(11-1-17) Thursday night at the D III Girls Volleyball Regional at Millbury #1 State Ranked Coldwater will take on # 16 Marion Pleasant in a semifinal match.

Marion Pleasant, ranked #16 in the D-III state coaches poll, will try and stop #1 Coldwater. The Spartans, who in the past had issues getting out of the District play, handled Northmor in four sets to advance.

Senior defensive specialist Ashley James for Pleasant told the Marion Star after the District title win:

“I think today we had a team that wanted to win the game a lot more. We had players who really wanted to advance on to regionals, and they weren’t ready for basketball just yet.”

Coach Randy Haas gave us some thoughts on the upcoming match:

On your team’s run

Pleasant was a 3 seed for tournaments and fortunate enough to start tournaments at Home.  They have beaten all opponents in 3 sets except for District finals when Northmor took the second set.  The team has been looking forward to making a statement and beating Coldwater to continue their run for state.  They have been showing this in the way they have worked in practice.  They are excited to put Pleasant on the map and go farther than any other volleyball team in the school’s history.

On your upcoming opponent, Coldwater

Honestly, I don’t know a whole lot about Coldwater.  They are a #1 seed in their bracket, and were able to beat each of the teams they faced in 3 sets.  They are very well respected in their conference because when asking conference coaches for film, I was told no.  The only information I was able to get from those whom had faced and lost to them was that they are “a well oiled machine”.   Another coach did tell me they are, “extremely aggressive and attack at everything in every position.”

The Spartans go-to hitter is 5’11 Junior Laina Sansotta, who was on the All-Mid Ohio Athletic Conference 2nd Team,  has over 300 kills on the season.  They are pretty deep in talent, both up front and in the back row.

Ashley Anderson  and Carlie Craycraft were both 1st Team all-conference selections and Emilee Riley was an Honorable Mention selection.

Laina Sansotta		MH, OH	Jr.	5-11
Leah Maniaci (C) 	OH, MH	Sr.	5-7
Emilee Riley (C) 	DS, L	Sr.	5-5
Ashley Anderson (C) 	L, DS	Sr.	5-5
Ashley James (C) 	DS, L	Sr.	5-6
Carlie Craycraft	S	Jr.	5-6
Alissa Holler		MH, OH	So.	5-9
Morgan Haas		OH	Jr.	5-6

Pleasant was 2nd in the MOAC, behind conference champ Galion who gave the Spartans two of their three losses this season.

Ranked #1 in D III most of the season Coldwater is at 24-1 on the season, their only loss came to D IV #1 State Ranked New Bremen and All MAC Player of the Year Paige Jones. The Cavs and the Cardinals would end up as Co-MAC Champions.

How good is the MAC? This season seven of the ten member schools were ranked in the state rankings.

Lauren Gilliland	MH	So.	6-1
Elena Knapke		S, L	Sr.	5-6
Tasha Kahlig		OH	Sr.	5-7
Olivia Harlamert	OH	Sr.	5-9
Allison Sudhoff		MH, RS	Sr.	5-10

The Cavaliers placed three players on the MAC 1st Team, Tasha Kahlig, Lauren Gilliland and Elena Knapke, on the 2nd Team was Olivia Harlamert and on the Honorable Mention list was Allison Sudhoff.

Nikki Etzler, the MAC Co-Coach of the Year, in her second season is 46-6 over those two years. In her first year as the Head Coach the Cavs lost to Huron in the Regional Semifinal game.

Coach Etzler gave us some comments on the match:

This year’s Cavalier team

Since the last day of the season last year, the young ladies on this team committed themselves to one goal and that was to get back to the Regional and advance. They have been a committed group of hard workers who put the TEAM first!! They have worked diligently to get better in order to make the team better!

The girls are ready and prepared for the regional semi-final match. They have been a group of girls who love to compete! They love competing against each other daily in practice and thrive on competition. We all are ready to play on Thursday evening.

As far as the tournament run so far… the coaching staff is so proud of the girls for the way they have come out and followed the game plan in order to win the match. They have focused in on our team strengths and what we need to do to control our side of the match. They have also effectively carried out the plan to stop the opponents strengths.

Thoughts on Marion Pleasant

They are a very competitive team! They have a great setter who is able to run a quick offense, and she is a threat in the front row. Marion Pleasant also has 2 aggressive middle attackers who are always up and ready to attack. They have a libero who likes to control the pace of the game and tries to control most of their serve receive.  We will have to play at a high level of volleyball in order to be successful against Marion Pleasant.

Our girls are ready for this match!! They have battled throughout the course of the season within the MAC conference play with some of the best teams in the state. We know that this competition has prepared us for a match like this.

Coldwater has advanced to the Regionals five out of the last six years, three of those times they reached the Finals.

COMPLETE MILLBURY BRACKET

How both teams arrived at this point in the tournament –

Marion Pleasant 23-3 – #16 in State Rankings

#3 seed at Delawre District 1 – D III

beat East Knox 25-19, 25-13, 25-19
beat North Union 25-21, 25-15, 25-11
beat Columbus School For Girls 25-18, 25-20, 25-17
beat Northmor 25-17, 25-27, 25-17, 25-21 District Final

Coldwater 25-1 – #1 in State Rankings

#1 seed at Kalida District – D III

beat Bluffton 25-8, 25-12, 25-6
beat Spencerville 25-3, 25-2, 25-7
beat Minster 25-12, 25-11, 25-8
beat O-G 25-23, 25-17, 25-21 District Final
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