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St. Ursula falls 3-1 in Division I state semifinal volleyball match

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St. Ursula Academy players Emily Lydey, 9, and Lauren Daudelin, 12, try to block the shot of Cincinnati Ursuline player Paige Kebe, 9, during the third set of their Division I semi-final match of the Ohio State Volleyball Championship at Wright State University's Nutter Center.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
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FAIRBORN, Ohio -- St. Ursula's quest for a second Division I state volleyball championship in three years came to halt Thursday, as Cincinnati Ursuline rallied from a 20-12 deficit to win the opening game, and went on to a 27-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-17 victory in a state semifinal match played at Wright State University's Nutter Center.

The second-ranked Arrows (26-2) appeared poised to take a 1-0 lead in the first game before the sixth-ranked Lions (22-6) called a timeout and responded with a pivotal surge of points off the block to change momentum.

During that key run, the Lions' 5-foot-11 sophomore middle hitter Katherine Edmondson scored four times on blocks of St. Urula senior Katie McKernan.

The Arrows, who won the D-I crown in 2010 and finished as state runners-up last year, still had a chane to close out that game up 24-23. But freshman Emily Lydey served into the net, and Ursuline used the reprieve to continue their surge, ultimatley ending the game on a kill from Paige Kebe.

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St. Ursula bounced back from that early disappointment by taking Game 2, but then quickly fell behind 5-0 in Game 3 and never led in that game.

The Arrows' only lead in the deciding fourth game was at 1-0, as the Lions gained control early with a 6-2 start. St. Ursula never got closer than three points from there.

Both of the Arrows' losses this season came against the Lions, who defeated St. Ursula 26-28, 25-23, 25-23 in a Sept. 15 three-gamer during the regular season.

St. Ursula's lone two seniors -- Maddie Burnham and McKernan -- led the Arrows in kills with 17 and 16, respectively. Sophomore Lauran Graves had seven kils and junior Lauren Daudelin added six for St. Ursula.

McKernan also had 25 assists and 15 digs, sophomore Maurissa Leonard led the Arrows in digs with 18, and classmate Ryann Cox added 14. Junior Madelyn McCabe contributed 16 assists.

The Lions, who had a 17-9 edge in block points in the match, were led on the attack by 6-2 junior Sam Fry with 19 kills. Kebe added 13 for Ursuline, and Lauren Wilkins and Rachel Garnett added nine apiece.

Abby Weissenburger led Ursuline with 41 assists, and Courtney Grafton paced the Lions with 27 digs.

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