COLUMBUS – Junior Claranne Fechter had a simple motivation in the fifth set of Thursday’s Division I girls volleyball regional semifinal.
“I wanted the game to be over,” she said. “I was ready to leave.”
Her three kills paced a 5-1 rally in the fifth set to lift Olentangy Liberty to a win over Dublin Coffman Thursday night at Worthington Kilbourne.
“We just wanted to win,” she said. “We really wanted to make history as a team this year. So, fought really hard and worked as a team. I wanted to get kills for my team.”
Fechter finished with 28 kills and 22 digs to lead the Patriots, who led for most of the first three sets before Coffman came storming back in the fourth of a 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 14-25, 15-11 win.
“That is the player I know she is,” Liberty coach Jen Chapman said. “She is a (heck) of a player – in my mind, the best in Central Ohio. She’s a gamer and I knew starting her in the front row of that fifth set was important. I knew she was on fire and she was going to get us the kills that we needed.”
Liberty had never made it past the regional semifinal round, winning a district title in 2015 only to have its tournament run stopped by the Shamrocks, who took all three matches that year when both were a part of the OCC-Central.
“We’ve never beat Coffman in our program’s history,” Chapman said. “It felt really good. They’re a good team. They’ve been in these situations many, many, may times. The experience is probably on their side. So, I knew they were going to fight and they weren’t going to give up. I told our girls that they needed to step up to that challenge.”
Logan Flaugh had 60 assists and 17 digs, Maile Steckelberg had 20 digs and three aces, Abby Erickson had five blocks to go with six kills and Taylor Karlo chipped in six kills to lead the Patriots.
“It feels really, really, really good,” Chapman said. “It’s more about the girls – they’re fighters. They play for each other, there’s not selfishness on this team … and it’s fun to watch.”
Liberty’s win snaps a run of three straight state final four appearances for the Shamrocks (23-4).
Next up, Liberty faces rival Olentangy Orange in the regional final Saturday at 2 p.m. at Kilbourne.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.