BASCOM - That's why erasers were invented.
You have to forgive someone if they went ahead and penciled in Fremont St. Joe as sectional champion. The Streaks took the first two games against Calvert, and took a 16-7 lead in the third game. Their two top hitters, Amanda Binder and Kristin Sessler, were owning the play at the net.
But a young and hungry Calvert team wasn't going to let its season end without a fight.
The Senecas responded with a fury, rallying to win game three, then, using their newfound momentum, they took the next two and won the match, 20-25, 17-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-11.
In the day's second game, New Riegel topped Riverdale 25-8, 25-8, 25-13 to claim a sectional title of its own, giving the area a strong presence at next week's Division IV district tournament at Findlay.
"I think it's going to be a long time before this smile is gone," Calvert's Jordan Gase said. "We're really excited, that was a big win for us."
"We wanted that really bad," Kaleigh Hendrix added. "We split with (St. Joe) earlier in the season. This game was really important to us. From the beginning of the season, we talked about winning this game."
Binder and Sessler staked St. Joe to an early lead. Through the first two games, Binder had slammed 12 kills and Sessler added eight. The duo was instrumental in building a big lead in what looked to be St. Joe's close-out game. Sessler had three kills and Binder a pair of aces as the Streaks raced out, 7-1. Binder slammed four kills of her own, upping the lead to 16-7.
Calvert slowly started to claw back, but two more Sessler kills had St. Joe sitting with a 19-13 lead, six points from ending Calvert's season.
Calvert came out of a timeout scoring eight straight points, three of which came from Meridith Lucius kills, to swing the momentum to its side of the net.
St. Joe drew the game even at 22, before a seemingly endless rally closed with another Lucius kill and a 23-22 Calvert lead. Lucius added another kill, and Haley Felter slammed one of her own to close out the game.
"We are just an extremely young team, and the kids came of age today," Calvert coach Greg Hendrix said. "I called time out there, we were down 8, 9 points and I just told them, 'it's now or never.' These kids are talented, but were young. And there times when we made mental mistakes out there. The girls didn't get down. They kept clawing, they kept scratching, they kept fighting every single play, and they just did not give up. That's the type of effort it takes to get to the next level and we did it."
"It was crazy. The first two games I was a little iffy on if we were going to pull it off," Lucius admitted. "But we ended up coming back and playing as a team. ... I knew we could pull it together because were an awesome team."
Calvert had momentum on its side for seemingly the first time in the afternoon, and then ran with it. The Senecas opened the fourth game going up 6-1 and never game up the lead the entire game.
Amber Perry slammed five of her 20 kills in the game, including a stretch of four in five points to put some distance between the teams at 22-11.
Lucius had kills on the final three Calvert points, closing out game four and evening the match.
"Our intensity kind of picked up at the end," Lucius said. "Once we realized we could play with them, we really brought up our game. Our passing was amazing. Kelsey Hendrix our libero, she did amazing in the back row."
The fifth and deciding game stayed close as it was tied at 6, 7, 8 and 9. Perry knocked down a couple kills allowing Calvert to pull away. Lucius and Felter lined back-to-back kills to close out the match and complete the comeback.
Lucius led the team with 21 kills. Felter chipped in 13. Kaleigh Hendrix dished out 56 assists and 23 digs. Gase also picked up 25 digs, and Kelsey Hendrix 32.
Coach Hendrix praised the efforts of his entire team in the rally.
"When Meridith gets up there and is on on the hits, she is just phenomenal," he said. "And our two middles (Perry and Felter) are freshmen and sophomores. I've expected them to go up against the Sarah Parkers of this league and go out there and go tooth-and-nail with these veterans, these upperclassmen, and these kids just keep getting better by the week. I'm just so proud of them.
"Our back row, when we fell behind those first two sets, we weren't getting our passes up to the target. And I kept pleading with them, if we can just get the ball to the target, we can take control of this game with our hitters."
"They played their hearts our today," St. Joe coach Jennifer Mullholand said of her team. "We let up a little in that third set when we had them down 2-0, and just couldn't close that out to be done with it. They got the momentum back and obviously came back. When the momentum was swung their way, we just seemed to not be able to get it back on our side."
The second-half of the doubleheader at Hopewell-Loudon had its work cut out for it to live up to the drama of the first, and New Riegel made sure that wouldn't happen.
The Blue Jackets showed no ill-effects from a nine-day layoff, racing out to a 10-1 lead in the first game, led in part by Lauren Ladd with four of her 10 kills in that opening stretch.
"I was a little worried because we took the bye ... I was a little worried that we might be a little rusty because we've been off so long, but I thought we played all right," New Riegel coach Cindy Walerius said. "We played I think our normal game. I think we talked enough about [how] everyone was 0-0 at this point. Our 21 wins really meant nothing. When you get to tournament its, you either win or you're done. I think the girls were really focused and ready for today."
Despite already seeing New Riegel once this year, the intensity it came out with surprised Riverdale coach Jenny Young.
"We had played them once earlier in the season, so we knew what they could do," she said. "I don't think they hit as hard at us the first time around. That was a little shocking to us."
The Blue Jackets cruised to victory in the first two games by identical 25-8 scores. Walerius said she was looking for the fast start, and then preached the lessons of the day's earlier game before taking the court for game three.
"I said 'get out and start quick and finish it,'" she said. "Even after the second game I told them, "OK, lets not pull a St. Joe-Calvert here.' I said finish this game. And they do, so I was pretty happy with them."
"Some games we've been down lately, so we wanted to come out extra intense because its tournaments," Ladd said. "We just wanted to get that mentally going so that all the next (matches), we'll have that intensity going."
Taylor Arbogast led New Riegel with 11 kills; Kara Scherger chipped in seven. Cassandra Acree had 24 assists.
Calvert and New Riegel each advance to district semifinals Tuesday at Findlay High School.