Potters cruise into OVAC final

East Liverpool’s Skye Stokes gets air against St. Clairsville on Tuesday night at Potter Fieldhouse. (Photo by Jimmy Joe Savage)

EAST LIVERPOOL–As an exciting season approaches its most important stretch, the East Liverpool volleyball team shows no signs of slowing down.

The Potters landed their second convincing victory over St. Clairsville in less than a week Tuesday with a 25-17, 25-10, 25-7 OVAC 4A semifinal sweep Tuesday at Potter Fieldhouse.

The top-seeded Potters improve to 20-1 overall. After sweeping the fourth-seeded Red Devils last Thursday for the Buckeye 8 title, East Liverpool was in control from start to finish in the rematch and wrapped things up in just over an hour.

“We just saw them (St. Clairsville) last week, which helped us a lot,” East Liverpool’s Skye Stokes said. “We knew how they swung and where the open spots were. It was kind of easier for us to play our game this week.”

The Potters earn a shot at their third straight OVAC title when they take on second-seeded Oak Glen in the 4A title match at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Oak Glen High School.

“It means a lot to be able to have a chance at three straight,” Skye Stokes said. “It shows how far we’ve come and how much work we’ve put in.”

There was never any drama in Tuesday’s match, as Stokes led the way with 16 kills, four aces and three blocks. Terran Stacey added nine kills, three blocks and two aces. Emma Ludwig chipped in six kills three blocks and three aces. Sharnae Wilson had four kills and three blocks.

“I thought our passing was spot-on tonight,” East Liverpool coach Jonathan Stokes said. “Early in the season we struggled with serve-receive, which didn’t allow our big hitters to get going. Our blocking is also a lot better know and we talk a lot more. We’re running like a pretty well-oiled machine right now.”

The Potters, who are ranked 16th in Div. II entered Tuesday’s match fresh off a big four-set win over Salem (ranked sixth in Div. III) Monday night.

Skye Stokes was pleased to see her team carry that intensity over.

“I feel like last night really set the tone for us,” Stokes said. “We came out with the same type of intensity tonight.”

With the title match approaching on Saturday, and sectional tournament play ready to ramp up next week, the Potters know they have a team capable of doing damage, but they are keeping their focus narrow.

“I think we are very prepared for what’s ahead of us, but I’m just looking at one team at a time,” Jonathan Stokes said. “Our kids are hungry to get into the tournament and compete, they’re ready. They want to go far.”