Home Sports Mind-Blowing District Final Shocks Red Knights Fans to the Core | You Won’t Believe What Happened!

Mind-Blowing District Final Shocks Red Knights Fans to the Core | You Won’t Believe What Happened!

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Mind-Blowing District Final Shocks Red Knights Fans to the Core | You Won’t Believe What Happened!

Toronto Volleyball’s Remarkable Season Comes to an End in District Championship

SETTING IT UP — Toronto’s Andrea Reeves sets the ball while Ashton Thomas moves ahead to make a play on it during Saturday’s Division IV, East District championship match against Shenandoah at Buckeye Trail High School.
— Andrew Grimm

Introduction

There’s an old saying that all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, Saturday’s Division IV, East District championship was that point for the remarkable season put together by the Toronto volleyball team.

Strong Start, Tough Competition

The Red Knights hung with undefeated, top-seeded Shenandoah for much of the first set inside the gym at Buckeye Trail High School, but once the Zeps got the momentum, it was tough for Toronto (23-2) to get it back for any long stretch of time the rest of the way. The Zeps, who are now 25-0, edged ahead at the end of the first set for a 25-23 victory, then closed out a regional appearance by winning the second and third sets by scores of 25-13 and 25-15 to win the district title over the Knights for a second-straight year and their third consecutive title overall.

Coach’s Perspective

“It was a great season,” Toronto head coach Lori Lynn Jackson said. “Shenandoah is a really good team, they’re undefeated. Finishing 23-2 is pretty good, too. We have a lot to be proud of.”

A Hard-Fought Battle

The first set was point-for-point the whole way to a 21-21 tie late, before the Zeps scored three-straight points to pull ahead and closed out the set point before No. 3 seed Toronto could rally back enough to extend it. In the second set, Shenandoah opened a 10-5 lead, but, after a timeout by Jackson, Toronto pulled back within 12-10. That was as close as it would get, though, as the Zeps rattled off another run to pull ahead 17-10 and ultimately scored 13 of the last 16 points to make it a 2-0 lead in the match. After the Knights had an early lead in the third set looking to extend the match, the Zeps again went on a run to lead 13-6. Again, after a timeout, Toronto made a short rally to pull within 16-12, but from there Shenandoah scored six-straight points to take command for good and closed out the match with a 25-15 win in the set.

Fighting Until the End

“The girls came out and went toe-to-toe with them in the first set,” Jackson said. “I’m really proud of how they came out and played, stayed together and went point-for-point with them. They were still confident going into the second set. There was a rotation that we got stuck in and I feel like at that point it was hard for us to bounce back. Once there was that big gap, they had all the momentum on their side. Our girls still tried. I think we put a lot of pressure on Hannah (Dobbs) and Andrea (Reeves) … (Shenandoah) was expecting the ball to go to Hannah and Andrea was giving it to Hannah and they were reading it. Our girls still seemed confident between the second and third set. They didn’t quit. Shenandoah is a really good team, they’re 25-0 for a reason.”

Individual Performances

For the Red Knights, Andrea Reeves tallied 26 assists, 11 digs, three blocks and three kills, Hannah Dobbs registered 19 kills and 21 digs, Ashton Thomas tallied seven blocks and three kills, Michelle Anderson racked up 27 digs, Callie Anderson recorded seven digs, five kills and two blocks, Jayna Reeves had three digs, a kill and a block, Gracee Rex contributed six digs, Riley Fisher eight digs, Tatum Derrington four digs and Emma Parello three digs.

Heart and Determination

Toronto’s defeat certainly was not for a lack of effort. “Andrea took a hard hit in the face, but nobody was taking her out of this game, Callie rolled her ankle yesterday and wrapped it up and was out there playing, Tatum hurt her elbow and was out there trying for those first two sets,” Jackson said. “These kids battled through it and wanted to be out there on that court. They left it all out there on the court, they gave it everything they had.”

Farewell to a Strong Senior Group

The Red Knights will depart six seniors from the team that had a 20-0 regular season and made its second-straight OVAC and district final appearances. The group of Dobbs, Reeves, Fisher, Thomas and Callie and Michelle Anderson won more than 40 games together combined in their junior and senior years. “I’ve been coaching for 20 years and this is a really hard group to let go of,” Jackson said. “In the last two years, they’re 43-7 overall. It’s hard to see a group like them go, they’re a group of great athletes, great kids and great leaders on and off the court. “I don’t have a biological child on this team, but every single of them on that court are like my kids. I’m so proud of them, every one of them. I’m proud of their growth from one game to the next, their pride, their athleticism, their ability. The biggest thing I’m going to remember about this team is pride. “They set the bar, they set the legacy for future teams. We graduate an amazing group, but we have three of their younger sisters in the program, we have girls coming back, they can carry the legacy this group has set. “These girls set the bar for the future of this program.”

Upcoming Regional Match

Shenandoah will face Berlin Hiland in the Region 15 semifinal on Thursday at Pickerington North.

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