Eastwood advances to district final

FINDLAY — When it needed points the most, Eastwood’s volleyball team found a way to get them Wednesday in
its Division II district semifinal against Ottawa-Glandorf.
Falling behind by a game, the Eagles rallied with big points in Game 2 and held off a Titan comeback in
Game 3 to come from-behind and earn a 20-25, 25-17, 26-24, 25-19 victory at Liberty-Benton High School.

Down 3-1 in the second game, the Eagles went on a 19-8 run to seize control and lead 20-11. They tied the
match at 1-1 and took a commanding 10-4 lead in Game 3.
O-G rallied with a 15-9 run to tie the score at 19-19 in Game 3, then took the lead twice in the final 12
points. But with the chips down, Eastwood found a way to come up with one final push to win and go up
Junior Whitney Hoodlebrink’s kill, with the Eagles up 25-24, ended Game 2 — one of a team-best 18 kills —
for Eastwood, which improved to 21-3. The Titans finished 19-6.
“There are no easy matches at this point,” said Eastwood coach Jeff Beck. “At this point, everyone is
going to be good and everyone is going to come at you and Ottawa-Glandorf is a good team.”
Momentum went the Titans’ way early as an Eastwood shot out of bounds and a block by Jill Recker, started
a 12-5 run for O-G after the game was tied at 5. The Eagles closed to within 19-17, but three kills by
Hannah Kaufman helped the Titans to their final six points.
Two aces by Melissa Verhoff had O-G out to an early lead in Game 2 before all the momentum shifted to the
“We got the momentum and just kept it up and kept swinging,” said Hoodlebrink. “We had a lot of intensity
and played really hard from that point on.”
Hoodlebrink, nursing a major strain in her back, played solid all game and was a major weapon both at the
net and in the back row.
“The scouting report we got from Defiance said to defend the line against her,” said O-G coach Ann
Ellerbrock of Hoodlebrink. “We didn’t have anyone to either defend the line or block the line and she
got a lot of points.”
Held to four kills in Game 1, Hoodlebrink had seven kills in Games 2 and 3. She also had a team-high 24
digs, despite playing with a pain patch.
“Her movement on defense is a little sketchy, but we told her that you’ve got to go,” said Beck. “There
could be no tomorrow … You have to go and she was drugged up and ready to go.”
Setter Katie Primeau also had a solid game with a match-best 36 assists for the Eagles, while Christine
Foster contributed 14 digs and Victoria Bruning added to the offense with seven kills.
Pacing the Titans was Verhoff, who had a match-high 15 kills. Kaufman had 10 kills and 27 digs, while
Sara Basinger had 27 assists.
Eastwood trailed 10-8 in Game 4 before out-scoring the Titans 17-9 to end the match.
“Coming back in the first game carried some momentum for us into the second game,” said Beck. “Then the
girls just realized they weren’t going to let the season stop here and they pushed it. We saw the
momentum leave (O-G) a little bit, they seemed to get frustrated and we capitalized on that.”
Eastwood faces Celina Saturday at 6 p.m. in the district final, a winner in three games over Napoleon in
the first semifinal.
“Celina is an amazing team,” said Beck of the No. 18 team in the state. “They’ve been ranked much of year
and they run a fast-paced offense that we haven’t seen from anyone this year. Their girls play top level
club ball all year round and we’ll have to be on our ‘A’ game with everyone on or it’ll be a quick night
for us.”