Unbeaten Logan Elm beats Fenwick in regional volleyball final

Fenwick’s Julia Popson returns a serve during a Division II district volleyball final against Kenton Ridge on Oct. 29 at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE
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Fenwick’s Julia Popson returns a serve during a Division II district volleyball final against Kenton Ridge on Oct. 29 at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE

Logan Elm High School’s volleyball team began Saturday with a perfect record and finished it the same way.

The 28-0 Braves beat Fenwick 25-22, 17-25, 25-14, 25-20 in the Division II regional final at Butler on Saturday, advancing to the state tournament for the second time in school history.

The Falcons are the third team all season to even win a set against the Braves, but it was little consolation after falling short of state.

“There was no panic but, for some reason, we just couldn’t flip the switch,” Fenwick coach Tyler Conley said.

The Falcons led late in the first set 19-15, but Logan Elm rallied to even the contest at 20-20 on an ace by defensive specialist Molly Caudill. Fenwick took advantage of a pair of Logan Elm errors to go up 22-20, but the Braves’ offense took over, rattling off the next five points to claim the opening set.

FHS quickly stole the momentum away in the second set, opening up a 17-13 lead and never looking back. Freshman middle hitter Julia Gardon capped a late four-point Fenwick run to even the match at a set apiece.

But Set 3 was all Braves as they quickly doubled up on the Falcons 14-7 and continued to build on that lead. Logan Elm capitalized on Fenwick errors throughout the match as the Falcons tallied 44 – including 17 hitting errors and 10 service errors. The Braves had 25 errors in the match.

“That has to be a season high for us,” Conley said of the errors. “The math was not in our favor.”

Down 2-1 in the best-of-five match, the Falcons continued to battle. A kill by junior outside hitter Catherine Richards gave Fenwick a 12-11 lead, but it would be the last lead of the day for the Falcons.

“It was not our night and it was theirs,” Conley said.

It was more than a great day for the Braves. It’s been great season for a Logan Elm team that lost in the first round of the sectional tournament last year.

“It’s a Cinderella story,” first-year coach Kris Kern said. “We’re pretty happy to be here.”

While the Falcons (22-6) will lose eight players to graduation, a pair of freshmen came up big on Saturday as Gardon led all Fenwick hitters with 12 kills and setter Grace Maziar tallied 38 assists and a team-high four aces.

Division II state tournament play is scheduled to start Thursday at the Wright State University Nutter Center.