ELYRIA — Long rallies, lengthy service runs, big hits and plenty of tension highlighted a showdown between Open Door and Keystone on Tuesday night.
In the end, it was the Patriots pulling out a 25-15, 24-26, 30-28, 25-22 win to run their record to 6-2 with two other wins over larger Lorain County schools in the last week, including Lorain and Clearview.
“This is big, they are finally believing in themselves and we want them to never give up and they have bought into it,” Open Door coach Dan Stintsman said. “We would have folded in this match last year. Both teams really wanted it and we just happened to make a few more plays than they did.”
The Wildcats (3-1) and Patriots split the first two sets and it looked as though Open Door had the third set in hand after Hanna Otero served her team to a 24-20 lead before a tip-kill by Keystone’s Brienne Guyeska (nine kills) gave the serve back to the Wildcats.
Guyeska went to the service line and gave Keystone life with three points on a hitting error and kills from SaVanna Bonk (five kills) and Taylor Sacket to tie the score at 24-24.
Two kills from Haley Gsellmeier and Maddie Stintsman kept the Patriots alive, offsetting a kill and block-kill by Keystone’s Taylor Whitney (15 kills) for a 29-28 lead that turned into a win when Stintsman and Caroline Szemesi came up with a combo-block.
“Things would have been different last season,” said Gsellmeier who finished with 16 kills and a pair of block-kills. “Last year we didn’t have the drive that we have this year and I think that was the difference in being able to pull out that game.”
The fourth set was much like the first three with neither team being able to open more than a four-point lead. It looked as though the Wildcats were going to send the match to a race to 15 in a fifth set after Sacket picked up a pair of kills, giving her a team-high 17 and a 22-20 lead.
A hitting error gave the serve to Gsellmeier trailing 22-21 and she never gave it up as Jasmine Brooks had a tip-kill and Stintsman took matters into her own hands with three straight kills to finish off the victory.
Stintsman closed the night with 26 kills, 10 service points, four aces and a pair of block-kills.
“This feels amazing. These girls have worked their butts off every game, they continue to fight and never give up,” Maddie Stintsman said. “For years teams have come in here to play little old Open Door. We are proving things are entirely different this year.”
“I think things would have been way different had we been able to pull out that third set,” Keystone coach Kristen Walsh said. “We had a few things not go our way in that third set that could have gone our way.
“One thing we take out of tonight is going back to the drawing board on the timing of our blocks. This team definitely plays with heart and they are seeing the court way differently than last year. This team has a great dynamic and it’s everything that I could ask for as a coach.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Door 3, Keystone 1
Open Door 25-24-30-25
KILLS – (K) Taylor Sacket 17, Taylor Whitney 15; (OD) Maddie Stintsman 26, Haley Gsellmeier 16.
ASSISTS – (K) McKenna Satterlee 41; (OD) Emily Ford 40.
ACES – (K) Megan Murtha 4, Saterlee 3; (OD) Stintsman 4, Jasmine Brooks 2, Kayla Fox 2.
BLOCK-KILL – (K) Four players with 1; (OD) Gsellmeier 2, Stintsman 2, Caroline Szemesi 2.