Not this year.
The Jonathan Alder volleyball team had it’s dreams of yet another Division II Central District championship come to an abrupt end with a humbling defeat at the hands of Granville Wednesday night in a district semifinal match played at Licking Heights.
Alder (18-5) which has won district titles in three of the last four years had no answers for what it saw in the talented team from Granville. The Aces were impressive in the way they controlled the match, keeping constant pressure on the Lady Pioneers from the very beginning in winning 25-21, 25-12, 21-25, 25-12.
The player applying the most pressure was Florida Gulf Coast University-bound outside hitter Erin Shoemaker. She dominated plays for the Aces. Seemed to deliver every time Granville went to her.
“They had a hitter that was just really good. We even tried to put a triple block up but there was no stopping her,” Alder coach Kim Hayes said. “She’s a D-I commit, we were able to hang with them when she was in the back row, but when she was in the front row it was lights out.”
The first set was close the whole way, but the Aces rode a series of Shoemaker kills to the 25-21 win in the opening set. In the second game Granville took full control of the match. It turned a 5-4 deficit into a commanding 19-5 advantage by winning 15 straight points.
While Granville was rolling, Alder seemed to buckle under the pressure. The Pioneers struggled to pass effectively and couldn’t get out of its own way. They had a number of defensive communication issues that led to the game-defining run.
“I think my girls maybe panicked a little bit,” Hayes said. “We’ve haven’t found ourselves down like that throughout the year. Our league had some good competition for us, but nothing like the dominating player we saw tonight.”
Alder worked hard to get back in the match and showed some life in winning the third set, but Granville was determined to end the match in four sets. It finished with a flurry of big shots.
“They looked tired,” Hayes said of her team. “They really did. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that all year.”
Corrine Parker lead Alder with 10 kills, Kortney Reynolds had eight and Ava Francis added seven.
“Kassie Blank had three ace serves and played her heart out,” the coach said. “It was a good season. There’s some very good competition at the D-II level in the Central District. I would look for Granville or Big Walnut to be in state finals.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.