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Beavers power through Bears

Beaver Local’s Bailey Bowersock (20) spikes the volleyball past Oak Glen’s Gracie Wright (12) during the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 4A semifinals Tuesday at Beaver Local High School. (Photo by Anthony Fiuza)

CALCUTTA — With its eyes set on repeating as Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 4A champs, Beaver Local volleyball first had to take care of business against Oak Glen on Tuesday.

Fortunately, for the Beavers they came out like it was hunting season and topped the Golden Bears in the OVAC semifinal, 25-18, 25-14, 25-12.

Beaver Local will meet rival East Liverpool in the final at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday at Union Local High School. East Liverpool beat Indian Creek in four sets in the night’s other semifinal.

The Beavers (18-3) used their strong front line for spikes that became too hard to handle. They also got timely digs in order to keep possessions alive against an Oak Glen club that appeared hungry.

The Bears (13-7) were swept by Beaver Local once during the regular season and only won a set versus the Beavers in three total meetings.

After yet another dominant performance, it’s clear Beaver Local is in postseason form.

Beaver Local’s Grace Hill said her team has a few goals in mind as they shoot for an OVAC repeat this season.

“We lost a few seniors, but this year we have eight. We try to step up, put strong games on the court, and keep our energy up,” Hill said.

She added that putting a few more trophies in her school’s trophy case would be huge for her team.

“It would be awesome. We’re really looking to be back-to-back champs and we’re super pumped. Whoever we get to play we will be excited,” Hill noted.

Emma Joseph had 15 assists and six digs for the Beavers. Teammate Kodi Kinsey added 10 digs. Leah Riccardo posted five digs and four kills. Meanwhile, Bailey Bowersock had eight digs. Brooke Talbot had seven kills and 11 assists. Elizabeth Kolkowski added five kills and four blocks. Grace Hill tacked on 11 kills and three blocks.

“Tonight everyone came out on fire ready to play. We put our best foot forward and played our game,” Bowersock said. “We hustled to every ball and never gave up. It feels really good to come back out with a win.”

Talbot explained that it’s vital for her Beavers to play smart whether it’s against Oak Glen or another tough opponent.

“We knew this game would be a tough one coming out, playing a team we already beat twice. We knew they’d be fired up and beating them in three sets today was so exciting,” she said. “Outsmarting teams like Oak Glen is what we need to do every game and we’re super excited to in the championship round this Saturday.”

Oak Glen did battle early in sets, but ultimately the Beavers made more plays and utilized its taller athletes in Hill and Kolkowski to help put away the Bears.

“I think they had some really good chalks offensively, but I don’t think we played up to our potential tonight,” Oak Glen head coach Morgan Poling said. “We definitely need to regroup faster. We have to learn how to face adversity and get that next ball.”

Beaver Local head coach Sarah Lowe knows her team is ready for the next match, but it won’t be easy.

“Tonight we put together a strong performance and we are looking forward to having the opportunity to play in the finals on Saturday. We e are up against some strong competition. In the final stretch we have already seen this opponent twice which makes the matchup all that much more challenging,” the coach said.

In the JV match, Beaver Local beat Oak Glen, 25-18, 29-27. For the Beavers, Becca Buchheit and Joslin Rhodes had five kills. Shaylon Mackall had a dozen assists and 13 digs.

Game notes

– During the regular season, Beaver beat the Potters twice, including a sweep back on August 26.

-The Potters have won eight consecutive matches. Their last loss came against Beaver.

-Beaver Local has won four matches in a row.

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