Wright State volleyball: Raider veterans lead way to another Horizon League tourney title

FAIRBORN — Callie Martin could have moved on to the next phase of her life.

Katie Meyer and Megan Alders could have, too.

All three finished their senior years in 2022 and had to decide whether to take their fifth seasons of eligibility. They all did — and what swayed them was the chance to lead the Wright State volleyball team to another Horizon League championship.

“I’d keep coming back if I could. Obviously, winning is great. But doing it with these girls is even better,” said Martin, named the league player of the year last week.

Looking around at the smiling faces after they accomplished their goal, she said, “This is the best feeling.”

The top-seeded Raiders knocked off second-seeded Green Bay in the finals, 25-14, 25-16 and 25-18 before 710 vocal fans to claim their second straight tourney title and claim an automatic NCAA tourney bid.

They beat Cleveland State in the semis in straight sets Saturday. In the last two years in the tourney, they’ve lost only one set in four matches.

“We love each other and want to step up and fight for each other,” said Meyer, the tourney MVP who had a combined 58 assists for the weekend.

“My hitters, at the end of the day, are just good. They make me look good. I don’t do that much. They’re fantastic.”

The Raiders (21-10) have won their last nine matches and 12 of their last 13, and will find out their NCAA opponent during the Selection Show next Sunday at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

Martin, who has a lethal lefty hitting stroke, led the team with 27 kills in the two matches, while Sam Ott had 22 and Alders 18.

Martin also had a team-high 16 digs in the finals. She and Ott joined Meyer on the all-tourney team.

“She fills up the stat sheet,” Travers Green, a two-time HL coach of the year, said of Martin. “She’s one of the best — if not THE best — passers in our conference. She’s a difference-maker for sure.”

Meyer’s deft ball-handling kept the attack humming.

“We’ve got talent around Katie, but it doesn’t go without our quarterback leading the show. And she did a fantastic job executing our game plan,” Green said.

The Raiders had only one shaky stretch. After winning the first two sets handily, they were tied, 4-4, in the third set.

The next point didn’t come easily. Both teams volleyed the ball (what else?) back and forth across the net before Ott hit a screamer to put the Raiders ahead, 5-4.

The Phoenix didn’t go quietly, but Wright State never gave up the lead.

“You know when you’re up two sets — and getting closer and closer to the end of that third set — your mind starts to wander,” said Green, who had to burn a timeout.

“We really talked about being focused on volleyball and the task at hand. And they did a great job.”

The Raiders have won three of the last four league tourneys and four of the last five regular-season crowns.

“We all work together really well,” Martin said. “Everyone knows the game. We have so much depth on the team. Anybody could score any point. I don’t think anything can stop us.”

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