Tippecanoe volleyball falls to Gilmour Academy in four sets in state semifinals

Tippecanoe’s Kaitlyn Husic hits the ball around Gilmour Acedmy’s Ava Nestor Friday.

Tippecanoe’s Molly Achterburg (6) and Rachel Wildermuth (14) go up for a block attempt.

Mike Ullery | Miami Valley Today

Tippecanoe’s Corinn Siefring passes the ball Friday.

Mike Ullery | Miami Valley Today

Tippecanoe’s Ashley Aselage goes up for a kill against Gilmour Academy Friday.

Mike Ullery | Miami Valley Today

VANDALIA — Tippecanoe volleyball coach Howard Garcia remembers talking to senior captains Alaina Titley, Corinn Siefring and Rachel Wildermuth when they were freshman.

“I remember telling them they are going to be the ones,” Garcia said. “Those three are the ones in here (the interview room at the Vandalia SAC). But, it was not just them. Molly (Achterburg), Mo (Morgan Haas), Kay Kay (Kaitlyn Husic) and Liv (Olivia Gustavson). They were all instrumental in what we have accomplished.”

And, while it didn’t end the way Tippecanoe had hoped — losing 20-25, 25-18, 25-23,, 25-16 to top-ranked Gilmour Academy in the state semifinals at the Vandalia SAC, Garcia couldn’t have been more correct about their accomplishments.

Tipp won 96 of 108 matches in their four years, advanced to the regionals all four years — before breaking through the Final Four this season and earned the Lady Red Devils first trip to the state tournament since 2007 — before any of these players had even begun school.

They closed the season at 27-1, whileGilmour improves to 22-1.

“I just love playing with these girls,” Siefring, a first-team All-Ohio selection this year, said. “We have built a bond. We have been playing together since the sixth or seven grade.”

Wildermuth, a second-team All-Ohio selection, talked about how important the community has been.

“That’s the thing I remember after we beat Roger Bacon (in the regional final),” Wildermuth said. “The tremendous support from the community. Athletic director Kregg (Creamer) up there screaming after every point. It was amazing.”

Titley agreed.

“The biggest thing to me was the tremendous support from the community,” she said. “Going to school and everybody talking about it. It has been amazing.”

The Red Devils had to knock off defending state champion Middletown Fenwick and Roger Bacon just to get to Friday’s match.

“We had been to regionals every year,” Wildermuth said. “So, it was great to make it to the state tournament.”

And against Gilmour Academy, Tipp got off to a great start.

Tipp’s blocking kept the Lancers off-balance in the early going.

At 19-18, Husic had a kill for sideout, then served two points with Siefring recording an attack and a block.

Siefring and Husic had kills for sideouts to make it 24-20, before service winner gave Tipp the first set.

“Gilmour did exactly what we expected them to do,” Garcia said. “We knew they wanted to show (Kathryn) Randorf was the goods. And we did a good job of executing against their middles.”

While, Gilmour won the second set, the match swung in the third set.

“Early on, when we pushed back, you could see that Gilmour didn’t like it,” Garcia said.

Tippecanoe had a 20-18 lead in the third set and following an ace by Husic, the lead was 22-19.

That forced Gilmour’s final timeout as Tipp appeared to be on the verge of a 2-1 lead in the match.

Instead the Lancers ran off four straight points and despite a Siefring kill, six of the last seven to take the set.

“I felt like the first two sets, we were relying heavily on our middles,” Gilmour coach Dan Coughlin said. “It was live by the sword, die by the sword. In the third set, I thought we got everybody involved in the offense and once we did, we got into a good rhythm.”

Gilmour erased a 6-4 deficit in the fourth set with a five-point run and Tipp never recovered, losing 25-17.

“I really felt like the third set was the match,” Garcia said. “We had a 20-18 lead and didn’t finish it. We didn’t handle the push back from them as well. I think sometimes when you aren’t used to a push back, it makes you uncomfortable and you don’t handle it as well. I wasn’t a heart thing, we just didn’t execute like we needed to.”

Rachel Wildermuth had 12 kills and four blocks, Siefring and Ashley Aselage each had 12 kills and Achterburg added four blocks.

Rachel Wildermuth had three aces and 27 assists, while Hannah Wildermuth had 15 assists and two aces.

Titley led the defense with 14 digs, Rachel Wildmermuth had 13 and Siefring added 11.

Randorf had 19 kills, four blocks and four aces for the Lancers, while Sabrina Gremm had 15 kills and three blocks, Brinn MacLellan had 12 kills and three blocks and Jocelyn Carter had nine kills.

Ava Nestor had 51 assists and 13 digs. Emma Klika led the defense with 17 digs and Randorf added 11 digs.

Garcia hopes his young players will build on what this team accomplished.

“The juniors and sophomores our there have the experience of playing at state,” he said. “Hopefully, we will be back here next year.”

Either way, his seniors more than fulfilled his expectations from four years ago.

“You don’t have great assistant (coaches), without having a great program,” he said. “You don’t have All-Ohio players without having a great program.”

And he knows his seven seniors leave behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.