DEFIANCE – After wins at Tinora High School, the 80’s song “Celebration” is generally played. Tonight, the Lady Rams took a song from that same era in the 80’s to heart.
“Eye of the Tiger” was in the eyes of the Lady Rams volleyball team midway through the fifth and deciding set tonight as a District Championship was on the line at Defiance High School’s Dawg Pound.
Almost a year to the day, 366 days exactly, these two teams met at Defiance for the District Semifinals. The Lady Rams came away with a 3 set victory, where they captured the District Championship over Paulding 2 days later.
Both teams arrived at Defiance High School in search of the 2021 District Championship. State Ranked Lake came in as the top seed, ranked #11 in the last state poll, having lost just one time this season, that to Ottawa Glandorf on Sept 11, a 3-1 defeat. The Lady Flyers hopped off the bus with a 23-1 resume, and a 14-0 Northern Buckeye Conference Championship.
The Lady Rams were coming in as one of the hottest teams in the area as well, the 15-minute bus ride brought a 20-4 record and an undefeated Green Meadows Conference title as well. Winners of 16 of 17 games, Tinora wasn’t taking a back seat to anyone.
The first set was a battle, as the crowd was flowing in, the Lady Rams jumped out to an early first set lead 16-12, Lake cut it to 22-21 before the Lady Rams closed out the set 25-21. Tinora never trailed in the set.
Set two was a different story, the Lady Flyers of Lake jumped in front 7-2 in the second set. The Lady Rams would trim it to a point periodically through the set, yet never catching the Flyers until late in the set. The Lady Rams went on a bit of a run, finally grabbing a 23-22 lead. The next few points went back and forth, the Lady Rams finally pulling away on a Makenna Reetz kill, winning the set 26-24, grabbing a big 2-0 set advantage.
The Lady Rams were one set away from a District title. Not so fast, said the one loss Lady Flyers of Lake HS Jumping out to a 5-1 lead, and a 10-5 lead in set three, the Flyers were in control. Tinora mounted a small rally, cutting the Lake lead to just two midway through, 14-12. The Flyers would take the third set, 25-20.
Feeling the momentum beginning to shift, the Lady Rams jumped out to a lead in the fourth set, leading most of the way before a Lake rally tied it at 17-17. The Lady Flyers rode the momentum for a set four win, taking it from Tinora, 25-22, tying the match at 2-2.
All the practices, pep talks, & bus rides all came down to a fifth and deciding set, the first to 15 would be the 2021 District Champion.
Both teams headed to the final stanza emotionally and physically drained. Tinora jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead. A Lake rally tied it a 5-5, and eventually the Lady Flyers would take an 8-6 lead. The lead would grow to 11-8 for Lake as the Lady Rams took their final timeout in the last set.
During this timeout, Rams fans rose to their feet, chanting R-A-M-S throughout the 60 seconds, trying to rally and support their Lady Rams, they did not want to see the season end just yet.
As they left Bretta Hagerty’s huddle, the Lady Rams came out with the Eye of the Tiger. Just as they did in the fifth set in GMC Championship vs Fairview, the Lady Rams had that gleam in their eyes as they walked back on the floor at DHS.
That right arm of senior Emma Chafins was also on display again in the tournament, closing out Delta with 17 straight serves, as well as closing out Archbold Monday night with 12 straight serves, the Lady Rams were hoping the lightning bolt in Chafins arm still had a bit of charge in it.
Chafins stepped back to serve with the Lady Rams season on the line, trailing in the fifth set 11-9, Tinora needed a jolt. After another Horn block cut the lead to 11-10, Lake called a TO. An unforced error by Lake tied the set at 11-11.
Chafins serving again, two straight Reetz kills gave the Rams a 13-11 lead in set five. A Lake kill by Vorst brought the score 13-12, Tinora nursing the lead. A spike attempt by Horn was deflected off the net, falling to the floor, giving the Lady Rams a 14-12 lead.
On the serve for match point was Emma Cramer, After a few back and forth volleys, the Lady Flyers shot went wide, giving Tinora the set, the match, and the 2021 District Championship, 15-12. The Lady Rams came away with a thrilling 3-2 victory.
Fans, players, coaches, broadcasters were ecstatic, but also drained all at the same time in the epic, instant classic five set thriller as the Lady Rams knocked off the #1 seed Lake.
With the win, the Lady Rams advance to play next Thursday, November 4. Tinora will play at Lake High School at 7 pm vs Castilla Margaretta who upset Huron, 3-0.
this seems to be the Rams home away from home over the years.
Tinora will move on with a 21-4 record, #11 state ranked Lake sees their season end at 23-2.
The Higbea Embroidery player of the game went to you, the Tinora Rams fan in attendance, you would not allow the Lady Rams team members to be down in that fifth set. Congratulations to all Rams fans in attendance.
Congratulations 2021 Tinora Lady Rams, 2021 GMC Champs, 2021 District Champs, don’t stop believing.
Tinora defeated Lake HS , 25-21, 26-24, 20-25, 22-25, 15-12
Tinora Makenna Reetz 27 kills, 3 blocks; Brooklyn Reineke 22 digs, 17-19 serving, 53 assists, 3 aces; Macey Schlosser 5 digs, 9-11 serving; Emma Cramer 14 digs, 18-18 serving, 19-21 serve receive; Kjerstin Scott 4 kills, 3 digs; Emma Chafins 6 kills, 13 digs, 21-22 serving, 2 aces, 30-30 serve receive; Logan McQuillin 5 digs, 13-14 serve receive; Kaylee Dickinson 9 digs, 13-14 serving; Quinn Horn 23 kills, 12 digs, 15-17 serving, 2 aces, 21-22 serve receive.
A special thanks to Defiance AD Jerry Buti, a first class host as always!
Photo courtesy Tinora Volleyball page, Emily Brown, Mrs. Wells.
Jerri Latta photos:
Video from Mrs Wells. Interview below from TV 26 and Myles Holliday.