JACKSON - It has been a very successful season thus far for the Waterford High volleyball team, and that success continued Wednesday night as the Lady Wildcats rolled to a three-game sweep over South Webster in a Division IV Southeast District semifinal match at Jackson High School.
Six days after defeating Symmes Valley for their sixth straight sectional title, the 'Cats secured their spot in the district final game, which will be played against Portsmouth Notre Dame Saturday at 4 p.m. at Jackson High.
"We all had our ups and downs," said Waterford head coach Jandy Drayer. "I thought everybody struggled at times, but everybody also did really well at times. We were fortunate to have the personnel and the versatility to pull it out."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Waterford's Haley McCutcheon (7) spikes the ball as South Webster's Colby Haynes (2) and Josie Maloney (1) try to block it during a prep volleyball match Wednesday at Jackson High School. Waterford won in three sets.
Waterford asserted its dominance quickly in the first set, dispatching the Lady Jeepsters 25-10. South Webster stepped it up a bit in the final two games, but the green and white would be able to hold on for 25-19 and 25-21 victories.
Maddy Sury opened the match with an ace, followed by a kill from Laura Hill. Later, a kill and an ace by Dani Drayer put the Wildcats up 6-2. A Haley McCutcheon kill, followed by a block and a kill by Sury, stretched the lead to 11-3.
A kill and an ace by South Webster's Corey Sherman cut the lead to 14-6. With the score at 17-9, Alyssa Miller assisted Drayer on a kill and then Drayer served up an ace to make it 19-9. The Wildcats then took six of the final seven points to claim the set.
"I felt like out first game here tonight was our best game," Coach Drayer said. "We had everything going and put everything together."
The second set started out even, with both teams at eight points apiece before an ace by Miller helped Waterford take a 10-8 lead.
South Webster would fight back, later taking 15-14 lead on an ace by Taylor Haynes. That lead was short-lived for the Jeepsters as a kill by Taylor Hilverding tied up before an ace by Drayer put Waterford back on top.
When a kill by Sury made it 19-16, South Webster would make one final run to cut it to a one-point game at 19-18 before Waterford again took six of the final seven points to go up 2-0.
A kill by Laura Hill and a block by Drayer helped put Waterford up 5-1 in the third set, but a pair of kills by Haley Potters would cut it to 6-4. Later, an ace by South Webster's Kacie Hall would tie it up at 7-7 before a kill by Hill and an ace by Miller put the 'Cats up by two.
Waterford would later go up 14-9 on an ace by McCutcheon and a kill by Drayer shortly after made it 16-10.
The Jeepsters kept it close, though, going on a 10-6 run to shorten the Waterford advantage to 22-20, leading to a Wildcat timeout.
After McCutcheon and Sherman traded kills to make it 23-21, Hill and Drayer each recorded kills to finish it off.
Looking ahead to the district final against Notre Dame, Coach Drayer wants her team to focus on the "little things."
"We've got to be able to keep our serves in," she said. "We've got to be able to pass. If we can do those things I think we'll be okay. Notre Dame has some nice players. I don't know if they'll be used to the style of play that we'll be giving them, so I think that will work to our advantage."
The victory improved Waterford's record to 22-2 on the year.