Oct. 26—NILES — As the lone senior on the Edgewood High School volleyball team, McKenna Vencill relished the opportunity to showcase what she learned from teammates the previous three seasons.
"I love volleyball like nothing else," Vencill said after Edgewood's three-set loss to Marlington Wednesday at Niles McKinley High School in the Division II district semifinals. "All the seniors above me did a great job filling leadership roles, and it really rubbed off on me.
"Stepping in as [the lone] senior, I got to take all those traits [from] them," said Vencill who also plays varsity golf, basketball and softball.
The Warriors finished 18-6, losing for the second straight season to Marlington (21-3) in the district semifinals.
"Last year, we played one of our best games," Vencill said of the 2022 district semifinal. "Today, we struggled a little bit out there."
The Dukes won 25-15, 25-11 and 25-13.
"Marlington — great team, senior laden," said Warriors coach Kyra Vencill (and McKenna's aunt). "They are strong.
"We wanted to execute a little better today defensively and offensively,. "There are things we need to build on for next year. But overall, we had a great season."
Marlington senior Janelle Swisher scored 23 points, including on 10 consecutive serves in the second match. She also recorded 36 assists for a new school record (679).
"They are a great team, I think we did everything we could," McKenna Vencill said.
She wasn't surprised the youth-laden Warriors returned to district competition.
"Going through summer, I knew we were going to have a really successful season," Vencill said. "A lot of our younger girls stepped up.
"And we had a big hitter [freshman Faith Vencill] coming in — she played great all summer. We knew we would have a lot of success this season."
Kyra Vencill agreed.
"We're a young team, we're going to build on that and hopefully let that fuel us for next year," she said. "I'm proud of where we are."
McKenna Vencill credited juniors MaKenna Rhodes, Leigha Guyton and Gianna Ianetta for strong play.
Vencill said she's undecided about college, but is leaning toward earning a business degree.
"I love softball," the center fielder said of her other favorite sport.