FT. WAYNE— For the Lady Starfires of South Adams, it was a battle they never expected at South Side as they took on the Lady Archers in their last regular season volleyball match before sectionals and came away with a stellar four-game victory Monday night, 25-27, 25-21, 25-22, 28-26.
There were a lot of mental mistakes from both teams that kept the games close for the majority of the evening. The Lady Stars dropped their first game to the upstart South Side squad who came into the match with an abysmal 1-16 mark so far this season compared to a modest 8-13 mark from SA.
That didn't matter to the Lady Archers on senior night as they came out ready to play and proved it all night keeping the pressure on the Lady Stars from the opening serve and never trailed more than five the entire match.
The first game looked like it would be a laugher in favor of South Side as they came out and scored 11 of the first 15 points forcing an early timeout from SA coach Kalla Caffee (who is filling in for head coach Ashley Buckingham who is on maternity leave).
"We did not expect this team to come out swinging. We came out very flat," commented coach Caffee.
After the timeout, South Adams chipped at the lead until finally tying the game at 17 apiece. The Lady Stars would take a 23-22 lead, their first since 1-0, but would eventually drop the set 25-27 after a few unforced errors after a 25-25 score.
The Lady Starfires came out determined and ready in the second game, but the Archers refused to let go of the momentum.
"This is a much improved squad from last year, despite their record," noted coach Caffee.
SA led 14-10 in the middle of that second game and kept the Lady Archers at four-to-five points away the rest of the game winning 25-20, a game which would prove to be their easiest to win.
The third and fourth games were both closer than the Stars would have hoped for, but in the end they showed team grit in coming away with the big points.
Coach Caffee praised her squad, "Our girls did a wonderful job of closing tonight. Instead of panicking after the first game, they came out focused and really got us some big points."
In the last two games, the two teams were locked in a tie 19 times with 14 different lead changes.
In the deciding fourth frame, it was the senior Chelsea Bollenbacher who stepped up and made the big plays. The coach commented, "Chelsea came through for us tonight. Between her great service game and her play at the net with Cady (Farlow), we closed out the match nicely."
Bollenbacher finished with 11 kills, four blocks, six aces, and five digs. Farlow, a freshman, also played big with eight kills, four blocks, an ace, and two digs.
Sophomore rising Star Alyssa Bluhm had eight kills, 18 assists, an ace, and seven digs in her setters role in the game, while fellow setting senior Lily Taing had 12 assists and five digs.
Other scores for SA included: Junior Kara DeLong with three kills and three digs, junior Alyssa Armenta with eight digs, freshman Lauren Smith with eight digs, sophomore Mykala Coblentz with four digs, and junior Hannah Mitchel with three kills.
In the JV contest, South Adams came away with the lopsided victory against the Lady Archers 25-15, 25-9.
Loren Sparks led the Stars with three kills and five aces. Mackenzie Jennings had five aces, Jody Potts had three assists, and Hannah Taing produced three digs in the win.
The Lady Starfires will host the Churubusco Lady Eagles in their home sectional on Thursday night for the right to play in the sectional semi-finals against the winner of Adams Central and Bluffton.