AC shakes off stubborn Starfires to share ACAC title
Adams Central's volleyball team had a dogfight on their hands Thursday night at South Adams before finally overcoming the stubborn Starfires, 23-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-12, 15-8, to claim a share of the Allen County Athletic Conference round robin volleyball title. The Flying Jets improved their record to 14-4 overall and 6-1 in the conference. Both teams will be going to Heritage Tuesday night to compete in the ACAC volleyball tournament.
"We'll take it," said a relieved AC head coach Ashley Beard following the match that lasted nearly two hours. "This gives us a tie with Leo for the conference championship. Any time these two schools get together, you can expect a battle.
"This was a very good team out there on the floor tonight," said Beard of South Adams. "If they play like this against anyone else, they are going to be hard to beat. What an effort on their part; there were bodies all over the floor. Alyssa Bluhm really hurt us."
South Adams' Mackenzie Jennings, who finished with a season best 40 assists and five digs, tipped the ball at the end of the first game to give the Starfires a 25-23 win over Adams Central in the first game. Neither team led more than three points at any time in that opening set.
In the second game, Adams Central jumped into a 19-4 lead, but the Starfires (2-21, 0-7) fought back to close the gap to 24-16 before the Jets were able to pull way to tie things up.
The Starfires refused to go away in the third game, fighting to a 13-13 tie and then pulled away for the 25-22 win. Still, Adams Central fought back for a 21-21 tie before a final flurry allowed the Stars to win.
The fourth game was all Adams Central, with the Jets dropping the Starfires 25-12 to put the match at a standoff. The final tiebreaker saw the Jets fight off South Adams' continued tenacity to pull out the win and the match, 15-8.
Beard especially praised the effort of senior Bess Fiechter for leading the squad back in the final two games. Fiechter led the Jets with 19 kills and eight blocks. Haley Gross, Whitney Peterson and Jenni Baumer registered 13 kills each for the Jets.
"She was having a little trouble, struggling with her passing, so we kept her in the front row. She gave us good leadership," Beard said.
Madi Schwartz added 51 assists and 24 digs for AC.
Following the match, South Adams' Alyssa Bluhm described the high-energy event that kept fans and team members enthused in the final portion of the game.
"Coach Amie Sprunger got us so pumped up," observed Bluhm. "She came from AC, so she was so excited about this game.
"This was our best game all year," continued Bluhm. "It takes away doubt and helps pull things together. It makes us have more confidence."
Bluhm finished with a season high 18 kills, 12 digs, three blocks and one ace. Cady Farlow added 13 kills and nine digs. Lauren Smith led the defense with 21 digs.
"We have to come to practice ready to play," said Beard. "Everything starts in practice; we don't always have the most intense practice. As we prepare for the ACAC and the tournament afterwards, we need to make our practices more intense."
Sprunger was ecstatic with her Starfires' performance. The Starfire mentor listed traits such as teamwork, leadership and communication as contributing to her team's performance.
"We did so many things right tonight," said Sprunger. "We got such good leadership out of Bluhm, but everyone played well. No one did badly. I felt that our kids were ready from point one of the first game. We came ready to play tonight."
Adams Central claimed the junior varsity game 25-9, 25-18. Meghan Manley led the Jets with seven kills, six digs and three aces. Annie Isch added six kills, Anna Burkhart 18 assists, and Kylie Baller three aces.
Reba Morehouse led South Adams with four kills. Brittany Potts had six assists and Kylea Pierce six digs.
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