Cadets serve their way to the District Crown | News, Sports, Jobs

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The Fort Frye volleyball team defeated Tuscarawas Valley in four sets in a Division III District final game on Saturday in Cambridge. (Photo provided)

CAMBRIDGE – Serve was the name of the game for Fort Frye in Saturday’s District final victory over Tuscarawas Valley.

The second-seeded Cadets, now 24-2 this year, registered just three aces but consistently placed their serves where they needed them to control the game. Fort Frye won in four sets (25-18, 25-21, 16-25, 25-19) to advance to Thursday’s regional semi-final.

The Trojans (23-3) had impressive height and athleticism from top to bottom of their roster, led by 6-foot-2 center hitter Taylor West.

“We went to watch them play, and we found that if the serve was good, you basically take the middle out of the equation because they can’t put it up that much.” Fort Frye head coach Emily Tracewell said. “We worked on a good serve and on moving the ball quickly, so that the block was not there.

“They knew what the job was. They had to have good serve and serve-reception so that our hitters could do what they needed to do. I think they did that.

The Fort Frye hitters dominated the game. Maddy Long was a force with 20 kills and eight blocks, while older sister McKenna Long added 14 kills and 11 digs.

“We are really lucky to have them in our program”, said Tracewell. “(McKenna’s) a sophomore and (Maddy’s) a freshman. Like everyone else on the team, they are really dedicated and really committed to the program. They always give 110%. With them on the pitch, it gives our team good confidence that they are able to put the ball down. But without our smugglers and smugglers, they couldn’t do what they have to do either.

Senior Julia Zalmanek, who contributed 17 kills and three blocks, said the Long sisters have had an immeasurable impact on the cadets.

“They are great,” she said. “I love playing with them and I wish I could come back and play with them. I know that for years to come they will be great. They are just great players. When they are on, they are on. They can drop the ball.

As good as Fort Frye’s strikes were, the passes were just as good. Lilly Schilling and Bella Schilling had 16 digs each, while Bella compiled 45 assists. Jenna White (four kills, one block) and Kianna O’brien (four digs, four assists, two assists) were also instrumental in the victory.

The first set was tied at 5 before the cadets scored seven consecutive points to take the lead. The second set went back and forth, but Fort Frye pushed it back with a block from Zalmanek to take a 2-0 lead.

The Trojans, a team that qualified last year, did not come out easily and dominated the opening part of the third set to lead 12-2. They lifted that lead to reduce it to 2-1.

“Sometimes when we (get ahead), however, we can be a little lazy and not work so hard the next game,” said Tracewell.

“We just told them that they basically have to forget about this game and move on. Just start again to work together as a team and every touch of the ball trying to be perfect. “

Fort Frye responded by scoring nine straight runs to open the fourth set. The Trojans rallied to get closer to three, 21-18, but the Cadets scored four of the last five points to finish first.

Fort Frye last won a district title in 2018. Zalmanek was a freshman on this team and is happy to be back on top of the district.

“It really feels good, especially since it’s my last year”, she said.

“It means a lot because we are trying to rebuild the program and make it better for the future players who come. I think everyone is really happy and proud of us that we won.

The Tracewell Cadets have now won 10 straight games.

“I’m proud of their hard work and hope they take this and keep working so that we can take it to the next level,” she said.

Adena beat the Northwest in a Southeast District final on Saturday and will face Fort Frye on Thursday. The regional semi-final is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Jim Myers Gymnasium in Logan. When it comes to the Cadets’ chances of continued success, Zalmanek has done better.

“Our team, as long as we work together, we can be unstoppable” she said.

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