LEXINGTON – Wauseon had its historic season come to a screeching halt Thursday, as Willard’s Lydia Wiers fired off 25 kills in a 25-17, 25-14, 25-16 defeat of the Indians in the Division II regional semifinal at Lexington High School.
“We just couldn’t dig her up,” stated Wauseon coach Bill Blanchong of Wiers. “We needed to get an initial block on her. We just weren’t quite ready for, I guess the speed of Willard. It’s kind of tough to see that on film.”
The Crimson Flashes built a 5-0 lead in game one on a pair of Lydia Wiers’ kills, another from Cassidy Crawford, and two Wauseon errors. The Indians got three points back on two blasts from Lexi Sauber and a Willard serving error, however, three Lydia Wiers kills and an Indian error helped the Flashes keep their distance at 9-3.
This seemed to be the theme for the entire match. Whenever the Indians tried to make a run, Willard had the answer.
“We also had I think too many mental errors on our side of the court,” explained Blanchong. “And to their (Willard’s) credit too, they were very quick on the court. So we did run our offense, and we had a couple really nice plays. But, it seemed like they were always where they needed to be to dig the ball up and we weren’t.”
After trailing 3-0 in the second game, the Indians answered with a run of six straight points. Sauber’s two kills started the rally, then Maddie Trejo tacked on an ace, and Sauber scored twice around a Willard error to put them ahead 6-3.
Wauseon clung to that marginal lead until a Lydia Wiers shot down the middle and an Indian miscue knotted the score, 8-8. The two squads traded the next two points before the Flashes ripped off six straight.
Lydia Wiers broke the tie with a block, Crawford scored from the middle twice, and a total of three Indian errors gave Willard a 15-9 advantage they would not relinquish.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” admitted Blanchong. “In that second game – the beginning of that second game – we had the lead and we looked pretty strong. I thought that we were gonna maybe turn it around. They just had the answer every single time.”
Willard also pulled away from Wauseon in game three.
Consecutive Sydney Zirkle kills got the Indians within 10-8, but the Flashes scored nine of the next 11. Chloe Wiers blasted one down the middle and there were two Wauseon mistakes. Sauber and Chloe Wiers then traded blocks, and Lydia Wiers’ shot from the left made it a six-point difference and forced a timeout from the Indians.
The Flashes did commit an error out of the stoppage, however, kills by Chloe Wiers and Lydia Wiers plus two aces from Chloe Weaver increased the lead to an insurmountable 19-10.
Wauseon finishes the season at 20-6 with a league, sectional and district title to their credit.
“My hats off to the girls. To the parents of the girls. To my fellow coaches,” concluded Blanchong. “This has really been a storybook season. We are gonna celebrate this. Tough loss tonight, but we are gonna celebrate this really, really big in a couple weeks.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010