednesday at the Harry Cooper Annex. (Photo by Jordan Holland)

WATERFORD — Wednesday’s rivalry volleyball match between Waterford and Fort Frye was a roller coaster of emotions for both teams with several different highs and lows.

Waterford led 2-0 in the match, watched that lead disappear to a 2-2 tie and trailed for the majority of the fifth set, but found a way to win. The scores were 25-9, 25-19, 11-25, 24-26 and 18-16.

Waterford trailed by as many as four points in the fifth set and faced match point four times, but kills by Riley Schweikert and Mackenzie Suprano gave the Wildcats a 17-16 lead. A tip by Fort Frye fell out of bounds to give Waterford the victory on “Volley for the Cure” night.

Fort Frye defeated Waterford in four sets earlier this season in Beverly.

“This team has a lot of resiliency,” said Waterford head coach Kim Barker. “Last time we saw them, in the fourth set we were down 10-24 and we came back and lost by four. So, every time we play Fort Frye it’s a lot about heart and who wants it. These girls had that look in their eye that they wanted this game. They came together and they fought every single point. I told them that’s the beauty of volleyball. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some, but it’s about who wants it the most. I think we were the team tonight that wanted it the most.”

Fort Frye played its second five-set match in as many nights. The Cadets defeated Magnolia in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference 3A semifinals Tuesday. They play Linsly in the championship at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at Union Local.

“We didn’t think we had to try hard enough today, apparently,” said Fort Frye head coach Emily Tracewell. “We showed a little bit of fight the third and fourth game, just wasn’t enough of us working together to finish the fifth.”

The first set was all Waterford, and although Fort Frye stepped it up in the second set, it wasn’t enough to avoid going down 2-0.

The Cadets (17-4) really kicked it into gear in the third set, dominating and cutting it to 2-1 before taking that momentum into the fourth set and holding on to tie things up.

The Cadets then scored the first three points in the fifth set and led 5-1 before prompting a Waterford timeout. Schweikert’s kill jumpstarted a 3-0 Waterford run to cut it to 5-4. Karlee Ross countered with a kill, but back-to-back downed spikes by Schweikert knotted the scored at 6-6.

Two kills by Khloee Ross and one by Karlee put the Cadets up 9-6. Schweikert recorded a tip, but Makenna Long’s block had Fort Frye up 11-8. Waterford’s Lily Roberts and Fort Frye’s Julia Zalmanek traded kills before a kill by Schweikert helped tie things up at 12-all. Kills by Long and Karlee Ross put the Cadets ahead 14-12 and on the verge of winning. Two kills by Schweikert tied it back up before another Karlee Ross kill made it 15-14. It then appeared Fort Frye came up with the final point it needed, but Karlee Ross’s spike was ruled out to even the score at 15-15. Khloe Ross’s downed spike made it 16-15 before the Wildcats came through with one final rally.

“We had so many opportunities to finish the game,” Tracewell said. “We definitely let it slip away from us. We’ve just got to learn from the mistakes and move on to the weekend.”

Schweikert was a force for the ‘Cats posting 14 kills, including eight in the final set, to give her team a lift. Roberts led Waterford with 24 kills, Kaylea Harmon added seven while Suprano and Cara Taylor recorded six each. Taylor also notched 48 assists and 22 digs.

“Riley Schweikert was a key player for us,” Barker said. “She was one that I looked at at then end of the game and I said get her the ball. My setter, Cara Taylor, just does a fantastic job hustling and making the offense something we can work with. She busted her butt. Staying on the floor all the way around is a tough thing, and Riley and Cara are my two that did that for the whole game tonight.”

Barker also praised the effort of libero Alayna Jones, who finished the match with 51 digs.

The Cadets, who got 22 kills from Karlee Ross, 14 from Long and 12 from Zalmanek, will look to shake off the loss and bring home an OVAC title.

“If we’re playing on our level, we can definitely pull out a win,” Tracewell said. “It’ll take a lot of positive energy after losing this one to get everybody back where they need to go.”

Waterford improved to 16-3 overall and awaits a Division IV sectional final match next Thursday.

“This is huge,’ Barker said of the victory. “This is a great way for us to start heading into tournament season. The last time we saw (Fort Frye) I feel like we were a whole different team. I think every time you lose that’s a motivation to learn from it and get better. This is a team that has grown and grown and grown. They definitely showed up tonight. I couldn’t be happier with their play.”

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