KETTERING — The Miami East volleyball team may not have had its season end in the D-III regional semifinals Thursday night at Trent Arena, but the Vikings showed the heart of champions in taking Summit Country Day to the wire before losing 27-29, 25-15, 25-20, 20-25, 17-15.
SCD, 20-6, advances to play Versailles in the regional title game at 2 p.m. Saturday.
East finishes another outstanding season with a 22-5 record.
After outlasting the Silver Knights in the first set, East dropped the second and third sets and got into an immediate 4-1 hole in the fourth set.
But, East showed what they were made of, battling back to take the fourth set.
Meg Gilliland had two kills and had a four-point serving run with two aces to put East up 8-6.
She had three more kills as East led 18-13 and middle Khalia Lawrence followed with two kills to give the Vikings a 20-15 advantage.
After a block by Megan McDowell, Gilliland finished the sets off with three kills for a 25-20 win, forcing a race to 15 to decide it..
Having regained the momentum, the Vikings got off to a fast start in the deciding set.
Two kills by Lawrence, one by Gilliland and an ace by Ava Prince helped the Vikings take a 6-1 lead.
The final three points came with Kamryn Apple at the service line.
After SCD rallied to tie it 9-9, Gilliland had a kill for a sideout and Lawrence had a block and a kill on Kylie Gentis’ serve to make it 12-9.
Gilliland had a kill to put East up 13-10.
Following a four-point run by SCD and with the Knights serving for the match, Gilliland had a kill for a sideout an followed with a kill on Apple’s serve to give East a 15-14 lead and put the Vikings on the verge of a trip to the regional finals.
But, SCD would score the final three points to end the match and advance.
In the opening set, East had a 13-8 lead following a kill by Gilliland before SCD rallied.
With the Vikings trailing 21-23, SCD hit a ball long and Lawrence had a kill to tie the match on Gentis’ serve.
Lawrence had another kill when the Knights were serving for the match to tie it 26-26.
Gilliland had a block on Apple’s serve to give East a 27-26 lead, but SCD answered to tie it.
But, Gilliland would not be denied.
She had back-to-back kills on Maya Bowsher’s serve to give East the opening set.
The Knights won the next two sets 25-15, 25-20 before East found a way to turn the momentum and play with the heart of champions to the very end.
Three Miami County athletes will be competing in the state cross country meet Saturday at Fortress Obetz.
At 11 a.m., Covington’s Asher Long will run in the D-III race.
Long, a junior, earned All-Ohio honors a year ago and is coming off winning the Troy regional race.
At 3 p.m, Tippecanoe’s Landon Kimmel and Piqua’s Noah Burgh will compete in the D-I race.
Kimmel, a freshman, had a fourth-place finish at the Troy regional race and Burgh, a sophomore, had a 21st-place finish at the race.
The Troy Christian boys soccer team will play Yellow Springs for a D-III regional title at 4 p.m. at Monroe High School.
The Eagles are 14-6-2 and Yellow Springs is 19-1-2.
The Bulldogs edged the Eagles 2-1 in a regular season game.
Yellow Springs is coming off a 3-0 win over Mariemont Wednesday night, while Troy Christian won a 3-2 double overtime thriller over Miami East that went to the eighth penalty kick.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]