After three more wins in Ohio and a tournament trophy, the Bellmont Braves will await Sunday night’s tournament draw with a collective 26-2 record, a #1 computer rating in 3A and a chance to finish off another unbeaten NE8 season in the coming week.
In the championship round at Crestview, the Braves won 25-14, 25-22 against the hosts. MaryKate Scheumann led the team with 12 kills and 11 digs.
Hailey Cole had two solo blocks and 26 assists.
“The first set started slow for us,” said coach Craig Krull, “but midway through we found our groove and were able to hold off the charging Crestview team. The second set saw us pull ahead early and then we could use their frustration into our advantage. We couldn’t close the door quickly we had to work to secure the victory.”
The Braves reached the championship match with a much more difficult match against St. Henry, dropping the opening set and breaking a 16-set win streak.
Scheumann again led the team with 14 kills as the Braves came back to win 16-25, 25-19, 25-14.
Krull told WZBD that the semifinal had more a finals atmosphere, especially after the first set.
“St. Henry is very similar to us,” he said, “with few taller players but very athletic. They controlled the first set by serving the ball tough and being able to make defensive adjustments on our lack of precise passing. We regrouped and still struggled in the second set, but we fought for every point and we able to get the win. The third set was easier as all our hard work and struggling worked itself out and we could relax and get back to playing comfortably to win the match and move into the finals.”
The opening match of the morning, which was delayed by an hour because of the extreme fog in the area, produced a memorable moment as Sami Christen recorded her 1000th career dig against Celina. The Braves went on to win 25-14, 25-13.
Christen led the team with 14 digs and also added two aces.
Delaney Lawson had a team-high eight kills.
Krull noted that Christen’s achievement is notable because she has only been the full-time libero for the last two years. The momentous save came from a deflection off the block that necessitated a diving dig by the Braves senior. The coach presented his libero with a golden ball for her milestone.