PETTISVILLE — The Edon volleyball team knew the stakes heading into its match at Pettisville on Thursday night: Win, and they’re Buckeye Border Conference champions. Lose, and they could share the title with Hilltop and North Central.
For a lot of teams, this might mess with a squad’s focus in the days before the game, overlooking the task at hand. But for Edon, led by its group of six seniors, it served as motivation.
“As a team, it was hard to keep focus,” said Riley Bloir, one of those seniors. “But the fact is we all wanted to be BBC champs on our own, not share it with anybody. It was that much of a want that we all pushed and really focused hard to get that win.”
That extra push and focus paid off, as the Bombers beat Pettisville in four sets (25-19, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21) to win the BBC title outright in coach Katlyn Walker’s first season helming the team.
“It feels amazing,” Walker said. “I’m super proud of these girls. They’ve been wonderful. I’m just so proud. It means so much to (this group of seniors) that they were able to play together. The six seniors, they’ve played as one. They played as a team. It’s such a great accomplishment for them going out.”
It didn’t look great for Edon (12-6, 10-2) at the start of the match, though, as Pettisville (13-9, 7-5) raced out to an 8-4 lead after a kill from Ryeana Klopfenstein. The Bombers clawed their way back into it, as a spike from Bloir tied it at 14. Edon then won 11 of the next 16 points to take a 25-19 first-set win.
The second set was even closer, as neither team led by more than three points at any point in the set. With the set tied at 23, a kill from Edon’s Alex Jacoby found some open space in the middle of the Pettisville defense, followed by another spike from Bloir to give the Bombers a 25-23 win in the set and a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The teams split the first 26 points of the third set, but a 7-1 run capped by an error from Edon’s Brooklyn Morris gave the Blackbirds a 20-14 advantage they wouldn’t relinquish. Pettisville won the third set 25-22 to force a fourth.
The Bombers led for most of that fourth set, and a push shot kill from Carlie Kiess gave them a 21-16 advantage. Pettisville fought to get back in the game, getting as close as a 23-21 deficit, but a Megan King serve hitting the net and a kill from Morris gave the Bombers a 25-21 set win, a 3-1 win overall and a BBC championship.
This is Edon’s first BBC title since 2012. There was an added sense of accomplishment on Thursday, winning the conference championship on Pettisville’s home court. Coming into this season, the Blackbirds hadn’t lost a league match since 2012 and had won every league title from then up until Thursday night.
“Pettisville is always a hard team to beat, especially on their home court,” Bloir said. “They always show up ready to play. So I’m proud of us that we could come together and get the win tonight.”
Next up for both of these teams: Division IV sectional games. No. 6-seeded Pettisville will move on to play at No. 5 Hilltop on Tuesday for a chance to face No. 3 Ottawa Hills. No. 8 Edon will host No. 10 Stryker for an opportunity to play No. 2 Miller City.
For now, though, Edon is going to enjoy its BBC championship.
“It’s exciting — it really is — that we can come in on my first year coaching,” Walker said. “But I couldn’t do it without a great group of girls. They play hard, and they know what they want.”