PARMA HTS. — No one on Buckeye’s volleyball team left the court hanging their heads or openly weeping Wednesday night.
The Bucks exchanged numerous long rallies with the reigning state champions, but simply were beaten by a better squad.
Junior middle hitter Abigail Leigh collected match highs of 12 kills and five blocks without committing an error as No. 1 seed Padua scored a 25-3, 25-15, 25-6 win over No. 5 Buckeye in the Holy Name Division II District semifinals.
“It’s not like we played badly, which wasn’t the case at all, but Padua played almost a perfect match,” Bucks coach Tom Schuler said. “We had a great season and I give our girls a lot of credit. They had nothing to lose tonight, and every one of them played their hearts out.”
Junior outside hitter Molly Galaszewski had five kills to pace Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division champion Buckeye (19-6), while freshman setter Kamiah Gibson rung up nine assists, two kills and a team-high two blocks.
Senior Shannon Galdun added three kills and seniors Katie Davis and Koral Gibson had two apiece as the Bucks’ 10-match winning streak came to an abrupt end.
Buckeye’s 19 victories tied for the third most in school history, while its 25 total matches ranked second to the 26 played by its 2009 Stow D-II Regional semifinal team.
“We were going to give our all and have fun against a great team tonight,” Davis said. “Whatever happened from there was going to happen. Obviously, the result wasn’t what we wanted, but we had a great season. I love my entire team and we’re all proud that we got back to districts for the first time in seven years.”
The Bruins (20-4), who are ranked No. 1 in the state coaches poll and are favored to repeat as state champs, did not commit an error in the opening game. Their initial miscue occurred on the 31st point of the match.
Sophomore Samantha Ott fired 11 kills and freshman Amanda Leigh had eight, helping Padua win the category by a 51-14 margin. It also outblocked the Bucks 13-6 and had all 10 aces in the 55-minute match.
Buckeye never backed down against the private school power, nor did it ever get flustered, as evidenced by its remarkably low 10 errors.
The Bucks just had no answer for the Bruins’ much taller hitters or the quick offense directed by sophomore (and Brunswick transfer) Ella Mihacevich, who had 33 assists, seven kills and two blocks.
“It’s upsetting that our season is over, but Padua is a very, very good team and they played almost flawless volleyball,” Buckeye senior Kayleen Sexton said. “Actually, it was incredible how few mistakes they made all night. We worked our butts off this entire season to get to this point, but Padua deserved to win.”
The Bucks led 1-0 in the first game on a Koral Gibson-from-Kamiah Gibson kill, took a 3-2 advantage in the second after two Bruins errors and scored the first point in the finale on a Kamiah Gibson block/kill.
Brunswick resident Julie Yurik, a senior defensive specialist for Padua, served 18 straight points in the first game to give her team a 19-1 lead.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.