No surprise here

CORTLAND – Windham volleyball coach Michael Chaffee is never surprised by his girls’ grit, determination and focus on the game.

“They are not a team that needs yelled at,” he said. “They know what’s going on and they understand our goals.”

Chaffee is more surprised by his own flesh and blood.

His daughter, Keeley, shocked him by showing up to the Bombers’ Division IV sectional final game against Maplewood at Lakeview High School. Keeley, a student at West Virginia University, made the two-and-a-half hour trip from Morgantown on Wednesday afternoon.

She proved to be a good-luck charm in Windham’s four-set win over the Rockets to claim the 10th district title in school history.

“It was one of our goals from the start of the season,” Windham junior Jessica Isler said. “We just executed on it. It feels pretty awesome to be on the winning side.”

The Bombers were district runners-up three of the past four years.

“It’s a very good feeling,” said Windham’s Dari Heller, also a junior. “We wanted to win this and keep going for the seniors.”

The Bombers won Game 1, 25-12.

“Coaches, by nature, are worried,” Chaffee said. “I was a little worried because the first game was a bit easy. No matter what you say, or if kids think it’s easy, it’ll just end up being harder in the long run.

“We have not been playing well in Game 2 of matches and I think that was waning on them a little bit.”

Maplewood did take Game 2, 25-12, building a 14-point lead midway through the tilt.

“Our team gave it their all,” Rockets coach Toni Kitzmiller said. “We played together really well.”

Maplewood, which ends the season at 14-11, adjusted to Heller and Brittany Knight for Game 2. The Windham pair combined for 28 kills.

“Maplewood is a great team,” Isler said. “We had a couple downslopes, but we pulled it out. Brooke Dawson can really hit for them and they were blocking us more in that second game.”

Dawson led Maplewood with 17 kills, 10 digs, six service points and three blocks. Morgan Hansel added 12 points and Miranda Wood added 11. Ryley Urchek had 13 digs, Abby Diggins had 13 assists and Darion Ferry tallied six blocks.

“We played a good game and they’re such a difficult team,” Kitzmiller said. “We knew about them and played them years before they joined the Northeastern Athletic Conference this year.

“We had to play our hardest to beat them and we played great to hang with them.”

The Bombers (23-2) rebounded for a 25-21 win in Game 3 and closed it out with a 25-17 win in Game 4. They beat Maplewood twice in the regular season in four games.

“The third and the fifth games are always the key ones,” Chaffee said. “We hung in and made plays at the end and that was the key to the match in Game 3.

“Their kids played hard, our kids played hard. We hit some lulls now and then, but overall it was a great championship match.”

Isler finished with 29 assists and Heller tallied seven digs. Morgan Schriener, one of just four seniors, recorded seven digs with 10 kills. Karsyn Mullen had nine kills and five digs.

Keeley Chaffee, an exercise physiology major, was an all-state player while at Lordstown High School.

“Key grew up with volleyball with me,” Chaffee said. “It was special for her to be here. She was an excellent player, herself.

“I’m thankful to have a supportive family and a great wife. Coaches wives have the worse lives sometimes and mine has been great. Our kids were just a part of sports with us the whole way.”

The Bombers now head to Solon for the regional tournament. It’s a mere three-hour, 15-minute and 182-mile drive from Morgantown, W. Va.