JACKSON, Ohio — The Titans have risen to new heights. After splitting the regular season matchup with Eastern Pike and sharing the SOC I conference title with the Eagles, Notre Dame won the rubber match Wednesday in four sets to advance to the Division IV District Finals.
“Notre Dame I don’t believe has ever beat Eastern twice in a season,” Titans coach Kelsey Glockner said. “If they have, it was a long time ago and it’s not on our wall anywhere. It was just a great team win and a very good day for Notre Dame.”
Regardless whether the Titan record books have any official record of Notre Dame beating Eastern twice in a single season, the 2015 squad accomplished the feat and moved one step closer to a district championship.
“We are super excited to be in the district finals,” Glockner said. “Our goal has been to make it to regionals since we did last year. We play the winner of Clay-Waterford, which are two very good teams, so it’s not going to be an easy road. We are ready to get back in the gym and work hard to try to win the district title.
“I can’t say enough how phenomenal they are as a team, as a school, as a program. They are a force to be reckoned with in southern Ohio in volleyball. To beat them twice in one season is a great feeling. It’s a credit to all of the girls and all of their hard work.
Lexi Smith, Emma Monroe and Ragen Kayser led the Titans past the Eagles with their offensive outputs. Smith recorded 18 kills, Monroe nine and Kayser finished the night with eight kills. Hagen Schaefer was the facilitator, dishing out 38 assists on the evening.
Despite the strong performance from the Titans, the game wasn’t a bed of roses for Notre Dame. In fact, the Titans lost the opening set 25-20 but Glockner made sure her team kept their composure.
“Eastern came out swinging,” Glockner said. “They have a phenomenal program and we expected them to do that. We were definitely slow to start and I just told the girls in the huddle, ‘you’re ready for this. You’re prepared; calm down, game one is over.’
“We just moved on, we didn’t even think about it. We didn’t have the attitude that we were down one set. We went in with the attitude of win game two.”
Glockner’s message was well received as the Titans won three consecutive sets to end the contest.
“The girls responded,” Glockner said. “We had a game plan. We practiced things that had worked previously since we had already played them two games. We went back to the original game plan on where to set the ball and we were very disciplined offensively.
“The game changer for us was the fact that this was the best defense we played all year.”
Notre Dame will take on the winner of the Clay-Waterford contest in the Division IV District Finals, which is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Jackson High School.
Notre Dame def. Eastern 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.