By Garth Shanklin
The Goshen Lady Warriors’ volleyball team scheduled several opponents this season with the sole purpose of preparing for the sectional tournament.
One of those teams came to Goshen on Monday, Oct. 9: Colerain. The Lady Cardinals entered the game at 4-14 on the season but a difficult schedule makes those numbers a tad misleading.
Factor in the fact that head coach Amy Bryant was unable to coache the game due to illness, and you have a recepie for a challanging match. However, Goshen made it look easy, dispatching Colerain in three sets to improve to 13-5 on the season.
The Lady Warriors jumped ahead 5-1 in the first set and never looked back, leading by as much as nine points in the 25-16 win.
The second set was a bit closer, with Colerain pulling within two points at 8-6, but Goshen weathered the swtorm and ripped off five out of six points to build a lead they would not give up, and even as Colerain scored four straight points late in the set the Lady Warriors were able to score the final point to win 25-19 and take a 2-0 lead.
The third set was all Goshen. The Lady Warriors jumped ahead 9-1 and scored the final six points of a 25-6 win, completing the sweep.
Allison Umbarger led the team with 18 kills, seven more than Olivia Litzau. Umbarger also led the squad in aces with four and her 10 digs were good for second behind Lexi Payne (19).
Melanie Jenkins recorded 31 assists for the Lady Warriors. Assistant coach Jonathan Litzau, who filled in for Bryant, praised the team for an all-around performance.
“That was probably the best I’ve seen the girls play this sesaon,” Litzau said. “They played a clean game, and every one of them had some great moments, it was great.”
Communication was there all night for Goshen, as the team hit .319 and had zero ball handling errors
“We’ve preached that all season, but this game we didn’t have any of the balls fall between two girls,” Litzau said. “Someone picked it up. That was the big difference in this match tonight. Colerain is tough. I know the last set was not indicitive, but they’re a tough team, they have some good players. We rose to the occasion, we played our game and forced our will on them.”
Goshen also never trailed in any of the three sets, coming closest in the first two when Colerain tied the match at 1-1. The Lady Cardinals got no closer than that all game long.
“I try to make the game small for the girls,” Litzau said. “Let’s get our three point lead, our four point lead. I was saying keep our six, keep our seven and we want to keep that margin throughout. There’s give and take, we’ll lose a point here and there but we want to keep that gap and make it grow and they did that. The last set, they just rolled with it.”
Games against teams in bigger divisions are important for Goshen as the team prepares for sectional tournament play. The Lady Warriors face Northwest on Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. at Wyoming High School. Colerain was a bit of a mystery to Goshen before the game.
“They’re a Division I school, we didn’t know what to expect,” “They play a lot of tough teams. They have some height and some good athletes.”