|SECTIONAL TITLE JUST OUT OF REACH...
The Covington Lady Buccs couldn't get over the hump in close games and lost to Southeastern in four games for the sectional championship.
OCTOBER 22, 2011 - PIQUA - By Rob Kiser, Piqua Daily Call
Covington volleyball coach Lindsey Sullenberger was concerned before her team's match ever started with Southeastern Saturday night in a Piqua Division IV sectional final.
"I just had the feeling we weren't ready to play," she said. "We (Sullenberger and assistant coach Alex Christian) were talking about that during warmups. They just weren't ready to play."
In spite of that, three of the four sets were nailbiters before Covington had its season end with a 24-26, 25-18, 25-23, 25-22 loss to the Trojans.
In the opening set, it was Shelby Kihm stepping up in the clutch.
With Covington trailing 24-22, Kihm had a kill to keep the Lady Buccs alive.
After Southeastern's return was long on Sami Snyder's serve to tie it, Snyder served out the set, with Kihm adding two more kills.
"Shelby (Kihm) has been stepping up for us," Sullenberger said. "The problem is, the other team adjusts and nobody else steps up."
While the second struggle for Covington, as Southeastern evened things, the Lady Buccs had opportunities in the third and fourth games.
In the third set, two kills and three aces by Caitlyn Crawford helped Covington take a 10-6 lead.
A tip by Morgan Arbogast put them ahead 17-13 and they were still up 20-17 following a Kihm kill.
But, Southeastern would outscore them 8-3 down the stretch for a 25-23 win, including the final two points after Covington had tied it on a Haley Reames serve.
It was more of the same in the fourth game.
Crawford had seven kills to help Covington take a 12-9 lead.
Two points by Shelby Waag, including a Kihm kill, two kills by Crawford and another by Kihm on Crawford's serve gave the Lady Buccs a 22-20 lead, before Southeastern finished off the match with five straight points.
"Caitlyn (Crawford) was having success," Sullenberger said. But, as soon as she rotated to the back row, we struggled."
Covington finished the season with a 13-12 record.
"I would say we are about semi there on the mentality we need," Sullenberger said after her second season as coach. "We will get there. You have to be ready to play every night."
Crawford had 24 kills, four aces and eight digs, while Kihm added 15 kills and two blocks.
Hannah Pond had four aces and 12 digs, Reames added 10 digs and Waag dished out 40 assists.