PAINESVILLE—The third matchup between Western Reserve Conference rivals North and South figured to be a back and forth affair, considering each team entered the third-place match at Riverside with a win on its home court.
Instead, North dominated the first two games, 25-13 and 25-9, and was well on its way to winning the season series. The Rebels had other ideas and came from behind to win three straight and the match, 25-13, 25-20, 15-8.
“After set two we did a gut check,” said South coach Bill Behrend. “Going in, we knew it was a mental game. Rivals, playing for the third time, last match of the season, it was time to lay it all on the line. We switched our lineup to try to expose some matchups. It worked.”
Brenna Yerse led the Rebels with 11 kills while Margo Huff pitched in with 10. Mya Matriano posted a team-high 28 digs and Sarah Miozzi led South with 40 assists.
“A win like this sets us up for the postseason in a huge way,” Behrend said. “Down 0-2 and able to battle back, that is huge for us. Now we know what we are capable of.”
The Rebels, who finished 14-8, earned the No. 3 seed in the Division I Euclid District and will play the winner of the Mayfield-Shaker Heights match in a sectional final on Oct. 21.
After getting off to a great start, North couldn’t keep the momentum going in the final three sets.
The Rangers will use this loss as motivation for the playoffs.
“This game really taught us the importance of staying focused the whole time and that any team can beat another team on any given day,” said North coach Chelsey Regovich. “They all learned a great lesson tonight, now it’s time to take what they learned and bring the focus to each set we play in the playoffs. We need to have that mindset.”
Lindsey Mausser led North with 15 kills and seven blocks while Samantha Pirosko recorded 14 kills and a team-high 24 digs. Jill Borthwick pitched in with 22 digs and Taylor Valaitis led the Rangers with 18 assists.
No. 4 North plays No. 13 Shaw in a sectional semifinal at Euclid on Oct. 17.