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Hillclimbers make good on their third chance against Raiders

NEW CARLISLE — This time, Benjamin Logan could not find a way to get past Urbana.

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Benjamin Logan’s Ciarra Wirick sends the ball over the net during Thursday’s Division II sectional tournament match against Urbana at Tecumseh High School. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

The Raiders, who beat the Hillclimbers in a pair of regular-season battles, fell in three tight sets Thursday in a Division II sectional volleyball final at Tecumseh High School.

Third-seeded Urbana prevailed over the top-seeded Raiders by scores of 25-23, 26-24, 28-26.

Ben Logan defeated Urbana in four sets in their first matchup and then outlasted the Hillclimbers in five grueling sets last week in the regular-season finale.

“Urbana is a very talented team,” said Ben Logan head coach Allison Reule. “They play great defense.”

In the third meeting between the two squads, the Raiders were unable to match the intensity and spirit they played within the two regular-season matches.

“We told the girls that we could not be tentative,” said Reule. “We were too tight. Urbana was relaxed and having a lot of fun out there. We stopped playing our game. We were just too tentative tonight.”

Ben Logan still had a great chance to win in each of the three sets.

The first set was tied 23-23 before the Hillclimbers scored the next two points to get the victory.

The second set was a tough one to swallow for the Raiders, who led 24-21. Needing just one point to take the set, they saw Urbana rattle off five straight points for the 26-24 victory.

Ben Logan trailed 19-14 in the third set, but rallied to knot the score at 24-24.

Urbana again stepped up in the clutch by pulling out the 28-26 win to end the Raiders’ season.

“Winning those close sets has been our strong point all season,” said Reule. “It seemed like we always found a way to win those close ones, but we just couldn’t find a way to do it tonight.”

Despite the disappointing loss, the Raiders have a lot to feel good about. They compiled an impressive 22-3 record and won the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River division with a perfect 10-0 mark. Ben Logan was ranked sixth in the state coaches poll.

“I could not be more proud of these girls,” said Reule. “Starting back on June 1st, they gave me everything they had. I could not ask for anything more from them.”

Ben Logan will have to find a way to replace a stellar group of seniors, which includes Ciarra Wirick, Courtney Stewart, Brooklyn Terrill, Marissa Wilbur, Jessica Yoder and Kylee Smith.

“It is going to be really tough not having those girls around anymore,” said Reule of her seniors. “They are all great competitors and great leaders on and off the court. They excel at everything they do, and that is going to leave the biggest hole in our program when they graduate.”

Wirick had eight kills and three solo blocks to spark the Raiders on Thursday. Smith had seven kills and 18 digs, Courtney Stewart recorded 11 digs, Alex Thompson had nine kills and three blocks and Wilbur dished out 28 assists.

Urbana (18-7) advances to play either Oxford Talawanda or Kettering Alter in the district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at Kettering Fairmont.

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