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Shadyside sweeps Caldwell in D-IV

SHADYSIDE — After falling in the OVAC 2A championship volleyball match last Saturday, Shadyside head coach Eric Mercer told his team to put the defeat in the back of its mind and turn its focus to sectional play.

From the looks of things Wednesday night, the Lady Tigers have a good ability to look forward and not back.

Madison Davis had 26 assists and Caroline Mercer collected 13 digs as Shadyside rolled to a 25-11, 25-17, 25-12 victory against Caldwell in the second of two Ohio Division IV sectional semifinals inside the Tiger Den. Rosecrans downed Strasburg in four sets in the opener, setting up a match-up between the Lady Tigers (22-1) and Bishops at noon Saturday back in Tiger Town for the sectional title.

“That’s what we talked about all week,” Mercer said following the match, which went just a little more than one hour. “It’s a new season now. OVACs are done. Let’s move on and focus on what’s ahead of us and forget about what’s behind. Just stay focused on the task at hand.”

That’s what top-seeded Shadyside did, jumping out to a 12-4 lead in the opening set and leaving room for very little drama.

“The girls played well,” Mercer acknowledged. “We started fast. We were passing the ball well. We were making good passes and good decisions with the ball, hitting the ball hard and playing good defense. It’s what we’ve done all year.”

That’s pretty much how the Lady Tigers treated the match — like a regular-season affair. And, just like it did during most of the regular season, Shadyside looked virtually unstoppable, except for, perhaps, the second set.

There, the Redskins built a 7-2 advantage. Slowly, but surely, though, Shadyside clawed its away back.

Tory Hendershot’s point brought the Lady Tigers to within a point at 15-14. Then, after Shadyside tied the set, Kylie Baker put the hosts in front for good. She had two more points toward the end of the match to seal things.

“I didn’t feel at any point (during the second set) that we were out of control,” Mercer said. “We were right with them. It wa sjust back-and-forth, back-and-forth. We just needed to put a little run together. We’re usually pretty good about doing that at some point.

“We came back hard and took the lead and then finished things off in the third set.”

Riley Brown and Sarah Teasdale added six kills and six digs, respectively, for the Lady Tigers, while Hendershot finished with seven kills. Baker had 10 kills.

Mercer is eager to lock horns with 10th-seeded Rosecrans. The winner advances to next week’s district semifinal against Malvern or Fort Frye.

“They have some nice ball control,” he observed. “They have a nice setter. They have a couple of girls that hit some smart shots, so we’ll have to be ready.

“We’ll have to play our best and just be the team we’ve been all season.”

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