- Published: September 22, 2016
The Yellow Springs Bulldogs finished the week 100 percent victorious. Their first game of the week, an away game on Sept. 17 against Lehman Catholic, went very well, said coach Ben VanAusdal, even if the team didn’t capitalize on all of its opportunities to score. In fact, owing to problems with the schedule, inclement weather and an overall stretch of bad luck, the team started the season late, playing its first few games while other teams had already played five or six. It normally takes any team a few games to become a cohesive unit, but the Bulldogs are now starting to come alive, VanAusdal said. As such, the team controlled the game during the first half and then dominated during the second, he said. Goals were scored by senior Joe Plummer, sophomore Teymour Fultz and junior Fisher Lewis. The lone goal scored by Lehman Catholic was a through-the-goalie’s-legs snafu.
On Monday, Sept. 19, the Bulldogs stomped the Bethel Bees, “a really good team,” beating them 6–2. The game was a classic game of good soccer, VanAusdal said. There was a lot of back-and-forth action, but Yellow Springs was able to dominate the game as it had been the whole week. The score was 2–1 at halftime, but the Bulldogs played with renewed ferocity during the second half and ratcheted the score up to its impressive final figure. Plummer and Fultz had a goal each, as did senior Elliot Smithberger. Captain and overall “very hard worker” Augie Knemeyer, a senior, had the first hat trick of his high school career, scoring half of the team’s overall goals. Sophomore goalie Dylan Rainey prevented a 3–3 tie early in the second half by blocking a penalty kick. “It was a beautiful save,” VanAusdal said.
The boys soccer team is now 1–0 in its conference, 3–2 overall and ranked number four in the Dayton area.
On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Yellow Springs traveled to Troy Christian to take on the Eagles in the Bulldogs second conference game of the season. It was a hard fought battle between the two rivals, with the match going the full five sets. With the exception of the third set in which the Bulldogs just dominated the Eagles, neither team would allow the opposition to score many points before siding out. After losing the first set, the Bulldogs came out in the second determined to take back the win. Junior Elle Peifer served up six of her nine points (1 ace) on the evening. Peifer had a match total of two kills and 15 digs. The third set allowed the Bulldogs to show the Eagles just what they had in their arsenal with senior Liz Smith (8 kills, 25 digs) serving up 10 points of her 22 total match points and sophomore Alex Ronnebaum (3 points, 6 blocks, 7 digs) putting down three of her five kills. Despite having the momentum going into the fourth set, both teams again traded points until a service run by the Eagles gave them a four point lead, which gave them the boost to win the set. The final set of the evening had both teams digging up every ball and pulling out every trick they could think of to gain the momentum. With the score sitting at 11–12, a perplexing late net foul was called against freshman Tyler Linkhart’s (8 points, 4 aces, 7 kills, 7 digs, 8 assists, 2 blocks) beautiful kill to the back left corner, giving the Eagles the side out and the lift they needed to win the fifth set. The five set scores were 17–25, 28–26, 25–14, 20–25, 11–15.
The JV Bulldogs likewise played a tough Troy Christian team, losing in two sets 25–19, 25–19. Junior Ayanna Madison contributed to the effort with 3 aces, while Junior Elly Kumbusky led the defense with 4 digs. Junior Kelsie Lemons racked up 2 aces and 3 kills.
When Emmanuel Christian came to Yellow Springs on Thursday, Sept. 15, the Bulldogs were fired up after the tough loss against Troy Christian. But the Lions were just as determined to keep their undefeated record in the conference. The first set was a battle from the first serve with neither team willing to give up more than two points at a time until the Bulldogs pulled ahead 22–18. The Lions still wouldn’t give up digging up every ball the Bulldogs threw at them. With seniors Kasey Linkhart (6 points, 1 ace, 4 kills, 20 assists and 8 digs) and Liz Smith (11 points, 1 ace, 2 kills, 1 block, and 16 digs) serving up deep court balls, the Bulldogs won the first set 25–23. The second set saw the Lions take an early lead of 2–10 and keeping the lead until Alex Ronnebaum (6 points, 9 kills, 1 assist, 4 blocks, 2 digs) found her serving groove and brought the Bulldogs back to within two, but they couldn’t quite finish and the Lions took the second set 22–25.The third set was no less exciting with each team exchanging points, but the Lions also took the third set 19–25. Going into the fourth set the Bulldogs knew they had to win and they came out firing on all cylinders. Payden Kegley (9 points, 1 ace, 1 kill, 3 assists, and 14 digs) gave the Bulldogs the boost they needed to win the set 25–22. Winning that set pushed the match to the final fifth set with the Bulldogs not letting anything deter them from the win. Amazing play by Tyler Linkhart (17 points, 2 aces, 14 kills, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 12 digs) not only kept Yellow Springs on top but sent the Lions into a tailspin. With sister Kasey Linkhart feeding her, Tyler tipped, hit and rolled the ball to every empty space in the Lions court sending them scurrying in every direction. With game point on the line, Kasey Linkhart sent a beautifully placed second ball deep to the server’s corner for the win, 15–9.
“This match was all over the place. Both teams wanted this win. I’m sure Emmanuel was gunning for us after we went to their place last year to beat them to earn the league championship. Those returning players didn’t forget that, but neither did mine! I’m glad [that] when my team found themselves struggling, they were able to find a way out of it and play with the intensity needed to win the match,” said Coach Christine Linkhart.