Buckeye Central's volleyball program is knocking on the door to the state tournament.
The Buckettes, 25-2, play McComb, 23-3, a team on an 11-game winning streak, at 2 p.m. Saturday at in the Division IV regional final at Elida.
Wednesday night the Panthers defeated a solid Mohawk team 14-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-21, while Buckeye Central swept Cardinal Stritch in the first match of the evening 25-13, 25-17, 25-15.
"They are going to be big at the net and that is something they have an advantage with, but we like to attack from everywhere on the floor," Buckettes coach Bill Bonham said.
Despite the height advantage, McComb boasts a pair of 6-foot-2 players in freshman Jenna Huffman and senior Briana Herr. Coach Leslie Kahle said she is well aware height alone isn't enough to stop Buckeye Central.
"They are extremely intelligent and our height, as I've said all year is a definite plus for us, but our athleticism, on the other hand, combined with that height is outstanding. I don't take our height as an advantage for us, but as another part of our game, and a good team like Buckeye Central is going to know how to use what they have against us."
With only one day of practice to prepare, there are a few things Bonham said his team will have to focus on this weekend.
"There are some things that we can do," Bonham said. "They have some weaknesses in the back row and that is one thing we'll have to work on. Attacking we just can't go up and hit the ball anywhere on the floor. They have some holes in their defense that I see, and we can try to attack those. They like using their right side hitters a lot, so we are going to have to adjust our defense a little bit in practice."
If the Buckettes win Saturday, they'll become the first team from New Washington to advance to the state tournament since the 2008 season.
"It's something that you don't ever expect to do as a coach and something every coach and player wants to do," Bonham said about making the regional finals. "How many teams get a chance to come this far? We are thrilled with where we are and to have this opportunity, that's just awesome."