Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Independence cruises to a sixth straight regional final

BARBERTON—With a 3-0 sweep of Applecreek Waynedale, Independence will play in a sixth straight regional championship game on Saturday.

The Blue Devils beat the Golden Bears, 25-19, 25-20, 25-16, and will play Lake Catholic for the Division III Barberton Regional championship on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

“It’s always good to win here,” said Independence coach Tony Messina. “That team was good and they weren’t going away. They played great defense and they have a really young team, they’re going to be a really good team.”

Waynedale took it to the Blue Devils in the first set.

The Golden Bears jumped out to a 6-1 lead before Independence settled into its offense and rallied for the first set victory.

“They battled us and took us out of our system,” Messina said. “With how young we are, and I’m not putting it on that, but it was the first time coming here for many of them and we battled through it and got through it.”

Independence leaned on seniors Grace Taliaferro and Sammy Barther, who have played in their fair share of regional tournament matches, and sophomore Sofia Smotek, who got her first taste of regional competition last year as a freshman.

“The core is our two seniors who have been here and Sofia was here last year,” Messina said. “Sammy and Grace are seniors and they were huge. They held us together this year.”

Waynedale led by as many as seven points in the second set before the Blue Devils made their move.

With the Golden Bears holding a 16-9 lead, freshman Haley Wilson reeled off a string of seven straight service points and Independence went on to score seven of the final nine points to win the set.

Independence never trailed in the third set as the Blue Devils closed out the match with an exclamation point.

The Blue Devils, who improved to 18-8, have the chance to avenge a regular-season loss to Lake Catholic on Saturday.

The Cougars, who advanced to the regional final with a 3-0 win over Columbiana Crestview, swept the Blue Devils back on Oct. 1.

“We’re going to practice (on Friday) and we aren’t going to put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” Messina said. “Lake Catholic is awesome. I don’t know if we have enough weapons to compete with them. We just have to try to do our thing and see what happens.”

 

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

757FansLike
3,342FollowersFollow
364SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles

Edgewood’s Kaci Kanicki hits 1,000-point milestone

Kaci Kanick scored a game-high 29 points, including the 1,000th-point of her career, in Edgewood's win over St. Martin de Porres on Tuesday.

CVC Basketball Roundup–November 29

The high school basketball season is in full swing with many Chagrin Valley Conference teams in action on Tuesday.

Short-handed Wickliffe holds off Crestwood

A short-handed Wickliffe team scratched out a 33-29 win over visiting Crestwood on Tuesday.

Chagrin Falls opens season with win at rival Kenston

Chagrin Falls opened the season with a 48-41 non-conference win over host Kenston on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s Live Streams

Winter sports are heating up and both boys and girls basketball teams are in action on Tuesday night.