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OVAC Volleyball: Fort Frye topples Linsly for 3A title

MORRISTOWN — Linsly senior outside hitter Charlie Allison brings many challenges to the volleyball court for her opponents.

Fort Frye coach Emily Tracewell knew that in order for her Cadets to bring their first OVAC championship in school history back home, they would need to be prepared for her talents.

Allison had a strong effort with 21 kills but Fort Frye (18-4) came up big when it needed to in earning a 25-21, 25-17 and 25-18 sweep of Linsly (15-4) for the OVAC 3A crown on Saturday inside Union Local’s gymnasium.

“We played them before and lost the first two sets before coming back to win in five sets,” Tracewell said. “So, this week at practice we had our assistant coach, Brady Ohrn who is really good at volleyball, pretend to be Charlie the whole time. We were just working on blocking because they set the ball to her every time, so we figured out a way to reenact it in practice”

When the campaign began, Tracewell put the goal in place for her team to raise the OVAC trophy — on Saturday, they brought that goal to fruition.

“That was something we talked about at the beginning of the season — how we’ve never won an OVAC Championship,” Tracewell said. “That was something in the back of our minds, while we were practicing and working throughout the season. I think we finally peaked at the right time together.

“We’ve been working together as a team and everybody was on board with their hitting, setting and moving their feet. Their serving’s been good and we’ve just been working hard at practice for the last few weeks to get our mindset right to be able to bring home the win.”

Linsly fought every step of the way in all three sets and led 15-14 in the opening frame.

That was until Liv Schneider stepped behind the service line and dialed up four consecutive points to give Fort Frye a 19-15 advantage it did not relinquish.

Makenna Long provided the final block to preserve the 1-0 lead.

Again, Linsly jumped out to a 6-3 upper hand behind four straight points from Celia Demarchi but Fort Frye was on a mission.

Fort Frye’s Karlee Ross put the match in her own hands and delivered a six-point run that turned a 17-16 edge into a 23-16 cushion, before Long provided another game-ending kill.

With Fort Frye in control, Linsly hung around in the third set for a while, grabbing its only lead at 11-10 but Julia Zalmanek blasted several missiles over the net for kills and Cara McIntosh rattled off five straight points to end the set and the match to send her Fort Frye teammates into celebration.

Despite the loss, Linsly coach Ashlee Jividen was proud of her team’s effort.

“That’s what I told every single person on the team — that there is no doubt that they wanted it,” Linsly coach Jividen said. “That showed just in their passion for the game.”

In the victory, Fort Frye was led by Long’s 25 points, 22 kills and five digs, while Karlee

Ross delivered 19 points and 15 kills with Bella Schilling dishing out 20 assists and six digs.

Also for Fort Frye, Schneider amassed 10 digs, McIntosh recorded 15 assists, eight digs and six points, Julia Zalmanek turned in a stellar 17 points and 13 kills, Khloee Ross supplied six points and four kills, Lexie Huck collected 18 digs and Jayden Wallace added 15 digs, seven kills and five assists.

Along with Allison’s 21 kills, Linsly was led by Milica Sekulovic’s 15 kills, London Podobnik’s 36 assists and Demarchi’s 17 digs.

“Fort Frye played well,” Jividen said. “Defense was key. Both teams have good hitters and our passing could have done a better job at limiting our errors.”

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