PREP VOLLEYBALL PREVIEW Division I State Semifinals
Where: Ervin J. Nutter Center at Wright State University in Dayton.
How to get there: Take I-76 east to I-71 south into Columbus, get on I-70 west to I-675 south to North Fairfield Road exit.
AUSTINTOWN FITCH (24-3) vs.CINCINNATI ST. URSULA (23-4)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Falcons scouting report: Fitch, ranked eighth in final coaches poll, was the only area team to survive Saturday's regional finals (Hubbard, United and Southern Local all lost). Saturday, Fitch beat Solon, 15-9, 11-15, 15-10, to get revenge after the Comets beat the Falcons in the 2000 regional semifinal. The Falcons have been to the state semifinal once before -- losing to Rocky River Magnificat in 1999. Senior Ashlee Lemke is the lone starter left from that team. Of the four teams remaining in Div. I, Fitch is the only public school and the only co-ed school.
St. Ursula scouting report: The Bulldogs, ranked seventh in the state, won the Div. II state championship from 1993-98 but have struggled the past two years, losing in the regional semifinal in 1999 and losing in the sectionals last year. Ursula will make its first appearance in the Div. I state semifinals. A win this year would give them seven titles, tying Newark Catholic for the most volleyball championships in state history.
CINCINNATI URSULINE ACADEMY (22-5) vs. TOLEDO ST. URSULA (27-0)
When: 6 p.m.
What to watch: Undefeated and No. 1-ranked Toledo is favored to win the state title. The Arrows lost in three games to Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame last year in the state championship and return five of six starters from that team, including setter Kaycie Carr, a 5-foot-10 senior. Toledo has four players on its front line that are 5-11 or taller. Ursuline has won two state titles (1993 and 1975) and beat Fitch's opponent, Cincinnati St. Ursula, in 1999's regional semifinals. The Lions, ranked fifth in the final poll, have advanced to state three of the past four years.