6’2 Bruins’ Abby Leigh anchors the middle for the Bruins

(10-30-17) Thursday night the Celina Bulldogs will take on defending state champion and the #1 ranked team in Ohio, Padua Franciscan, in the Regional Semifinals at Lexington.

The Bruins, NCL Blue Division Champions, are 21-4 on the season and they became the District Champions for the 11th consecutive time beating Rocky River 24-26, 25-12, 25-20, 25-13.

They have won their share of state titles over the years, including last season, 2008, 2009 and 2013.

Playing a WBL team is nothing new for the Bruins, last season in the Regional they beat a state ranked O-G  21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16.

Celina will have to try and match up with 6’2 Junior Abby Leigh in the middle and she will cause the Bulldogs some issues when she is up front. The Bruins also have Sophomore Captain (OH 5’10) Samantha Ott, who returns from last year’s state title team, plus Seniors Julie Yirk and Elise Gray and Junior Cami Budzik.

Celina was 6-3 in conference play and is 16-9 on the season. The Bulldogs rolled through the Districts losing only one set (Defiance) and beating three WBL rivals to pick up the Championship trophy, during the district run Celina did get a little revenge by beating St. Marys and Shawnee, both beat the Bulldogs during the season.

All WBL - - courtesy Snap In Time Photography
McKenna Black and Hannah Rasawehr

Celina is led by Celina’s, Hannah Rasawehr (Sr. 5’9 MH, DS) who was named to the WBL 1st team, McKenna Black (OH, Sr. 6’0 MH) a 2nd team all-conference member, Paige Duncan (Sr. S-RS) was on the 3rd Team and Hope Ebbling who picked up Honorable Mention honors.

Celina Head Coach Amy Sutter talks about her team’s performance and their upcoming match with Padua Franciscan:

My players have certainly been rising to the occasion and peaking here at the end of the season just as we hoped they would. We had some ups and downs this year performance wise, but all of them were learning experiences that benefitted us for this tournament run. Our defense has been much more aggressive in pursuing the ball and we’re scrappier lately. Our hitters have been finishing at the net well and hitting smart shots, and our blocks have been significantly slowing balls down for our defense just like they should. This has been such a fun year, and its been really satisfying to see how we’ve improved as a whole and come together as a team to accomplish this together.

Padua is going to be a challenge in that they’re strong in both skill and experience. They’re used to the pressure and the atmosphere that comes with long successful tournament runs. We’ve got desire and determination to do well though and we’re going to fight as hard as we can for a victory. None of us are ready for the season to end.

The first set is scheduled to begin Thursday (November 2nd) at 6:00 pm at Lexington High School.

How they arrived at the Regionals

Padua Franciscan

#1 seed at Parma Heights District

  • beat Brookside 25-13, 25014, 25-13
  • beat Buckeye 25-3, 25-15, 25-6
  • beat Rocky River 24-26, 25-12, 25-20, 25-13


#2 seed at Bluffton District

  • beat Defiance 25-10, 26-24, 22-25, 25-18
  • beat St. Marys 28-26, 26-24, 25-21
  • beat #1 seed Shawnee 26-24, 25-21, 25-23