ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Indian Creek had its eyes set on another sectional title.
Unfortunately, the Minerva volleyball team had other plans as the Lions defeated the Redskins 23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 27-25, in an Ohio Division II Eastern District sectional semifinal Wednesday night on John Jenkins Court.
It was a great match, it just didn't go in Indian Creek's favor.
"Not at all," Indian Creek (19-3) head coach Crystal Hammack said. "I knew they had two good hitters we had to stop. At times we did a good job stopping them. At other times, we didn't. Minerva is a nice team."
Minerva will play Meadowbrook in the sectional co-final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Meadowbrook advanced to Saturday's match by defeating East Liverpool in three games in Wednesday's second semifinal match.
Individually for Indian Creek, Jessica Furda recorded 22 assists, one ace, three kills, one block and 16 digs; Bethany Davis delivered two assists, one ace, five kills, three blocks and 11 digs; and Alexis Fithen netted four kills, six blocks and three digs.
Kiarra Kamarec contributed three kills, five blocks and one dig; Martina Marko collected three kills, one block and five digs; and Bre Berryman netted 12 kills and 10 blocks.
Kaylee LaRue finished with two aces and four digs, Mallorie Sullivan tallied 22 digs and Brooke Spence ended up with four digs.
The Redskins were down in Game 1, but Indian Creek battled back to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
"Our kids fight," Hammack said. "They fight hard. I am proud of them."
Neither team was able to gain the momentum early in the second game. The Lions were able to put some points together midway through the game forcing Hammack to call a timeout with Minerva leading 14-11.
The Redskins fought back to tie the score at 17. The Lions responded to take a 21-18 lead. Indian Creek closed the gap to one point on multiple occasions, but the Redskins were never able to complete the comeback. Minerva recorded the final point of Game 2 to win the game and to even the match at 1.
The Redskins led Game 3 5-1, but the Lions fought back to tie the score at 7. Later in the game, Minerva led 17-14, but Indian Creek came back to tie the score at 17.
The Lions regrouped and built a 22-18 advantage. The Redskins ran off three-straight points forcing Minerva to call a timeout. In the end, the Lions were able to make the plays necessary down the stretch to win the game and take a 2-1 lead.
Game 4 was more of the same. The game was close throughout.
Indian Creek had two game points, but the Redskins were unable to score the necessary point. Minerva was able to capitalize as the Lions scored the final three points of the game to win the game and the match 3-1.
The match was the final one for the Redskins' five seniors - Whitney Martin, Sullivan, Kamarec, Fithen and Furda. Martin did not play in the match.
"I am sad for our seniors that the season had to end," Hammack said. "They have been with me for the last three or four years. They have been a great group of leaders. They are five good kids and have meant a lot to this program.
"They have set a great precedent for our underclassmen to follow.
"All five of them played a significant role on this team."
New Philadelphia defeated Indian Creek in the district co-final a year ago.
"Our goal was to win sectionals and get back to districts," Hammack said. "It just wasn't in the cards for us. It wasn't one of our best days."
The Redskins won the Buckeye 8 title as well as the OVAC Class 5A regular season and tournament titles this season.