Monday, June 17

    Kirtland overwhelms Champion, sets up rubber match with Berkshire

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    Kirtland cruised to a 3-0 win over Warren Champion in a Division III sectional semifinal at Lakeview High School on Wednesday.

    With the 25-10, 25-20, 25-19 win, the Hornets improved to 14-8 and set up a rubber match with league rival Berkshire. Kirtland split its two-game series against the Badgers during the regular season.

    “The stage is set,” said Kirtland coach Ricky Sanders. “The girls played really well in the first set when all my starters were in, and Nina Loncar got her 800th kill of the season.”

    Loncar needed 13 kills to reach 800 and finished the night with 17. Kristiana Katic contributed with eight kills and Georgia DeJohn added five of Kirtland’s 45 kills on the night.

    “We were moving the ball around a lot on offense tonight,” said Kirtland setter Katie Reynolds, who finished with 15 assists to go along with teammate Alexis Schaffer’s 18. “Nina Loncar and Georgia DeJohn were both scoring lots tonight from the outside and from the middle. Moving the ball around is really important to a team like ours because we aren’t the tallest, so faking out the other team’s block makes getting kills so much easier.”

    Reynolds missed Kirtland’s loss to Berkshire with an injury, so she’s eager to help the Hornets avenge the loss that led to a split of the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division title.

    “For the game with Berkshire, we’re looking to have a balance of motivation driven by revenge and motivation on just going far in the postseason,” Reynolds said. “Yes, we all want to beat Berkshire specifically, but we also want to continue our season. Luckily, accomplishing one of those accomplishes both. I think right now, the most out of the entire season, the team is united in the goal of winning, and we’re all ready to bring our A-game on Saturday.”

    Schaffer led the Hornets with four service aces, and Nina Alfieri and Sophia Wojnar finished the match with 18 and 13 digs, respectively.

    And now, the Hornets have two days to prepare for their sectional championship match with the Badgers, which will be played at Lakeview on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

    “I told them we’ve got to stay balanced,” Sanders said. “We know them, and they know us so we’re going to bring pretty much what we brought the first time we played them (a 3-1 win) because the second time we played them, we didn’t have Katie or our other outsides. This time, we’re coming in full force.”


    Steve Hare
    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.


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