High school volleyball: Coventry set to meet Tallmadge in Division II regional semifinal at Stow
Familiar foes Coventry and Tallmadge will share the volleyball court at 8 p.m. Thursday in a Division II regional semifinal at Stow-Munroe Falls High School.
Coventry (22-2) beat host Tallmadge (16-7) three sets to one in a regular-season match on Aug. 25.
Host Tallmadge ended Coventry's season last year with a three sets to two win in a district semifinal.
Coventry coach Breanna Caslow said her players are “peaking at the perfect time and they are working harder than ever.”
The Comets have tournament wins in 2020 over Copley, Triway and Archbishop Hoban.
“We won 3-0 in all of our sectional and district matches,” Caslow said. “It is mind-boggling to me how hard they are working. It is impressive to win, and it is even more impressive to do it 3-0 every time. ... The girls are so even keeled. They don't get rattled. I don't usually call timeouts because they work through a deficit so well together.”
Coventry beat visiting Hoban by scores of 25-17, 25-18 and 25-22 on Saturday to win their first district championship in program history. Coventry's only other district final appearance came in 1983.
Sophomore Mallory Meinen had 20 assists in the win over Hoban, senior Miya Gotto had 14 digs and junior Carly Wightman spiked down 10 kills.
Coventry's other regular contributors are sophomore Ronnie Meinen, sophomore Brooke Mirka, senior Morgan Goodlet, sophomore Haley Futrell, senior Cassidy Karakis and senior Morgan Morrisey.
Coventry opened its season with wins over Barberton, Tallmadge and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy before losing to Perry and Canfield. The Comets responded with 19 wins in a row.
The streak includes two wins apiece over Norton, Cloverleaf, Woodridge, Springfield, Field, Ravenna, Copley and Triway, and single victories over Northwest, Streetsboro and Hoban.
Coventry has not dropped a set since Sept. 23 when it beat Copley three sets to two. The Comets have won nine matches in a row 3-0.
Tallmadge also enters Thursday's match with confidence with tournament wins over Garfield Heights Trinity, Rocky River and Cleveland Heights Beaumont School.
Tallmadge beat visiting Beaumont 3-2 in a district final on Saturday with senior Emma Eyre, junior Ellie Kirker and senior Kelsie Horner leading the way.
Eyre had 24 kills and 16 service points in the victory over Beaumont, Kirker had 40 assists and two aces, and Horner had 23 digs and two aces.
Tallmadge also receives consistent contributions from junior Mia Hurst, sophomores Kendall Kirkland, Ella Bee, Zoe Rensel and Maya Dexter and senior Kaela Skubic.
“We lost four seniors from last year – three hitters and our setter – to graduation,” Tallmadge coach Jim Maloof said. “A lot of these kids came into this season without varsity experience, so they have really stepped up over the course of the season and matured a lot.
"... I think that it is awesome that you have two Summit County schools coming together to play in a regional semifinal. Given the huge district that we have, this shows how competitive our area really is. It is really refreshing to see these two schools come out of their district to face off in a regional semifinal.”
The other regional semifinal at Stow on Thursday pits Mentor Lake Catholic and Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin at 5:30 p.m.
Michael Beaven can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.