Champion crowned in MAC |  Daily Standard Stories

Champion crowned in MAC | Daily Standard Stories

Friday 14 October 2022

Coldwater beats Minster to win first MAC volleyball title since 2017

by Tom Haines

Photo by Nick Winning/The Daily Standard

Coldwater players and coaches pose with the volleyball trophy at the Midwest Athletic Conference after their victory over Minster at Al Qasr on Thursday.

COLD WATER – Minster made a valiant effort, but it wasn’t enough to stop Coldwater’s march to the top of the MAC.

After losing a tight second set, the Cavaliers regrouped and scored comfortable wins in the third and fourth sets with a 25-13, 23-25, 25-17, 25-14 volleyball game at the Midwest Volleyball Conference against Minster at The Palace on Thursday, getting a share of a MAC address for the first time since 2017.

“I’m so excited for the girls, so happy for them, and so proud of them, to have resolved this,” Coldwater coach Nikki Etzler said. “It was definitely one of their goals this year, so to see them get it done, that’s pretty cool.

“But there is still a lot of work to do, because they have some specific goals for the tournament as well.”

Coldwater (18-4, 8-1 MAC) shares the title with New Bremen, who beat Fort Recovery in three sets on Thursday. The MAC Championship Trophy is named this year’s Lou Brunswick/Brian Harlamert in honor of the two longtime Coldwater baseball coaches who recently passed away.

Coldwater, who celebrated their seniors’ night before the game, sped right out of the gate. Mia Knabeck served up the first four points before Adi Inscape got the Wildcats on the board, and after Gina Lugers got back serve for the Cavaliers, Spencer Itzler shook off a nine-point lead to lead Coldwater 13-1. Itzler hit a pair of aces in the race, while Lugers had three kills in a row.

Photo by Nick Winning/The Daily Standard

Minster’s Adi Inscape keeps the ball in the air in a game against Coldwater at The Palace on Thursday.

Minster (9-13, 2-7 Mack) only regained one point, after killing Lily Barhurst, before adding the Cavaliers again. Kendra Clune ace hit and a Wildcats error made it 16-2, and the Minster never got close to eight on the way.

The Wildcats would not allow a similar start in the second set, taking a 6-3 lead before Coldwater returned to tie the set at 7. After six more encounters, the Cavaliers led 15-14 in a shot. By Morgan Blasingame inside the backline, three Blasingame points helped Coldwater lead by four points.

Barhurst stopped the run and Kayla Lamm sent four points to tie the set at 19, and after Coldwater pulled away from the 23-19 lead, Garman called the timeout and the Wildcats settled the ship. The misunderstanding caused the next point fall between three of the Cavaliers, and Alayna Pringer fired a five-point serve.

A double-kick violation from serve gave Minster the set point, and Barhurst fired a left-sided shot that skipped high off the net and fell behind Coldwater’s defense.

“We played a little bit because the girls wanted it so much,” coach Itzler said. “They know, they just have to relax and play, because they have some bugs that we haven’t seen lately.”

This proved to be the high water sign of the wildcats, with Coldwater jumping to the early lead in each of the last two groups. The third set was 9-4 before a seven-point service run by Madison Wendel effectively put him out of hand, and a late run from Minster proved too little, in hindsight.

“It felt like we had forced Coldwater to make a lot of mistakes in the second set,” Minster coach Kami Jarman said. “We really pushed the serve, but we didn’t execute well enough, consistently enough, in the third and fourth sets to make this ball roll over to our side.”

In the fourth inning, Coldwater advanced 6-2 before Minster leveled to force a tie at 7, but the Cavaliers quickly withdrew again. Blasingame fired a shot in the back to give Coldwater the serve, Wendel provided three points to make breathing room, and the Wildcats didn’t get another service point the rest of the way.

Blasingame had the Cavaliers match a point with a missile dropped on the right line, and a long shot from Inskeep veered directly over the back line under the watchful eye of two Coldwater defenders for the final point.

“We had a game tonight that was a little different than we expected, and I think they changed a few things,” said Jarman, who said her team seemed to need six laps per group to settle down. It’s time to get acquainted with the server who was coming to us, and get acquainted with the ball on the hand. And then, they have multiple strikers who can put the ball away at a time. So it took us a while to continue with these transmit receives, acknowledging where the attackers are as well.”

Photo by Nick Winning/The Daily Standard

Coldwater’s Rismeller throws a shot at the Minister at the Palace on Thursday.

Gina Lugers finished high with 15 kills, followed by Itzler and Blassingame with 13. Itzler also scored six aces.

Barhurst led Minster with 12 kills, while Berenger scored 18 assists and 10 holes. Lindy Hemmelgarn added five holes.

Coldwater opens as the Kalida District’s number one seed in Division III, facing No. 11 Riverdale at the Palace at 6 p.m. Monday. Minster, seeded No. 3 in the Wapakoneta District in Division IV, will face No. 11 Waynesfield Goshen at the Wildcat Gymnasium at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“We talked yesterday about how we knew we didn’t win the Mutawa and Judge committee tonight, but anything we did tonight will give us momentum for next week,” Garman said. “It gave us the opportunity to play for a lot of pride. We came here tonight and took a tour of Coldwater, which not many teams have done this year, so I feel like it gave us a little bit of energy, showed us what we can do when we’re really focused.”

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