ELYRIA — It’s been a long time between victories for Wellington’s volleyball team, but the Dukes managed to advance to the Division III sectional championship by sweeping Beachwood on Monday night at Elyria High.
Wellington faces top-seeded Elyria Catholic for the sectional title Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The Dukes’ last win came against Oberlin on Aug. 28. Since then, they’ve suffered 18 straight losses. But Wellington (3-21) took the early lead in all three sets against the Bison (2-17) and rolled to the easy 25-19, 25-18, 25-12 victory.
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In Game 1, Wellington scored four straight points to erase a 13-10 deficit and maintained control to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Dukes jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second game thanks to great serving by senior Kelsie White, who was 14-of-14, and built a 21-9 lead before cruising to the seven-point win. In Game 3, runs of four, four and five points triggered the blowout in the final game that sewed up the match.
“I’m happy for the girls,” Wellington first year coach Megan Birchfield said. “They did their job. They’re getting something for working hard.
“We focused on the service line and serve receive, and I told them if they did their job it would be the difference in the game.”
Wellington’s tough regular-season schedule also had to help. The Dukes played 16 games in a tough Patriot Athletic Conference. They played Stars Division champion Brookside twice, and Stripes Division champion Clearview once. The Cardinals and Clippers are state-ranked teams.
“It feels great to get a win,” said senior hitter Erin Reisinger, who led Wellington with six kills and eight digs. “We need to get everything we can ’cause we’re starting over in the tournament.”
Senior Raven Howard (five kills) and junior Jill Jackson (four) also did damage. Senior Stephanie Mims had 11 assists and junior Ashley Gott had five.
“We needed to pass better than we did,” Beachwood coach Doug Mekinda said. “We’re young. We’ll be better.”
Sophomores Valisha Watkins and Tamarea Townes led the Bison effort.
In other Division III first-round games — Oberlin forfeited to third-seeded Cuyahoga Heights and Laurel outlasted Richmond Heights in five games.
Cuyahoga Heights advances to meet No. 4 seed Lutheran West on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Laurel will play Independence the same night at 6.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or email@example.com.