Thursday night was the first time Tomshack, a defensive specialist, had suited up for the Lady Flyers and saw court action, having torn her ACL in June. And the St. Paul Convocation Center home crowd responded not just when she served, but when she hit the ball, too.
St. Paul swept South Central in three games, 25-16, 25-17, 25-18.
Tomshack’s contributions, as small as they were for St. Paul, were significant since Thursday was senior night.
“It was kind of a surprise to Katie tonight,” St. Paul coach Nancy Miller said. “I’ve been working with her parents and her doctor and he gave us a release to let us have her serve tonight and play a little defense. She tore her ACL in (the) beginning of June. At the beginning of July she had surgery.
“She is such a hard worker and she is weeks ahead of her recovery,” Miller added.
It’s unknown if Tomshack will play when St. Paul starts sectional semifinal play next Thursday against the winner of St. Mary Central Catholic and Mansfield St. Peter’s.
“That’s something we’re still looking at. She works very hard. She has been working so hard on her rehab and you can tell it’s paying off for her,” Miller said. “That was awesome having her serve that winning point for us. That was really cool and she got a couple great digs there also.
“I thought Libby Dvorak did a great job coming off the bench for us in the second game. (She had) a really solid defensive game for us,” Miller added.
Ranked No. 2 in state coaches poll, St. Paul improved to 20-1 overall. The Lady Flyers finished undefeated in the Firelands Conference at 14-0.
“I thought the senior leadership was spectacular. It wasn’t just when they were on the floor; I thought they were doing a great job even when they were on the bench,” Miller said. “I thought Libby Dvorak did a great job coming off the bench for us in the second game. (She had) a really solid defensive game for us.”
South Central fell to 12-10 and 7-7 in the FC.
“I was extremely proud of them. They worked together as a team,” coach Daren Walcher said. “Our focus was on making (St. Paul) earn their points.”
The FC teams played several long rallies in the second and third sets.
“We picked up our serving a little bit,” Walcher said. “The girls were starting to hit their marks. Sometimes it takes a game to figure out a team like that — an outstanding (and) as dynamic team as Coach Miller has. We used the first set to figure them out and then we just continued to work on them as best we could.”
St. Paul senior Rachel Bleile had 10 points, three aces, 43 assists and 14 digs.
Junior Lauren Chandler had eight points and 23 digs. Senior Claire Spettel had six points and 10 digs.
Senior Tess Lepley led the Lady Flyers’ hitters with 16 kills. Classmate Meghan Hedrick added 14 kills and junior Kamryn Maxell had 12.
For South Central, sophomore Ellery McKee had 13 assists and two solo blocks. Senior Danielle Ott also had two solos.
Senior Sam Jayes and sophomore Izzy Hauler each had five kills. Hauler also had 15 digs.
Sarah Oney, a senior, led the Trojans with 22 digs. Classmate Jenna West added 17.
In junior varsity action, St. Paul continued the sweep, winning both sets 25-13 and 25-10.
Sophomore Anna Lukasko led the Lady Flyers with nine kills. Classmate Sydney Herner added five and Dvorak had 10 digs.
St. Paul ends its regular season with a non-conference match at Edison at noon Saturday. South Central plays in a Div. IV sectional semifinal, hosting Fremont St. Joseph on Monday.
Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Twitter at @Cary_reporter and on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger.”