Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University and pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeye baseball team from 1971 through 1974.  He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league league umpire for seven years, working in the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA).  He has written for numerous websites and outdoor publications, and for the past ten years has served as a regular columnist and photo editor for Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Widely knowledgeable on that period of American History, Fulks is a frequent speaker on the Civil War at local roundtables throughout the Midwest. He and wife Mindy have two grown children and live in Covington, Ohio.

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They gave little wiggle room…#1-ranked Coldwater takes out Independence in ruthless fashion to advance to Saturday’s Division III finals.

Fairborn – One observer along press row made the comment during Saturday’s Division III semi-final between Coldwater (28-1) and Independence (26-2), “They made it look easy.  Coldwater doesn’t give you much wiggle room.”

And that’s no exaggeration.  The #1-ranked Cavaliers swept past Independence Friday afternoon in the first Division III semi-final, 25-19, 25-21, and 25-23, to advance to tomorrow’s championship round against the the winner of Versailles and Tuscarawas Valley.

Independence coach Megan Osysko couldn’t disagree in her post-game comments.

“They’re really a good team.  The difference in the game was how they exposed some of our weaknesses,”  said Osysko.  “They make very few errors and they put the pressure on you to play the same way.  We have one senior, they have six, and I think that showed today.”

That and the fact of Coldwater’s total team play.  The Cavaliers committed just 14 error for the three-set match, compared to 26 for Independence;  and the Cavaliers’ distribution of scoring could not go unnoticed – Lauren Gilliland (14 kills), Allison Sudhoff (11 kills), and Gasha Kahlig (10 kills).

“We did a good job of controlling the errors,” admitted Coldwater coach Nikki Etzler.  “We did that today and a good job of controlling their runs.  We didn’t want any more than two points and then side-out right away.

Lauren Gilliland and the Coldwater defense made scoring tough for Independence.

“We also have a lot of offensive weapons, which makes it very challenging for the other team as far as defending us.  We’ve had that all year and Elena (Knapke) does a great job of distributing the ball to each of them.”

But the Cavs’ defense was also a big factor, extending points while putting that constant pressure on Independence to keep pace without committing critical scoring mistakes.  It didn’t work out for them.

“Our defense takes pride in do that,”  said senior Tasha Kahlig.  “We get after it out there, extending the point and until they make the mistake.  It’s how we control the game.”

Statistically, the numbers were very even.  The teams were within one of total kills, 42 to 41, and digs, 61 to 60.

But the difference, as Megan Osysko painfully acknowledged, was the difference in mistakes.

“But we’re proud of what this group of girls has accomplished,” she admitted.  “Independence will be back.”

So will Coldwater, tomorrow, to play for their first state title in volleyball.

Katie Alig records a dig in the Cavaliers win. They’ll play for their first state title in volleyball on Saturday.

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