ELIDA — It was clear who they were playing for — and they played with all their heart.

The New Knoxville volleyball team continued its postseason run, as they defeated Leipsic in three sets to win a Region 14 semifinal match on Thursday night.

New Knoxville took the first 25-19, then rolled to wins of 25-11 and 25-12 to complete the sweep.

The win occurred during an emotional week for the Rangers. Head coach Meg Lageman's husband Ryan died as a result of injuries in a traffic accident in Celina on Monday morning.

Assistant coach Jenny Fledderjohann and JV coach Madison Lammers led the squad during Thursday's match.

One sign of the support came from the crowd, which was dressed in blue, rather than New Knoxville's team colors of scarlet and gray. That was in honor of Lageman's husband, who was a fan of the University of Michigan.

Fledderjohann said afterward that they told the team to have fun and live in the moment. "We told them they are stronger than they imagine," she said.

She praised Leipsic as a good team. Coach Lammers noted the level of support from New Knoxville and surrounding communities, calling it "outstanding (and) overwhelming."

New Knoxville (24-2) will face defending state champion Calvert in the regional final on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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