Independence wins second straight regional title


BARBERTON—Independence defeated Applecreek Waynedale in four sets on Saturday to win its second straight Division III Barberton Regional championship.

With the win, the Blue Devils will return to the state Final Four in Dayton for the second consecutive season.

“It’s awesome,” Independence coach Tony Messina said. “I love playing through this time of year. Going back to state with this group after they had unfinished business after last year is a great opportunity.”

Independence got off to a fast start winning the first two sets 25-21 and 25-17. The Blue Devils led 13-3 in the third set before the Golden Bears rallied for a 25-22 win.

The Blue Devils had swept their last nine opponents dating back to Sept. 29.

“Today was a great match,” Messina said. “We had some adversity in set three. We were up big but they came back and played great and beat us. We haven’t had a lot of adversity this year. We played pretty well and did what we needed to do. The girls responded in set four. It was a great day.”

Independence (25-3) will play Defiance Tinora in the state semifinals at Wright State University on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 4:00 p.m.