ELYRIA — It was a breeze, a three-game sweep by Elyria Catholic, sparked by a player her teammates call Napoleon, as the third-seeded Panthers advanced to Monday’s Division III district volleyball semifinals by eliminating South Euclid Regina High Wednesday night.
Elyria Catholic (13-12) will face second-seeded Independence (19-4) at 7:30 p.m. at Elyria High,
The Panthers whipped Regina (10-10 overall) 25-14, 25-15 and 25-13 for the sectional title. Independence won the other sectional crown by ousting Shaker Heights Laurel 25-9, 25-13 and 25-8.
Zoe Zwegat, a tall, prolific sophomore, was outstanding for the Panthers in their sweep Wednesday. In one stretch of the opening game she had three straight devastating blocks for points during a service by Allison Vargo that broke a 12-12 tie and didn’t end until the Panthers were up
Zwegat also had a string of block points in the third game, likewise, while Vargo was serving.
Her teammates call her Napoleon because in a pep talk once this season she fired up her fellow players by quoting the famous French emperor’s statement, “He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.”
“I think we all did pretty well,” Zwegat said. “We were communicating really well.”
The sophomore led the team with 12 solo blocks.
Any predictions about the Independence game?
“We’ll do well if we play our game,” she said. “We’ll do our best.”
“Zoe was terrific,” said EC coach Kim Watson. “She plays so focused, so determined. She never gives up. I’m very happy for the team overall, especially how much we’ve improved as the season went on. But we’ve still got to step it up a notch to beat Independence.”
All three games were tight early on before the Panthers went on scoring sprees. In the opener, after the score was knotted at 12, EC scored 13 of the next 15 points to win by 11.
In the second it was tied at 5 before EC again streaked out to win easily, getting the winning point on a hard shot by Erin Kretovics. In the third, again with Vargo serving, the Panthers broke a 2-2 tie to forge out to a 12-2 lead and coasted the rest of the way.
Regina coach Tom Borowy was high in his praise of EC.
“They’re a very, very good volleyball team. They’re quicker, stronger and bigger than us. We haven’t faced anybody like them all year. But I was proud of our kids. They never quit, never gave up.”
There were other stars for EC. Katie Svat led with 25 digs while Megan Hanson had 17 kills and Brooke Dungan 19 assists. Vargo had three aces and 24 service points.
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.