“They could have rolled over and died,” Weinheimer said of her squad. “They came back and fought hard during every single point. That was the tallest — and the toughest — squad we had faced all season.”
An aggressive third set saw 13 tied scores and six lead changes, but Gilmour Academy closed it out 25-23. Badin mounted a comeback late in the fourth set to win 26-24.
The Lancers took the fifth and final set 15-10 to move on to Saturday’s state championship game against Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin at 3 p.m. at Wright State. Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin defeated Union Local 3-0 in Friday’s other semifinal.
“I thought our momentum was going to roll over to five,” Weinheimer said. “We’ve made out well with five-set matches throughout the year. We’ve played really strong. I just think that with the idea that this could be their last game it got into their heads a little bit.”
Badin senior Alyvia Hegemann, who was the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Player of the Year, said the Rams reached the state Final Four because they grew stronger as the season progressed.
“We were able to build a strong foundation,” said Hegemann, who had 17 digs and three aces. “That’s a big reason why we had a successful year.”
Added Rams senior Sarah Newberry, “The level of play our team has had helped us get better progressively. We didn’t lose that many players, so I knew our team was going to be very strong.”
Marlie Davis had a game-high 17 kills for Gilmour-Academy. Oliva Schmidt had a team-high 13 kills and six blocks for Badin.