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No. 13 Fort Frye sweeps Barnesville in OVAC semifinal

BEVERLY — The state-ranked Fort Frye volleyball team is one win away from accomplishing its first goal of the season.

The Cadets, now 19-2 and ranked 13th in the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association, defeated Barnesville 25-12, 25-7 and 25-13 in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference 3A semifinals Tuesday. Now, they’ll take on Shenandoah in the OVAC championship at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Union Local High School.

“We’ve focused on really hard serving and good serve-receive to make it this far,” said Fort Frye head coach Emily Tracewell. “As long as those things are happening I think everything else will fall into place.”

While Fort Frye is having a tremendous season, Tracewell said the success isn’t getting to the players’ heads.

“We try not to talk about it too much,” she said. “We tell them they have to work together each game to get to the next step. So we try to focus on the next game before getting to the big picture. We did talk about the big picture at the beginning of the season and I think that really put motivation in them that they can actually make it really far as long they’re playing on their level.”

The Cadets made quick work of Barnesville, who fell to 10-10 on the year. Fort Frye was dominant in every phase of the of the game, even without one its top players.

“We had to do a new lineup,” Tracewell said. “One of our players, Julia (Zalmanek), went to her boyfriend’s graduation from the Marines. So the new lineup, I think they had faith they could win anyway as long as they were working together as a team. It was pretty good for them to be able to go out there and work well in a new lineup with only doing it in one day.”

The Cadets’ hitters overpowered the Shamrocks. McKenna Long posted a game-high 12 kills while Maddy Long and Jenna White had 11 kills apiece. They couldn’t do it by themselves, though.

“Lilli (Schilling), our libero, and the rest of our serve-receivers, they work really hard in practice individually to perfect their passing form,” Tracewell said. “Bella (Schilling), our setter, works for most of the first hour of practice just getting the perfect set.”

Lilly Schilling had 12 digs and tallied five aces. Bella Schilling notched a game-high 34 assists. Kianna O’brien added six digs and four kills while Khloee Ross recorded a pair of downed spikes.

The Cadets had their passing, setting and hitting all working on Tuesday. When that is the case, Fort Frye will be tough to stop not just in Saturday’s OVAC final, but throughout the postseason.

“We always tell them as long as everbody’s doing their job then we’re normally able to get the job done,” Tracewell said. “But, it takes all of them. Good passing, good setting, good hitting all-around. Our powerful hitters aren’t able to get the job done if our passes aren’t there.”

Jordan Holland can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com.

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