Arcanum Wins Share of WOAC Volleyball Championship!

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The Arcanum Volleyball team earned share of the WOAC Championship finishing with a 10-1 league record. (Submitted Graphic)

ARCANUM – The Lady Trojans defeated National Trail Tuesday night in 3 straight sets 25-13, 25-20 and 25-18 giving them a share of the 2023 WOAC Volleyball Championship.

The win improved their league record to 10-1 tying Preble Shawnee with the same mark who also share the Championship this year.

Early in the year the Trojans went to Preble Shawnee and took a hard loss and knew after that game they would need help down the road to have any chance at winning a title because the Arrows were that good.

But the first thing Arcanum needed to do was take care of their own house.

“Our goal for the season was to win the WOAC, after that loss, it could have been easy to just give up; however, the girls were determined to accomplish this goal – no matter what it took. I truly believe that loss was a turning point for our team as it allowed us to reset our priorities – which was focusing on playing together as a team and truly incorporating our “Stronger Together” motto for the year,” Arcanum coach Jacie Holman said.

Coach Jacie Holman team captured the 1st volleyball title in nearly 20 years for Arcanum. (Dale Barger Photo)

The Trojans did just that as they reeled off 10 straight wins, won 12 of their last 13 including  the remaining conference games on the schedule … but they still needed help if they wanted a piece of the title, and they got help from archrival Franklin Monroe who beat Preble Shawnee back in the middle of September.

“As a coach, I am extremely proud of my girls for not giving up on the rest of the season after a tough loss to Shawnee we stayed together and really work well and improved in all areas of our game,” Holman state

The last title won at Arcanum was in 2004!!!

Arcanum’s improvement can be attributed to hard work and singular focus by each and every girl on the team according to Holman.

“It’s hard to highlight any one player because each girl did their job EVERY game. We constantly focused on each girl doing their job in order to help the team accomplish their goals,” Homan said.

The Trojans have formed a strong bond this year playing for one another that has resulted in 17 wins so far this year. (Dale Barger Photo)

Holman elaborated even more by breaking down the team and girls by position.

Senior Emilie Fout and sophomore Grace Fry (setters): Emilie and Grace have done an outstanding job of running the offense this year with a good mixture of a fast tempo game and reading the other team’s defense on knowing what hitters to go to at certain times. Both girls are some of our best hustlers on the court – who are always willing to go after the second ball and almost NEVER call for help. Along with their setting, both girls have brought exceptional serves this season. When given a zone, both of them are able to hit it and do an awesome job of going on serving runs when needed,” Homan praised.

Senior Haley Smith and junior Alexis Gibbons (middle hitters): Haley and Lexy have done an exceptional job this season with running a quicker tempo in the middle. As coaches, we have really pushed their hitting game beyond just a higher 2-ball. We have been working on 1’s, 31’s, and even slides. While not all of these sets have been demonstrated during the season, Haley and Lexy are ready to use these types of sets whenever needed. Additionally, both girls have done an amazing job with their blocking game this season. They have done a much better job of reading hitters,” Holman boasted.

Sophomore Grace Pszulkoski slams one down from her outside hitting position. (Dale Barger Photo)

Junior Mackenzie Byrne and sophomore Grace Pszulkoski (outside hitters): Kenz and Grace have been huge hitting options for us this season. Both girls have done a really nice job of reading the blockers and knowing where to place the ball. They not only have awesome cross-court hits, but they also do a really nice job of hitting line (when given the option) and even tooling the opponent’s blockers. Just like with the middles and right sides, we have been working on more hitting options for them with 32’s and shoots, along with mixing up their hitting games with not just strong swings but rolls and tips. Kenz and Grace have shown so much growth this year with their offensive game – and it continues to improve each game,” Holman acknowledged.

Senior Rylee Leeper and sophomore Caroline Long (right side hitters): Rylee and Caroline have stepped up their games tremendously from the start of the season to where they are now. Both girls do a superb job of reading the outside hitters and setting up an amazing block for our middles. However, there are a lot of times that Rylee and Caroline can go one on one with the outside hitters and dominate. Additionally, their hitting game is what we need – which is consistency. From the start of the season, I told the girls I needed them to focus on being consistent – when they get set – getting a good swing and keeping the ball in play. And they have done just that,”” Holman applauded!

Seniors Katie Sharp, Lily Johnting, and Ashlyn Miller (defensive specialists): Katie, Lily, and Ashlyn have done an exceptional job in the back row this year. These girls are willing to throw their bodies all over the court to ensure no ball hits the ground. With their passes this year, it allowed the team to run a quicker paced game – which was a huge part of our success this year. Along with their awesome passes this year, Katie, Lily, and Ashlyn have done an outstanding job with their serves. Each of these girls make huge runs with their serves – and it always seemed to come in clutch moments this season,” Holman touted.

Senior Lily Johnting serves in a game. (Dale Barger Photo)

The Arcanum lady’s volleyball team last won a title nearly 20 years ago in 2004 and the 2023 team can take pride bringing home another league title. They are currently 17-3 overall and have two remaining games to play in regular season against two strong teams starting with Brookville at home on Thursday and at Marion Local on Saturday before they begin tournament play in the OHSAA DIII North Sectional played at Brookville.  They will play Dixie on Wednesday October 18th at 6pm.

“We are keeping the same mentality that we have had all year – one point at a time and one set at a time. We are excited to receive the #4 seed in such a tough sectional; however, we know this doesn’t guarantee us anything. Tournament means a new season for everyone – so the regular season no longer matters. Our goal is to come out and just play our best game every point and hope to come out with the results that we want,” Holman concluded.

Clearly the “Stronger Together” motto has paid off, it’s already earned them a league title the first in nearly 20 years, a good tournament run would be even better, so don’t miss your opportunity to go out and support the Lady Trojans.

“Stronger Together” Motto has served Arcanum well as they prepare to play in the post season. (Dale Barger Photo