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April 19, 2019

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Bulldog spikers sweep rival Mustangs

By Cort Reynolds


ADA - After a tight first set, the Ada volleyball team rolled to a sweep of visiting backyard rival Allen East Thursday night in a Northwest Conference match.

The Lady Bulldog spikers improved to 7-4 overall and 2-0 in the NWC with the 26-24, 25-16, 25-15 win, their 18th in a row in league play. The Mustangs fell to 3-4 and 1-1 with the defeat.

"We did a great job blocking," said first-year Ada head coach Kyleigh Tabor. "We are not a tall team and the girls have been working hard on defense. Our defense was good, the back row played well and serve receive was solid.

"We played well, it was a good win. I knew it would be a good match."

Ada led most of the way in the opening set. Two Megan Light kills, a Rilan Conley ace and kills from Miranda Wills and Raina England gave the hosts a 12-7 lead.

Two more Light attacks and a Morgan Swick ace extended the margin to 20-11. But then AE reeled off a 6-0 spurt behind the serving of Maddie Henry.

Conley came up with a big kill to end the run and give Ada a 21-17 lead. Yet consecutive tips by Kristin Whitley and Grace Howard pulled the visitors within 21-19. AE then won a long rally after making two clutch, lunging saves to inch within a point.

Ada scored on a serving error to go up by two. But the Mustangs won another long rally, and a Bulldog block went out of bounds to tie it 22-22. AE then took its first lead at 23-22, yet then tipped wide to tie it again.

Howard made a nice tip to the open left sideline to advance the Mustangs to set point at 24-23. But a serve into the net tied it once more, allowing Ada ace Sidney Gossard to serve.

Light powered a kill off the top of the net that dropped to the floor to earn Ada set point. Light then came up with a clean tip to win the set 26-24 as Gossard served out the last two points.

"That first-set win was huge, we had the momentum after finishing it off," admitted Tabor. "Winning that game gave us confidence, and we were a totally different team the last two sets."

She also agreed that the loss seemed to deflate the Mustangs and have a negative carry-over effect on the visitors.

Ada jumped on top 3-0 and then led 6-2 early in the second game. AE rallied within 11-9 after a clean ace by Alivia Craig. The Bulldogs responded with a 9-3 flurry, capped by well-placed consecutive cross-court kills by Raina England.

Two Light tips and an AE error helped Ada pull further ahead, 21-13. Morgan Swick served out the last three Bulldog points and Wills cracked a cross-court kill to clinch set two, 25-16.

Two kills apiece by Light and Wills helped Ada race to an 8-3 lead in set three. The feisty Wills later dealt two aces in a 6-0 serving run that extended the margin to 14-3.

AE answered with a 6-1 spurt to get back in the set. Bulldog Aubrey Madison knocked down two right side slide kills, but two huge smashes by Anamya Truex helped the Mustangs pull within 19-13.

Yet Ada responded with a 5-0 run, helped by a Kendal Guagenti ace. A Conley kill then punctuated a 6-2 closing flurry and capped the match, 25-15.

"Our blockers - Aubrey, Megan and Miranda - really shut their hitters down," Tabor observed. "Our right side hitting was better."

Sophomore middle Light knocked down a dozen kills and made a career-best five blocks.

Junior setter Gossard came up with 11 digs and passed out 20 assists. Senior libero Swick came up with 15 digs.

Senior hiter Conley drilled three kills and added 10 digs. kills and served aces. Guagenti mustered up nine digs and served well.

Senior hitter England knocked down three kills, including two big cross-court attacks. Sophomore Wills contributed three aces, three blocks and 11 digs. Classmate Madison added two kills.

The Lady Bulldog reserves lost 2-1, with AE pulling out the rubber game 25-20.

Ada (4-0 home, 2-4 road, 1-0 neutral) looks for its 19th league win in a row when it visits NWC foe Delphos Jefferson Sept. 18. AE swept DJ 3-0 in its league opener.

"We had a good week (3-0)," summed up Tabor. "It has built up our confidence."