Union Local Advances to District D-II Volleyball Finals | News, Sports, Jobs

LOCAL UNION’s Ella Pietranton (9) and Torre Kildow go up to block an Indian Valley hit during Tuesday’s Eastern District Division II semifinal at Buckeye Trail High School . The Jets won in four sets and will face River View on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Cambridge.

OLD WASHINGTON — There’s seemingly a moment in every tournament — regardless of sport — when a team has their backs against the wall and must dig in and just find a way.

As Union Local looks back on its ultra-impressive 2022 season, that moment could have been a point in the second set when Indian Valley had a 20-14 lead and the momentum.

Similar to the OVAC Tournament Class 3A game, the Jets just weren’t going to be denied. Union Local rallied and won that second set, 25-23. This proved crucial as the Braves won the third set.

Union Local won the fourth set that sent the Jets to Saturday’s Division II Eastern District Championship Game by scores of 25-18, 25-23, 17-25 and 25-18.

“I thought the way we responded in the second set was huge,” said relieved UL head coach Kaye Sechrest. “The girls keep playing. Indian Valley is better than their record indicates and they gave us everything we wanted, but give our girls lots of credit for hanging on and finding a way.

The Braves, who entered the tournament with a record below .500, proved time and time again that they weren’t going to walk away quietly. But, at the same time, they didn’t have anyone who could consistently match Ohio University’s commitment, Torre Kildow, which turned out to be the real difference.

While Kildow, who recorded 37 kills in the game, does what she does, she was by no means alone. The Jets got a total team effort and it wasn’t just a cliché.

“You name the girl and she did something to help us get this win,” said Sechrest. “It was a total team effort and that’s what it takes.”

Frankly, she is not exaggerating. Each player who stepped on the floor recorded a stat. Kildow again fueled him with 17 digs to complete his aforementioned kill tally. Olivia Whortman was strong at net with seven kills and four digs.

Sophomore Ella Pietranton, who pulled off the final kill, had one of her best games of the season with six kills, three digs and one block.

Kelly Gress, the Jets’ dependable passer, dished out 48 assists and 11 digs. Julie Broussard was credited with 32 recoveries. Emma Yager had 11. Emmy Kellaway, who served the ball well, had the Jets’ only two aces. She also had five digs. Talented freshman Laken Vinskovich continues to regain his form after missing a few weeks through injury. She had four kills, half of them in the final set.

The Jets are aiming for their first spot in school history in Sweet 16 volleyball on Saturday morning at 11 against River View, which won its semifinal game against Beaver Local. The match will take place at Cambridge High School.

“We’re taking them on one game at a time, so we didn’t plan River View at all,” said Sechrest. “We will do that (Wednesday) and go back to the gym to prepare.”

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