Perrysburg's Audra Appold spikes the ball against Clay's Jenna Fredritz during a Division I district volleyball semifinal. Appold led the Yellow Jackets with 17 kills.
BOWLING GREEN — Top-ranked St. Ursula moved to 25-0 on the season, getting only brief resistance from Anthony Wayne Tuesday night in a Division I district volleyball semifinal at the Stroh Center.
The Arrows, who beat AW 3-0, will meet ninth-ranked Perrysburg in Thursday’s 7 p.m. district final here.
The Yellow Jackets advanced by beating Clay 3-1 in Tuesday’s more competitive second semifinal. The victory was the 20th in a row for Northern Lakes League champion Perrysburg (23-2), which last lost on Aug. 31 to this same Clay team, 3-1, at home.
“We just had the determination not to be done,” Yellow Jackets coach Jamie Babcock said. “We knew we were playing for our [tournament] lives today, and these kids are not ready to be done.
“We’ve had a little bit of a salty taste in our mouth since we lost to them last time, and we were ready for a rematch. We were well-prepared and our kids executed to a T. It was a good win.”
In the prior meeting, Clay outplayed the Jackets in the late going in games. This time, the roles were reversed. Perrysburg rallied from a 22-20 deficit to take Game 2 by a 25-22 count, then broke from an 18-18 tie in the deciding fourth game to win 25-21.
“We tried real hard not to go to Game 5 because teams like that thrive in the fifth game,” said Audra Appold, who led Perrysburg with 17 kills. “We knew that because we’ve played them before. We knew we had to push at that point.
“That was our redemption, because that was our last loss back in August. It feels good to keep going and get that back. We’ve improved a lot during the season, and I’m sure they have too. But our energy was totally different tonight, and our consistency was different.”
Perrysburg jumped out to a 5-1 lead on Clay in Game 1 and the Eagles never got closer than three points the rest of the way. Clay did get within 16-13 on a kill from Shalynn Garmon (19 kills), but the Jackets ended the first game with a 9-4 surge.
The Eagles led 22-20 in Game 2, but the Yellow Jackets responded with a game-closing 5-0 run which ended on back-to-back kills from Shannon Fastnacht (five kills) and Savannah Miller (eight kills).
Clay regrouped and bolted out to a quick 6-0 lead which the Eagles stretched to 9-2. From there, the Jackets got no closer than four points in a 25-17 loss.
The fourth game was tied for the last time at 18-18 after Garmon’s final kill. Down the stretch, Appold had three kills during her team’s 7-3 ending run, which was capped by an ace from Madi Nitschke.
Grace Winckowski added 12 kills for Clay (17-6).
St. Ursula's Emily Lydey gets ready to put the ball away against Anthony Wayne's Stephanie Olman. The Arrows are now 25-0 and 107-4 since the 2010 season.
“We’ve done real well in those situations this year typically,” Clay coach Dave Conley said of the late portions of Games 2 and 4. “When we played them at their place early in the season we were the one who pulled out those tight games. To their credit, they were the ones that did it this time. They made the plays when they had to and I guess we didn’t.”
The Three Rivers Athletic Conference champion Arrows, who now have a 107-4 record since the start of the 2010 season, got on an early roll in Game 1 against Anthony Wayne and rode that momentum to the end.
They grabbed a 6-1 lead on an Emily Lydey kill, pushed their edge to 12-3 on an Elizabeth Coil kill, and went up 18-6 on an attack error by the Generals before winning 25-11.
The Generals found some rhythm early in Game 2, pulling even at 10-10 on an ace from Stephanie Olman (10 kills). But the Arrows surged to five straight points, four on the serve of Lydey, to take a 15-10 advantage.
AW (18-7) remained within range at 21-19 after back-to-back kills from Bridget Troiani (seven kills) and Olman, but that was it for the rally and St. Ursula won 25-19.
“It was an odd match,” Arrows coach John Buck said. “They changed their game plan quite a bit. [Stephanie] Olman usually hits outside for them, and they moved her over to the right side to go against our shorter blockers. But our girls adjusted."
That late fade apparently took the steam out of the Generals, who managed to create little momentum against the Arrows in a 25-11 Game-3 loss.
Trailing just 6-5 in the third game, AW was steamrolled by a 12-1 run by the Arrows, who rode libero Maurissa Leonard’s serve to eight straight points in taking a commanding 18-6 lead.
Lydey’s sixth kill of the night closed the match. She also contributed 12 assists and seven digs.
“We really focused on going back and serving really aggressive because in the second game we started letting up on our serves, and they came back,” Lydey said. “We got timid on some things and a little nervous. It was good to get a big lead in the third game, and we came out on top.”
Coil topped the Arrows with eight kills, Lauren Daudelin had seven, and Morgan Rectenwald and Lauran Graves and added four apiece. Leonard led the St. Ursula defense with 18 digs, and Madelyn McCabe had a team-high 14 assists and added seven digs.
“We knew coming in they were very tough, and we needed to minimize errors,” AW coach Kelli Euler said. “We didn’t do that. They gave us some opportunities and we needed to capitalize on those, and we didn’t.”
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